Wednesday, 4 November 2015

From Page to Screen: The Martian

RELEASED: 30th September 2015

MATT DAMON ~ Mark Watney
JESSICA CHASTAIN ~ Commander Lewis
KRISTEN WIIG ~ Annie Montrose
JEFF DANIELS ~ Teddy Sanders
MICHAEL PENA ~ Rick Martinez
SEAN BEAN ~ Mitch Henderson
KATE MARA ~ Beth Johanssen
DONALD GLOVER ~ Rich Purnell

I'm stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I'm screwed.



I succumbed to the pressure and finally read The Martian a few weeks ago and I completely loved it; I knew I'd have to see the film before it left the cinema! And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The movie adaptation stays remarkably true to the book. The novel is written in Mark’s log entries at the Hab, storing his experiences on Mars for the next manned crew to watch when they arrive if he doesn’t make it to meet them. As that would be a pretty boring film, I expected them to cut the log entries out entirely but they were worked into Mark’s daily life on mars really well. They provided a nice balance of the feeling of direct address and the epic scope of a movie set on the red planet.

And what an epic scope. This film looks incredible. The skyscapes across the Martian landscape are breathtaking and it felt like a clearer, most distinct version of what we’ve seen in real pictures; the spaceships and probes were huge and magnificent; the tech was super cool, but still felt like it wasn’t too outlandish for something happening in the not too distant future and quite frankly, it made me hope that space tourism will happen in my lifetime (and budget). This is such a perfect movie for fans of space, if only for the practical elements on living on Mars, even if the science and maths is hugely reduced from the novel.

Sadly, I also didn’t find it nearly as funny. I smiled fairly frequently but there was very little of Mark laugh out loud dryness, his sarcasm and wit. I really don’t think Matt Damon is that great with comedy as he seemed a little awkward when he did attempt it and Mark’s type of comedy I think is more Chris Pratt-style. The humour and narrative voice was the real strong point of the novel for me so I was a little disappointed it didn’t translate into the film properly. I wonder if I’ll feel a little differently when I watch it again when it comes out on DVD (yeah, it’s definitely worth buying!) as there’ll be a little more distance between the two.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Martian and I highly recommend it if you’ve read the book or not! Lots of fun and it looks incredible.


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