Today I shall be talking about The Martian. First the very good book by Andy Weir and also the film adaptation directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon.
The plot of both works follow Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) who has been left behind on Mars after him and his crew were caught in a sandstorm. Mark was attacked during the sandstorm, leading his crew to believe he is dead and they manage to leave Mars safely, not knowing he is actually still alive. Eventually, NASA discover he is still alive and now they’re trying to bring him home.
Goodreads link – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20555443-the-martian
So, I read the book first. I’m not massively into science so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. Truth be told, if the film didn’t look so awesome I probably wouldn’t have picked it up.
The book is very heavy on the science side. While I enjoy the fact that this book is incredibly well researched, this did hinder my reading experience because it’s not something that can easily grab my attention. Therefore making it hard for me to visualise all the different things Mark was using. The middle of the book fell flat for me because of this as well and I just wanted to finish it so I could find out what happened in the end. All I’ll say about the ending is that it’s incredibly suspenseful. Yup.
However, what made up for it was the sense of humour. I loved Mark’s sarcastic sense of humour, some of the one liners made me laugh to myself on my train rides to and from work. Thanks Andy Weir. From references to disco music to Iron Man (I shall not spoil) it was great to see a serious situation looked at from a not so serious perspective. I’d probably do the same thing and crack jokes. I also loved the banter between the crew and their relationship, you could tell they all really get along well with each other naturally and not just because they were each other’s only company. I would have loved to have seen more of a back story of them before the mission but alas, more important fish to fry. Man stuck on Mars and all.
IMDB page – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3659388/
Between the two, I definitely preferred the movie. The scenery, the costumes, the overall production value was so beautiful and anything bigger than my mind could’ve come up with. As I said before, in the book it was hard for me to visualise some of the technical items and equipment Mark uses whereas on film you’ve got it there right in front of you and that made my experience better for me.
It was a very faithful adaptation of the book. Drew Goddard, the screenwriter, captured and translated Andy Weir’s story brilliantly to screen. I was very impressed with how well the humour was captured through Goddard’s writing and also in Matt Damon’s performance. I will say though, the ending is slightly different. Not changed just an extension which was really interesting to see.
Considering he’s a very popular well established actor, I hadn’t actually seen that many Matt Damon performances. But I was very impressed! Considering most of the time he’s acting by himself, he definitely shows in this film why he’s a more than capable leading actor. He nails the comedic lines as well as Mark’s moments of hurt.
Other brilliant performances from Jessica Chastain as Commander Lewis, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Vincent Kapoor – a mission director at NASA- as well as Kristin Wiig as Annie – NASA’s spokesperson. It was nice to see Kristin Wiig in a more serious role than usual and she was brilliant.
If you’re very much into science then go for the book. If science isn’t mostly your thing but you like stunning films then stick to the film. I’m hoping for Oscar buzz!
The Martian is out in cinemas now!