IMG_0278What’s it all about?

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, The Martian tells this story:

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meagre supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Yes, as many have joked on Twitter and elsewhere, America is once more spending money to rescue Matt Damon (see Interstellar & Saving Private Ryan)

Why did I want to watch it?

I read and reviewed the novel last year (you can see what I thought of it here) and I was interested to see how it would translate to the screen. As I said in my book review:

[…] it will no doubt make a good film.

Also, I just love love love stuff about Mars 🙂

What did I think of it?

My assessment of the book was right except for one thing; it didn’t just make a good film, it made a really good film.

My initial problem with the book is that I got very annoyed with Mark Watney’s personality, and that’s sorted out here by the casting of Matt Damon who, even when he is doing the potentially annoying upbeat blokey stuff, is such a likeable personality that you just want him to succeed (I am happy to declare that I have a huge soft spot for Damon despite his recent unfortunate public statements).

But o be honest it is the rest of the casting and the way the characters are handled that really makes this – all of the scientists are competent but sometimes make mistakes, there is no differentiation between the genders of the astronauts (they are all just good at what they do), there are some proper moral dilemmas to be worked through, there are no villains, Sean Bean doesn’t die and my girl crush on Jessica Chastain remains undimmed.

Also, Jeff Daniels continues to be totally awesome.

I’m glad they found a way to do the first person stuff without the temptation of a voiceover. And the visuals are just glorious. Good to see Ridley Scott on form.

I loved this and will happily watch it again; it’s on the DVD to-buy list already 🙂 Recommended.