I was both excited and worried going into the theatre to see The Martian. Mainly because I loved the novel so much when I read it back in July. You can view my brief review of it here. But I needn’t fret because they did a marvelous job adapted one my favorite novels to film. In addition, the casting was spot on, which was such a relief because the Hermes crew’s interactions were what really made the last half of The Martian even more brilliant.
Matt Damon was cast as Mark Watney, and honestly I can’t imagine an actor that could have done a better job than Damon. Seriously. I felt like I was watching the character of Watney as he fought for survival on Mars. Damon was Watney as completely as I could have hoped, which was what really made the novel. Watney’s dark humor kept the story line light and it was refreshing to hear all the comments he had made in the novel come out of Damon’s mouth in what I imagined Watney’s voice when I read it a few months ago.
That said, they did leave a pretty big incident out, which is to be expected since some things need cutting so that the film doesn’t end up too long. But I would have watched it had it been 3+ hours. Anyway, the main part they skimped out was the sand storm Watney got caught in on his voyage from Ares 3 to Ares 4. Then they altered his retrieval from the MAV. I love that they kept in Watney’s iron man comment, though they actually had him go through with it, unlike in the novel. Also, they had Lewis retrieving him in the film. They also tacked on an ending with Watney teaching a class of future astronauts years down the line, whereas the novel ended it with the crew’s reunion with Watney aboard the Hermes. I felt it was a good way to end it with a bit more closure than the novel had, though. It was tastefully done.
As for the space and science elements included in the novel. I felt everything was kept as accurate as it had been described/explained in the novel. It truly felt like I the pages of the novel were materializing before my eyes into visuals. And the 3D aspect was just brilliant. I love watching any space film in 3D because it’s always worth it.
Over all grade, I give it a B+ and highly recommend you go watch it while it’s still in theatres. Also, if you haven’t read the novel yet, then you definitely have to read it. But you can watch the film whether you’ve read it or not since it’s so close to the novel. It really is the best book-to-film adaption that I’ve seen this year.