Before I jump into my review (which I’m 100% excited to talk about) I need to address something that I didn’t touch on in the last movie review.
Usually when you ask readers what they thought of a movie adaption a common response is “the book was better”. Even if the movie was great it seems to always be in the shadow of the book (especially popular/beloved books). I’ve been guilty as well and learned that I have to judge movies separately. Many aspects we love in a novel just wouldn’t translate well. Good directors/writers know how to convey the same themes, emotions and strong characters even if they have to change and cut out plot from the book.
So in my Book First, Movie After reviews I will do some side-by-side comparison with the original. The grade I give isn’t determined upon how well the movie followed the book.
Also I can’t hear the haters over my sheer excitement for this movie:
I was sold the first 15 minutes. I knew how Mark Watney gets stranded but by God… I was on the edge of my seat the whole sequence. The visuals and cinematography are gorgeous and I genuinely hope that they win the oscar for Production Design because LOOK:
The characters are pretty similar to their book counterparts. Drew Goddard wrote the script (Buffy, Angel, Cabin in the Woods and Daredevil to name some of his awesome credits) and I appreciate some of the depth he was able to bring out of Mark’s character. In the book I felt that due to Mark’s humor (and trying to keep his morale up) the reader only gets small glimpses of the toll that being stranded on Mars has taken on him. Visually seeing what Mark is going through impacted me differently even though most of the trials are similar to the book.
The first 2/3rds the movie followed pretty close to the book, just in fast mode with some details left out. There’s about three major trials that are left out going into the third act. The movie is already 2.5 hours long so I get why they had to take this hunk out. The ending made a few interesting changes but the add-in I appreciated the most was the movie’s epilogue.
Don’t get me wrong, I thought Weir’s ending was surprisingly touching, but I like that the movie took us down a different avenue. Actually, that applies to many of the add-ons in the movie (don’t worry, there only a few): There was always a reason. Nothing was just added for funsies.
Whelp… I kinda feel bad to give such a high score so early on in the ‘Movie After’ segment but The Martian set a high bar. Hopefully I will be lucky enough to see other strong adaptations in 2016.