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REVIEW: “The Martian”

 

Written by – Adam Collins (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/adam-collins/)

Andy Weir sent his novel’s manuscript out, and was rejected by everybody.

So… he self-published his sci-fi novel.

TM1His book took off, and then the offers came in.  He was on NPR talking about how he turned down a seven-figure offer because he was making more money than that on his own.

Anyway, I read his debut novel The Martian, in three days.  I do not read fast.  Not even close.  But, I devoured The Martian, and told everybody they need to read this amazing book.  I found out on day two of reading that Ridley Scott was making it into a movie with Matt Damon as the hero, Mark Watney.

Call me stoked!  I followed the production closely, and couldn’t wait to see the finished product.

The Martian opens on Mars, where the Ares III team is forced to evacuate the planet due to a huge storm.  As the crew makes their way to their ship, Watney is struck by debris and assumed to have been killed.

Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) makes the tough decision to leave him behind.  All the sensors in his suit say he is dead, and the sandstorm makes locating his body impossible.

Of course, Watney does not die.  As the preview states, he is in a habitat designed to last for 31 Sols (a day on Mars which is slightly longer than that on Earth) with the remaining 13 sols of food for six.  He will have to grow food on a planet where nothing grows in order to stay alive for four years until Ares IV lands 3200km away.

Oh, and NASA doesn’t know he is alive.

Back on Earth, satellite analyst Mindy Park (Mackenzie Davis) deduces Watney is alive days later, and alerts Ares Mission Control Supervisor Vincent Kapoor (Chiwetel Ekiofor) who then tells NASA head Teddy (Jeff Daniels).

Now, NASA and the engineers try to devise a way to contact Watney and let him know that they can see him and are trying to work out a plan to keep him alive.  Meanwhile, Watney uses science, and trial and error, to stay alive and devise a way to contact NASA.

As I mentioned, I loved, LOVED, the book.  As with every great book, there is some apprehension when seeing it as a movie.  But, it is great, in its own right.

Ridley Scott, who I had written off, is back in true form.  He proves he still has what it takes to make a compelling sci-fi film.  At first, I was not sure about Damon playing Watney, but thankfully, he proves me wrong.  Damon captures Weir’s hero to perfection.

All the supporting characters and actors are as great as they are numerous.

TM2Harry Gregson-Williams’s score stands out as well.  He is a veteran composer that does not stick out often, but I am glad he chose this film to start.

My only real beef with the cinematic The Martian stems from its focus.  Weir’s book is witty and hilarious at times.  It is told through the mission journal entries by Watney.  I laughed out loud at times while reading the book.

Drew Goddard’s screenplay downplays a lot of the humor to focus on the drama and the peril.  I get it, but some of the great humorous lines, including my favorite, are missing.

I loved the book.  Have I said that yet?

I got my mom, wife, mother-in-law, sister, and my brother (who hasn’t read a book in a decade) to read it.

I loved the film.

The Martian is Apollo 13 meets Cast Away, pulling the best aspects from these great films.  See this movie. Read this book.  Don’t pay for the lame pointless 3D. For those of you that have read the book, I leave you with this:

( . Y . )

RATING: 9/10

 

(Adam Collins ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/author/adam-collins/)

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