I saw this movie a week or so back, I was out of town though and didn't get a chance to write about it. Now that I am, the movie is no longer fresh in my mind. So this may be a shorter post then normal.
The Martian is a story about a astronaut stranded on Mars after his crew is forced to leave him behind. Luckily he is a Botanist and using the power of science, he figures out a way to survive while trying to make contact with NASA to be rescued.
Now if you are like me, you hear stuck on Mars and just go "oh so he is dead." And that is a major point of the story. NASA and the crew have already given up on him, and as such are not looking or trying to make contact. We are given a time table of how long it would be before it is even possible for him to get rescued, and it was just depressing. He had to survive for a very long period of time, alone and in a situation where it doesn't even sound possible. That created a very neat feeling, it quickly made you feel for the guy. Now Matt Damon's portrayal of Mark Watney certainly helped, he was amazing in the role. But they really did great with the feeling of Isolation and dread. Every time something went wrong you just felt awful for the guy. It wasn't until the ending that you actually knew what would happen to him. Seeing Watney figure his way out of the issues though was just as entertaining as seeing them unfold.
I was told in the book the majority of the story is told through his thoughts, and people were confused as to how that would play out in the movie. In the movie he is constantly recording himself, and narrating what he is doing for the logs. Not sure if he did that in the movie, but it did produce a similar effect to what I was told about. Watney is funny and likable and much smarter then anybody I know. I don't know nearly enough about science to tell if what he was doing was accurate or not, but it was fascinating to see and hear him talk about it. I didn't know Matt Damon was that solid of a actor, I always think of Dogma when I hear his name. But he made this movie work, and for 50% of it he was pretty much the only actor on screen.
Other notable roles would be Michael Pena who you may remember as the best character in Marvel's Antman. He plays a much more serious role here, but still managed to bring some much needed humor to help lighten the mood at times. Jessica Chastain played the commander of the crew and helped provide some of the tension and drama in the later portions. About 3/4th of the way into the film we leave Watney for quite some time and focus on NASA and the Crew as they are trying to figure out what they should be doing. She is racked with guilt for leaving him behind and it effects a lot of her characters actions. Donald Glover shows up for awhile and was enjoyable. Sean Bean and Chiwetel Ejiofor were two stand out roles as well. Pretty much everybody in this film did a great job. I can't think of one performance that I thought detracted from anything.
The movie was filled with great Characters, and they all carried their own portion of the story. While Watney was the main role, he was stuck on Mars. There were plenty of scenes back on Earth as we tried to figure out if we should help him, and how we could even do that. Ejiofor and Bean were two of those major roles and they did a great job of keeping things interesting as we were dealing with the non life threatening portions of the film. The crew gets their own moments after they left mars. And even those portions of the film were enjoyable as nothing was going on for quite a few of them. Seeing the contrast of them when compared to Watney, or even hearing them talk about him elicited a emotion from the viewer. Speaking of emotions this is a movie that will make you tear up a few times.
It is difficult to talk about this movie without dropping spoilers. Heck every big point I would like to discuss pretty much requires you to know some major plot point.
The story is solid, and while it may seem like not a lot happens, it easily kept me entertained for its lengthy run time. If you read the book, they cut out some of the Mars stuff. I would have liked to see some of what I read about, but I think adding more time to the movie might not have been a great idea. It is almost 2.5 hours long as it is. The acting was great all around, and the various characters were all well thought out and well written.
The effects were great, Mars and Space looked awesome and I loved all the science in it. While I have no clue if it was accurate, it was fun and presented in a way that made sense. Matt Damon did a great job of pulling me in and making me quickly care Watney, and he is the main reason the movie worked as well as it did.
If you are curious how it compares to his other space film, Interstellar, well I liked this one better overall.
Normally I would post a trailer here, but the trailer for this film is pretty much a summary of the entire movie. It spoils a lot of it......like so much of it. Don't watch the trailer.