Sunday, March 20, 2016

First Impression: The Martian

Well here was a movie with a lot of good buzz around it. I kept hearing how it was Ridley Scott looking like he was back in fine form after some disappointing movies (although I though Prometheus was pretty good). Then all the "I'm going to ____ the hell out of this" memes started showing up. Finally, my wife got her hands on the book and read through it very fast (and that is saying something because she is already a fast reader). She loved and told it me it was a must read. Sure enough, she was right. I really enjoyed the novel and was looking forward to seeing how Scott adapted it.

Two Things I Liked:

  • A fine performance by Matt Damon, managing to stay true to the novel but make the character his own.
  • Moves at a great pace, keeping the viewer invested in the fate of our lone astronaut
Two Things I Didn't Like:
  • Some of funniest moments and most interesting perils from the novel are not used in the film
  • The ending was changed to make something a bit bigger and more Hollywood... and its actually kinda silly
Minor quibbles aside The Martin was a really entertaining film. Scott's direction is spot on, building on the loneliness and perils of our stranded hero, as well as the tension and urgency of the folks on Earth struggling to get him home. Damon delivers a fine performance and it works well with the humor and horror of the situation. Fans of the novel may be disappointed by some of the changes and omissions, but all in all it is a fine adaptation. Well worth checking out, but beware the montages featuring 70s disco classics!

Boogie on over to an ad and give it a click disco fans!


  1. Yes, I thought some of the soundtrack was a bit adjunct or contradictory to the film somehow, and at the same time; it worked (didn't they use an Abba song?). At any rate for some sort of space movie I usually think of something more spacial like Tangerine Dream or something like that.

    I've not read the book, and I enjoyed the movie, but for me, didn't quite like it as much as Interstellar. That said, I might like it better on a subsequent watching, which I plan to do at some point in time. I can see why so many enjoyed the book though.

    1. I believe they used Dancing Queen by ABBA. As Richard notes below, it was a running joke in the book that he had to suffer through all kinds of 70s music and television series.

      The actual score was pretty atmospheric. It was by Harry Greyson-Williams who also worked with Ridley Scott on "Kingdom of Heaven". HGWs score has some very Vangelis-style moments in it. It was a favorite for a lot of film music fans last year.

  2. I enjoyed the novel. It was hard science fiction done right, but (perhaps precisely because I liked it) I've been in no hurry to see the movie. It's a running joke in the book of course that Watney must entertain himself with whatever his shipmates left behind, and the one who left behind the most had an unhealthy obsession with the 1970s. Still, whether they've read Weir's novel or not, most folks seem to like the film. I'm reassured to see your thumb pointed up too.

    1. The movie is worth checking out, but the novel was a lot funnier. What if interesting is how many people told me how funny they found the movie. And yeah there was some humor in it, but the book certainly had more laugh out loud moments.