Thankfully The Martian is Ridley Scott’s best film in a decade. It’s not a perfect adaptation of Andy Weir’s compelling page turner, but it comes pretty close. Matt Damon is a fine fit as Mark Watney, the botanist engineer stranded on Mars when he’s assumed dead by his crew.
Jessica Chastain is excellent as the captain of said mission, and the rest of the casting is pretty excellent too. (Sean Bean has a terrific Lord of The Rings in-joke during a NASA meeting).
Though fans of the novel will probably moan about the speed with which problems are solved and certain key elements are jettisoned, the essence of the book remains: one man’s attempt to stay alive with a mix of smarts, humour and resourcefulness.
Though I was mentally yelling “Slow down,” at certain points, this mix of Apollo 13 and Gravity is bound to be an instant crowd pleaser thanks to that terrific third act.
A shame the final five minutes are tagged on. The book has a lean, snappy finale, but Scott’s movie (perhaps intentionally) ends like some TV series. ‘You have been watching…’ kind of thing.
The effects and score are all great, and while not perfect, it’s light years ahead of Scott’s previous let downs Prometheus and risible The Counsellor.
Welcome home Ridley. You’ve spent too long in the blockbuster wilderness. Nice to see you back where you belong.
Now get the Alien saga back on track. Please.