Ok, admittedly, this concept doesn’t sound for that great of a movie, or even for a story. However, in the hands of writer Andy Weir and director Ridley Scott, the movie becomes a breathtaking and often times humorous spectacle. Watney was written by Weir to be a smart aleck that is wonderfully intelligent and human. Damon is the perfect embodiment of this, even as he wanes away before us on the screen as a result of the lack of food (Damon reportedly was going to lose the weight for the role, but instead the weight loss was done with the use of a computer). Damon/Watney is someone we want to be friends with, and so we actually care about his plight of being left alone on an entire planet.
Watney is also an interesting character because of how optimistic, and opportunistic he is. Not many people would have thought to use the bathroom to become fertilizer, but Watney did. Not many people would have used a radioactive generator as a heater, but Watney did. I could go on with further examples, (and there are even more in the book), but I think I’ve gotten my point across.
Touching on something literally just wrote, I was a bit sad with the fact that so much of the book got left out. I understand that adaptations can’t be literal all the time, but I felt like there was so much screen time for the characters back on Earth (mainly to justify their paychecks I’m sure), that we
them to great use here. Many people said after Prometheus that Scott was losing touch with some of the techniques that made him one of the best science fiction directors of our times. Here he shows he has lost nothing, showing great sweeping shots of Mars, wonderful interior shots of the spaceships/rovers, as well as a terrific rotational scene in space. So much of this could have been cheesy, but it wasn’t, and that attests to Scott’s skill as a director.
This is a great movie, for those that have read the book and those that haven’t. I’m giving it a “B+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"