Everything is so much more emotionally charged on the big screen.
The movie version of the Martian was more tense that the book from the very beginning. In the book Watney tells you about the dust storm. In the movie you watch Watney live it. The dust storm leads directly into a scene that shows Mark cleaning up his wound in gory detail, and that is when I knew that this movie was not going to pull any punches.
“This is it. This is how I end.”
The motion picture version of the Martian managed to capture all of the emotion I felt in the book and then some. There were many scenes where I was grinning widely as I watched the characters triumph, and there were many scenes that made me tear up. I knew what was going to happen, but I still felt it all. The movie also managed the capture the snarky (and sometimes morbid) humor originally found in the book. I was worried that it wouldn’t transfer well, but all of my favorite jokes had the whole theater laughing.
The movie was stunningly beautiful in an effortless sort of way. The graphics and technology designs were simplistic and lovely. The colors were eye catching, the deep oranges of mars contrasting with the clean whites and grays of the spacesuits, spaceships and NASA offices. I adored how the viewpoint jumped from wide panoramas of rocky craters to the visuals from cameras that would have been set up in and around the hab. Incorporating those camera windows, with their white frames and ticking timers, were the perfect way to incorporate the “log” format of the book into the movie.
The actors did an amazing job portraying their characters. One of my favorite performances in the movie was Donald Glover (you might know him from Community) as Rich Punnel. He captured all of Rich’s chaotic genius just perfectly. The only problem I had was with Jeff Daniels as the head of NASA. With him in a suit making speeches to the press, all I could see him as was Will McAvoy. That is, of course, a problem that is entirely the fault of my own obsession with the Newsroom.
The one thing that detracted from this movie is how many more liberties it took when it came to the actual science. One of the things I loved about the book is how it always strove to be as accurate as possible. The movie didn’t have that same motivation, and the changes that made theoretically possible events into impossible ones were the changes that disappointed me the most.
They extended the ending in the movie. I liked that. I liked that a lot. How the book ended was fine, but when I read it I didn’t feel complete closure. All I wanted were a few more sentences about what happened to the crew and all the people at NASA after Watney was picked up. The movie gave me that closure. Seeing everyone watching the launch for Ares V was just the cutest thing.
The Martian movie captured all of the feelings and all of the visuals of the story I already loved, and was even able to make them feel fresh and new all over again. I read the book just over a month ago, but this movie makes me want to read it again.