Since I read for leisure less than I’d like, it is rare for me to be hoping that Hollywood does justice to a book I absolutely loved. Andy Weir’s The Martian is that book. Jay handed it to me a while back and the way she did, I knew it was something special. The Martian is both the most accessible and most science-heavy science fiction novel I have ever read. If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favour at some point and check it out. You won’t regret it.
When I heard that Ridley Scott’s adaptation of The Martian was premiering at TIFF 2015, it went to the absolute top of my list. And it quickly became clear I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Despite having a good window for our premium selections, the red carpet premiere was gone before we even had a chance at it. But fortunately, Matt used his window to grab Jay and me a pair of tickets for the next (and only other) TIFF screening of The Martian. We got to see it yesterday and it did not disappoint!
The movie is everything it could possibly be. My only question as we were leaving the screening was whether there was a way they could have kept more in the movie, because some of the problems that arose in the book did not make it into the movie’s two-hour-plus run time. But that’s inevitable and it’s not something I can criticize because the movie was expertly paced and there was nowhere to expand without losing momentum. It’s a reason to re-read the book but not a fault of the movie.
The best part of the whole experience was seeing the spirit of the book preserved and celebrated. As Jay pointed out afterward, while we lost a little Mark Watney time, we gained some time with the other characters, and it was a pleasure to get to know them better. It might even be a better fit with the theme shared by the book and the movie, namely that when we all work together, we can accomplish remarkable things. All we need is a little motivation. There’s no villain here. There are only challenging problems to be solved by the people who are determined to save one unlucky botanist, most notably the botanist himself. It’s a joy to watch it all play out, especially against the backdrop of a Mars that is both desolate and vibrant. The visuals are incredible from start to finish. See The Martian in 3D if you can – it’s simply spectacular.
The Martian is perfect. I can’t wait to see it again.