Houston, We Have A Review: The Martian

By: Rachel Stewart

Rating- 4/5 stars

Recently, on October 2, the movie The Martian, landed in theaters.  This movie is based on the 2011 science fiction novel of the same name, by Andy Weir, that focuses on a man, Mark Watney, who becomes stranded on Mars and has to survive completely alone.  I personally read the book before I saw the movie, and I thought it was entertaining, but I did have my qualms. I had issues with the cyclical nature of the plot and the lack of character depth. Luckily, I thought the movie remedied these issues, and I actually think I enjoyed the movie more than the book, which is not something that usually happens for me.

The movie was quite a lengthy one, coming in at two and a half hours.  Even as a long movie, the pacing was done really well, and I never felt like it was too long.  I was engaged throughout the entire film, even though I already knew how the story was going to play out.  I think it was a good choice to make this movie be longer than usual, because it gave them the opportunity to fix an issue I had with the book: character depth and development.  I thought the movie made much more of an emotional impact on me than the book did, and I thought the characters were more fleshed out and given more depth, especially Mark.  The side characters were still a little bit flat, but our story is so centrally focused on Mark Watney that I think it’s okay. One other thing this movie changed from the book was take some of the hard science out of it. There were whole sections of the book where I was reading, but I had no idea what was going on, because the science was over my head. “Dumbing it down” a bit in the movie is a decision that I think will help this movie appeal to a larger audience, and it made the plot flow a bit smoother in my opinion. Lastly, the movie did have a different ending than the book did, but I think it was another great decision on the filmmaker’s part, and I think it gives more closure to the story.

Sam Wick, a senior, saw the movie but has not read the book. Her thoughts are as follows: “I found it very enjoyable, and there never was a point where I was bored with it, even though it was a two and a half hour movie. It kept me interested, and the science wasn’t over my head. After watching the movie, it makes me want to read the book.” Sam’s rating- 4.5 stars

Kasen Stephensen, a junior, saw the movie and read the book, and he had similar thoughts as me: “I thought the interpretation was actually really good. They cut out a lot of the science, but kept enough in, so that was a nice help. Surprisingly, I have to say, I think I liked it better than the book, because of the character development and I felt more emotion.” Kasen’s rating- 4.5 stars

Overall, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie, and I would definitely recommend it. Whether you’ve read the book or not, I think you’ll really enjoy this film.