The Martian in Space
The Martian is something of after-summer special–not enough action to compete with other summer blockbusters and not enough genre polish to fit in with movies in October. The best thing about this movie is Matt Damon, who chews up the screen with a one-man show for most of the movie. The script really doesn’t do Damon any favors with the cliches and there aren’t any of the usual character moments because there is only one character in an isolated location. This movie is based on a novel–a good novel, and it’s a good story about one man’s battle to survive. This doesn’t work so well in movie form.
The first half of the movie is the best part. The characters—I mean character, reacts to a series of accidents and horrible circumstances. That’s about it. Damon’s character isn’t developed any more than that. It’s only the best part of the movie by default because the drama is good and Damon is a good actor. By comparison, I guess The Martian has the same structure as the movie Apollo 11 except without the family parts. So why isn’t The Martian as good as Apollo 11? It mostly has to do with the last part of the movie, which tries to show us the drama inherent in a nine month space flight. That’s sarcasm by the way. It’s boring.
In all, this is a decent movie, but the flaws stick out because better movies have done the same thing. Mostly, the movie is worth a watch for Matt Damon, but I honestly want to read the book now to get more details and more drama.