First, allow me to preface this with the statement that I loved the novel by Andy Weir. I found it to be one of the most engaging and fast paced books I’ve ever enjoyed. Frankly, it is in my top 10 ever favorite reads. If you have not picked it up, I highly recommend reading it over the movie. It seems to be a novel that cannot be pigeonholed into the sci/fi category alone, because I have found that it appeals to a wide range of readers.
To say I was eagerly awaiting the movie adaptation is an understatement.
Alas, the movie could not live up to my lofty expectations. There was not much wrong with it; visually the cinematography is mesmerizing, and Ridley Scott did a good job with following the plot from the book. However, it does a poor job of building the suspense. The novel form was chock full of harrowing and time-pressed problems that had to be solved in order for the astronaut to survive. These problems were riddled with tricks, turns and twists that kept you on the edge of your seat, tempered with a dry wit that made you come to love and root for The Martian to survive.
Most of those stress-building scenarios did not make it to the screen adaptation. So, to me, the movie had a plodding feel to it. I think if you hadn’t read the book, you might like the movie better. But, then you would be foregoing the extremely wonderful pleasure of reading it.
My rating is a 6 out of 10. The movie is passable entertainment, but my advice is to read the novel, instead.
I love to be scared. Halloween is my all time favorite time of year; I though the original Halloween movie was great. The sequence in there where Jamie Lee Curtis’ character was desperately trying to locate the key to get into the house and away from her pursuer is absolutely heart-stopping. Or, at least it was to me when I first saw it.
Even though, since that landmark film, I’ve been to very few “scary” movies because 1) I want suspense and creepiness, startles and surprises, but NOT massive amounts of gore, and 2) most of them that I do get sucked into seeing really disappoint me. The Others is a good example. While it was a pretty good movie, it just wasn’t scary at all.
This past weekend, my sister and I went to see The Conjuring. I was actually too scared to think about going for a while. The commercials, especially the longer trailer style, were terrifying to me. They had a disturbing quality to them that made me think perhaps this movie is too much. But, other factors convinced me to go.
My sister seemed eager to see it, and she loves to be scared, but is hard to scare, like I am.
Again, the commercials. Terr-I-Fy-Ing.
The movie is not gory. (Double plus one in my book).
An adult movie goer, friend of a friend, said she was EXHAUSTED after leaving the theater. (Ooooh that sounds promising)
And, other folks referred to it as this generation’s Poltergeist (one of the best ever experiences in horror in the theater I had. I never watched it again, because of the clown scene. That bothers me to this DAY, and I saw it when it originally came out.)
Stop here if you want absolutely no spoilers.
The Conjuring is based on a “true” story about a family that became haunted, and one of them eventually possessed by an evil presence in the old home they bought in Rhode Island in the 1970s. The central focus of the story is really on the paranormal investigators who tried to help the family.
Nothing about it scared me, or my sister, at all. We were primed to be scared, there was so much promise, but it didn’t bother either one of us. I think we were both so very disappointed in that.
When we left the theater, we sat down and tried to figure out why so many people ARE saying it is terrifying. I don’t think they are lying; I think it did scare them.
Is it mostly young people who don’t have Poltergeist under their belt? (I don’t think so, that demographic eats up horror movies).
Are Susan and I just jaded? Were our expectations too high?
I have a theory, and my sister thoughtfully considered it and said she believe I might have pinned it. It all centers on the investigators and the way they approached a priest to try to have an exorcism performed. That scene was so thoughtful and non-offensive. It cemented the feeling of calm in me. There were other subtle touches that affected my interpretation of what I was seeing as well, most notably that the clairvoyant character always had a rosary wrapped around her hand when she was in the house. There was no attempt at explaining it, or even making it super obvious. It was just there. And I saw it. And it gave me comfort.
Susan and I aren’t scared because we both believe that Satan is not a “concept” nor a symbol of evil. He is real evil, and therefore real evil can manifest in this world. The flip-side of that is that we are also believers that God can and will protect us from that evil if we ask him. Sometimes that help might come in the form of religious rites or other acts.
ALSO! I am NOT intending to imply that IF YOU were scared by the movie that I think you are a Godless, disbelieving fool. It is only my perspective and my thoughts based on my personal beliefs and experiences.
That being said, let me get back to the review. If you forget about this movie trying to be scary, and just watch it as a story about the characters involved, I think you will find that it is a well-crafted, acted and filmed flick. The setting is great, the actors were solid, and the story arc is entertaining and scripted nicely. (There is one scene in the middle of the movie that we thought was unnecessary and misplaced. It just didn’t seem to have a real point and it didn’t work.)
We also are stumped as to why it’s rated R. Perhaps Catholicism is more offensive than nudity, gore and sex.
So my rating is 7 to 8 out of 10 as just a regular dramatic story, but only a 2 out of 10 as a horror movie.
But, don’t sue me if you do go, and pee in your pants or have a heart attack or something.
While watching TV, I was paying a superficial amount of attention to a commercial for the movie adaptation of Beautiful Creatures (a book that I loved, by the way).
“Nothing good comes from loving Morons.”
That’s what I thought I heard. Scowling and confused, I tried to figure out where in the story it was from, because I just didn’t remember that part. Then, I realized she said Mortals, not Morons. Thankfully, that makes so much more sense.
Although, the first bit is still probably pretty good advice, as well.