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.