Let me start by saying that this book was a great read. Knowing how phenomenal a story this was , written by Andy Weir and hearing a movie was going to be made always gets me excited. Then Matt Damon was cast. One of the best actors working today, along with Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Chewitel Ejiwofor, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Pena and Sebastian Stan. Those are top level talents in the game today. To top all that off Ridley Scott is at the helm, with Drew Goddard penning the script. With material such as this, I trust Scott to adapt this story well. I’m really looking forward to this film. Don’t let me down Ridley!
Boy did he deliver here. This movie is one of the years best. Visually fantastic, Scott does a great job capturing the visual landscape of Mars. Not only do you feel that vast area, you feel the isolation that Mark Watney (Damon) feels. Being left alone on a planet that has never been inhabited by life ever. You would think that this would drive a man crazy. Not Mark Watney. He is cracking jokes, and very cool under pressure. Like a quarterback with a game on the line, he is poised and makes all the right decisions in crunch time to win the game, in Watney’s case survive until the next manned crew can come back for him.
That is the standout here. Matt Damon as Mark Watney is just superb. He brings a charm to a character who has every right to be going mad. You’re with him every step of the way. Watney is a lot funnier than you might imagine. Weir and Drew Goddard wrote some great dialogue for their lead. This is an Oscar worthy performance.
As for the happenings down on earth. Jeff Daniels Ted Daniels plays the head of NASA, and Ejiofor is the head of Mars operations in a nutshell. Both performances are stellar. They play off each other well. I can’t go far enough to say that there was just as much tension on earth as on Mars but it sure is close.
There is another great section of actors, and that is the Hermes 3 crew that leaves Watney behind unintentionally. Commander Lewis (Chastain) along with Martinez (Pena) Beth Johannses (Kate Mara) and Beck (Sebastiab Stan) all are feeling that dread that they may have lost a brother on this trip. Lewis takes it the hardest and you see that heartbreak throughout the film. She holds herself with such strong leadership qualities that you’d expect a Commander to have. That whole crew is great in smaller roles. Chemistry between them made you feel like they were a family.
There isn’t anything negative about this film. For two hours and twenty minutes it flys by. Ridley Scott is back and may have directed Matt Damon to his first acting academy award.