Thursday, July 21, 2016

Catching Up with The Martian

Catching up on some movie watching this week.

First up, The Martian:

The Martian is based on Andy Weir's 2011 novel set in the mid 2030s and recounting the struggles undergone by astronaut Mark Watney as he attempts to survive after having been left behind after an aborted attempt to explore Mars. The plot of the film is essentially the same as the novel; however, while the film does try to preserve some sense of his perspective, we do lose much of Watney's signature voice in the re-telling. The pacing of the first third of the film seems consistent with the novel, but the second third jumps ahead seven months and fails to depict the most heroic feats undertaken by Watney in his attempts to escape the Red Planet. The final section of the film serves as an epilogue illustrating the lives of Watney and his crew mates following his rescue. Despite these issues, the film succeeds in bringing the novel to life. We see and hear (rather than just imagine) events, and, through these visual and audio stimulation, come to a better appreciation of Watney's experience. In addition, through scenes on Earth, we get a greater sense of how hard NASA and the JPL are working to rescue their astronaut, and, perhaps more importantly, the images of how the common men and women across the globe are affected by Watney's trials forge a deeper connection between the film and its audience.

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