The Martian was my favorite book of 2014, so when it quickly was turned around into a huge movie the following year, I was a little nervous they could get it right. Especially so, because Ridley Scott, who used to be one of the most dependable directors in Hollywood, was helming it and was riding a decade long dry spell. Fortunately Scott was able to summon up a final science fiction masterpiece (no, I don’t hold out any hope for further ones) aided by perhaps the performance of Matt Damon’s career, an amazing ensemble cast, and fundamentally awesome source material (you can read my full review here).
One of the reasons that the story of Damon’s botanist, stranded on the Red Planet when his crew thinks him dead and leaves him behind, works so well is that it is 1) grounded in science and 2) as filled with funny moments as the novel is. Damon doesn’t have to quite do the amount of solo camera time that Tom Hanks did in Cast Away, but this is probably the closest to that feat that any other actor has come. Like Hanks did with Wilson (the greatest prop in movie history), Damon uses his logs to come up for an excuse for essentially breaking the fourth wall and talking to the audience. My favorite of these log rants begins with Damon using Vicodin as a condiment and ends with a convoluted explanation of how Mars now belongs to him under maritime law and that he is, in fact, a space pirate.
By the way, Andy Weir’s second novel (Artemis) hasn’t even been released yet and has been snapped up by a studio with The LEGO Movie team of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller attached to direct.
Andy Weir’s science fiction masterpiece, The Martian, was my favorite book of 2014. I love Matt Damon, I love Jessica Chastain, I love pretty much all the cast of the film and I know Andy Weir was directly involved in the adaptation, but I’m nervous. It’s not the trailers, which have looked spectacular. It’s Ridley Scott. I can’t remember the last film Ridley Scott directed that I liked, which certainly wasn’t always the case. I so hope this is a return to form for him, because this could be one of the best films of the year if it lives up to its source material. The Martian lands in theaters on October 2, 2015, kicking off the Fall Movie Season.
Matt Damon strikes a delicate balance between intensity and levity in the new trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Martian, in which the actor plays Mark Watney, an astronaut trying to survive after being accidentally stranded on Mars.
““This thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays kings, ruins town;
And beats high mountain down.”
~ JRR Tolkien (The Hobbit)
I should probably do a proper book review on this, but since I have you all here, I wanted to recommend a book that I think any fan of science fiction (especially space nerds) needs to read. It’s called The Martian by Andy Weir and it originally was e-published in 2012 but the physical version hit stores in February. This is the best book of 2014 so far, by far. It’s about a manned mission to Mars that goes catastrophically wrong and an astronaut is left behind as the commander has to take off or lose the whole crew. Part Apollo 13, part Castaway, part Twilight Zone, this book is a thriller and a page turner while managing to keep a sense of humor in the midst of this most dire of circumstances. Ridley Scott and Matt Damon are rumored to be adapting this, but don’t wait. If you want a summer book, take it from someone who read hundreds, this is the best one I’ve read since The Fault in Our Stars last year. Go pick it up immediately! Continue reading Killing Time – May 15, 2014→