The Martian made 55 million and change in its opening weekend, just shy of Gravity, for the second best October opening ever. I loved the book and I really liked the movie. The cinematography was terrific, the special effects weren’t bad though the gravity thing on Mars was inconsistent. Matt Damon did a good job as Mark Watney, the best botanist on the planet.
There were a couple of thumbs down things for me. First, they changed the opening line of the book. It was terrific and they changed it. Why mess with perfection?
Next, the movie lacked heart. We knew the outcome from the beginning. But unlike Apollo 13, there wasn’t that same heart-string pulling, will he/they survive kind of tension. I would have liked to see more emotion before the end. It felt a little sterile. I know that Matt/Mark couldn’t really break down- he had a job to do. But somehow something was missing in the filming of the scenes on Earth and among the crewmembers that had left Mark behind. I think it was a difference in directors. Apollo 13 had Ron Howard while Ridley Scott helmed The Martian. The latter is more clinical. Still, the movie gets an A and is the best sci fi movie I’ve seen in a while; lightyears better than Interstellar and Gravity.
(I may have felt differently if the theatre had been packed but we went to a late afternoon 3-D showing and it was barely one-quarter full. It might have ramped up the emotion if the seats were full and people had been laughing out loud at some of Matt/Mark’s comments.)