For a book consisting primarily of scenes about a man growing food and trying to survive in space, Andy Weir’s The Martian is surprisingly entertaining. The novel details astronaut Mark Watney’s time on Mars after a dust storm leaves him separated from his crew and stranded there. But despite the probability that Watney will perish in space, he decides to keep fighting to stay alive in the hopes that someone will eventually come to rescue him.
Watney’s story in The Martian is both comical and fascinating, and thankfully, the 2015 film adaptation of the novel manages to do it justice. Matt Damon’s rendition of Watney feels accurate to the character’s personality in the book, and between Damon’s acting and the stellar writing for the film, it’s hard not to laugh out loud frequently while watching it.
Not only does the movie version of The Martian warrant plenty of laughter from viewers, but it also promises to tug at other emotions—especially when it comes to Watney’s crew discovering that he’s still alive and setting out to rescue him. There’s a great onscreen dynamic between the actors and actresses, and that dynamic makes the mission to bring Watney home all the more suspenseful. Plus, despite the slower beginning of the movie, the rescue mission contains plenty of action to hold viewers’ attention.
The film adaptation of The Martian also doesn’t hold back on the scientific components of the story, somehow handling them in a way that keeps the story interesting. In fact, The Martian has actually been praised for its scientific accuracy when it comes to certain aspects of the story—so much so that NASA began using the film to market its space campaigns. Of course, much of Weir’s story remains on the fictional side of things. But it’s nice to know that both the author and filmmakers endeavored to keep it as realistic as possible.