So, there's a new Ridley Scott movie coming out starring Matt Damon. In fact, it comes out today. What a crazy random happenstance! Sadly it's not being shown anywhere near me so I can't do a release day review like I was hoping to...buuuuuuuuuuuuut I did, in my excitement about the movie, buy the original book by Andy Weir and devour it in 48 hours. For that reason and absolutely nothing to do with getting Google pings for The Martian, the new Ridley Scott movie with Matt Damon in it, I thought I'd let you know how the book is before you go off to see the movie adaptation with Matt Damon what was directed by Ridley Scott.
|I hear there's this film based on this book...|
|This is the second most informative site I read.|
Naturally I looked up the trailer and lo, it was awesome. Then I promptly forgot about the whole thing until the beginning of the month when I finally decided to buy the book before the film came out, cause I'm that asshole who likes going to a movie and whispering to my neighbour "actually, in the book, they did this..." in every scene. I go to the cinema on my own a lot now, no idea why...
The story is very simple: Mark Watney, a botanist and engineer on the third manned mission to Mars, ends up stranded on the planet and presumed dead after an evacuation during a sandstorm goes wrong. That's...it really. The book follows his, wait for it, desperate battle for survival (aw yeah, I'm a super original journalist) against the harsh Martian environment armed only with spare parts and lots of duct tape. Think of either the bit in Apollo 13 that the comic mentioned or that part in Castaway when he opens all the FedEx parcels to make tools, then spread it over 300 pages. It's awesome. Really, in retrospect, Watney's part was made for Tom Hanks, not Matt Damon, but y'know.
|There's even loads of occasions for him to pee on screen again.|
The long and short of it is he's wonderful; and I have a feeling a lot of that comes from Weir himself, who is the nerdiest human alive (a computer programmer born to a particle physicist and an electrical engineer, with a love of role-playing games) and simply adorable. Lookit him!
|He looks like Stephen King got fused with a 19th century chimney sweep.|
"If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it's found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don't care, but they're massively outnumbered by the people who do."
Every story has a moral to it, and The Martian's is certainly that when it really comes down to it, people can put aside their differences to help someone who is really in need. Yes, it's a bit hokey and sentimental, but... Yeah, it's just plain hokey. Even so, it's nice to see someone having a bit of optimism in their writing, and the parts of the book showing Earth knuckling down together to get Mark home are some of the most satisfying parts of the novel. We're all too bloody cynical and it's about time we enjoyed a bit of gultless pie-in-the-sky idealism; I take back the hokey thing. I'm sorry, Andy.