My wife and I went to go see this movie opening night. She had been waiting for the movie for quite some time. She loved the book, and was hoping for a great adaptation, especially after seeing a few reviews that claimed the movie was even better than the book. I haven’t read the book yet, so I had no real expectations. As we left the theater, my wife was disappointed, but I enjoyed the movie.
I’ve heard the book is really funny, and while the movie had some funny moments, it definitely isn’t a comedy. The whole premise is about a man stranded on Mars and trying to survive. Humor can be very useful for coping with that kind of situation, but in a visual medium like film, it also has a tendency to break the tension that’s purposefully being formed. I thought that Matt Damon and Ridley Scott straddled that line between funny and suspenseful very well. My wife, however, thought Damon wasn’t able to capture how funny Mark Whatney was in the book (she claims that Bradley Cooper would have been better in the role), and it left her wishing the tone was very different.
As with most movies, expectations will play a large part in how the movie’s received. I had no expectations and thought the movie was funny, suspenseful, and very entertaining. My wife loved the book and was expecting the movie to be just as funny. She wound up being disappointed that the tone was so serious. We have some friends who didn’t care for the book, but loved the movie. I may change my opinion after I read the book, but for now, I’m glad we saw it and may even like to see it again.