I read The Martian by Andy Weir in anticipation of the movie, and I finished it in four days. You can probably guess how excited I was to watch the movie after that, especially since it's directed by Ridley Scott (and I'm a huge Blade Runner fan). I therefore went to the Cineworld preview screening around my area last week; here are my thoughts.
IF YOU'VE READ THE BOOK:
The story is quite true to the book, which is something I really liked. I loved it so much I didn't want them to make it into something else, and they didn't. I'm very happy about that.
They obviously had to take out a lot of the "science talk" to make it more interesting for everyone, I guess. But I'm fine with that. I appreciate the research on the book, a lot, but I don't think it would have had the same effect on the movie. The thing they took out that annoyed me a little (these are half spoilers, but if you've read the book then you're okay) was his struggle with carrying everything on the rover, his trip across Mars and how long it took (in the movie he just turns up near the crater, no big deal), and most of the communication issues. I agree it would have made the movie longer and they would have had to explain a lot more, but they make it seem like he only struggles with food, oxygen, and water.
I know I said I was alright with almost everything, but there's just one part I was disappointed with: the ending. (No spoilers ahead). Why did they change it? Someone please tell me why. The outcome is the same, but the way it happens isn't, and I just don't understand why they thought the book ending wasn't good enough. Instead, they turn it into this "fake" thing, very hard to believe, and it doesn't make that much sense. I love that the book is true to science, that you can believe the story is real, and this just threw it all to the ground. I still loved the movie, though.
IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK:
You need to. What are you waiting for? It's probably my favorite book I've read this year, and I don't say that lightly. But on with the movie review.
The Martian follows the story of an astronaut who gets left behind in Mars. Everyone thinks he's dead, until he makes contact. How is he going to survive and can NASA bring him back? That's what you'll see in the movie.
Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) is one of the most likeable characters I've ever read/seen on screen, which makes the movie so much better. He's a very funny guy and, even though the story depicts an overwhelming situation, you will laugh quite a bit during the movie.
It's very different from other science fiction movies in the sense that you will forget it's actually fiction. I think the role NASA takes in it makes it easy to believe, as well. You will be rooting for this guy, wanting for him to come back to Earth alive.
The shots of Mars and space (especially Hermes) are breath taking. I watched it in 3D and I'm glad I did because of that. I will watch it again in 2D because why not, but if you're not too sure which one to go for, I enjoyed it a lot and I'm not usually a fan of 3D.
I recommend this movie to everyone. It's one of those anyone can enjoy. Again, it's very different from anything you've seen before, so it's refreshing. You will be on the edge of your seat.