I generally thought the movie was beautiful. Well shot, well acted. Damon nails the Watney character.
However my friend who has not read the book found the whole cast a bit shallow. It's true that there is nothing given to him. No background, no life of his own... But my friend also struggled a bit with the english.
Overall it felt like a Ridley Scott apology for Prometheus. The designs are certainly there. And it was refreshing to see a movie in space with no dickheads!
But again my friend complained about the lack of adversity, of character conflict. And there I certainly agree.
The struggles between Mitch and Teddy are resumed to one pen laid on the table a bit angrily while saying "coward".
It makes the sending of the Prunel maneuver a lot less of an audacious move.
Also, life on Mars has been simplified. Some things I can understand (No dust storm, no toppling down of the rover, and most importantly, no loss of com with earth to short circuit..), others are less excusable.
Like the life in the rover. The whole "trip" is a mere flyby. He's never shown really preparing for it by tinkering, it looks like it's all in the "Plan B" pages of the NASA handbook, or living in the rover and getting the place like a claustrophobic hippy van.
Hard to portray? Ok, but that certainly did not excuse the biggest and lamest mistake in the film :
Mark Watney is depicted spending his entire sleeping time of the trip sleeping outside
, under the rover or against a wheel.
When I realised what I was seeing I got furious. It's common sense that radiations are a huge excuse to limit Evas, and it's stated numerous times in the book. Less obvious (and fully avoided in the film) is the "oxygen cannister" problem.
The suit doesn't have endless supplies of oxygen filters to allow for all the implied hours spent outside.
The other part that sort of grinded my gears was that of course rescuing him was not going to be enough of a scene. So they added useless spice with botched science. Which I'll re-spoil...
The end is probably better than the book though. It would have been impossible to render such an end on the book so it's no fault of Weir.
What puzzled me is that Weir was on the scenario for the movie. I didn't expect such faults to pass.
Overall I'd give a 7/10 but honestly... weirdly enough I reckon it's probably more enjoyable for the ones who read the book. The movie lacks a good 30min of character exposure and life-on-mars.
While everything is stunning and the cast is wonderfully solid, the emotion felt lacking. Yes I knew what would happen. But I also know what's up when I rewatch interstellar, and yet tears come to my eyes.
Here when roomfull of people cheered their eyeballs out, I smiled...
I think the soundtrack might be part of it.
It was subdued and though a couple of punchy tunes helped with the generally humorous vibe of the movie, Hans Zimmer certainly could have made Mars more dramatic and the failed launch more of an anxious moment.