I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
Previously, on Carissa Green Reads: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/1264907/notes-on-adaptation-the-martian-casting-edition
But now that I've seen "The Martian," it's time to talk about its adaptation. I loved it. It was exactly right, based on the screenplay in my head after reading the novel. The acting was pitch-perfect, and although certain sections were (understandably) shortened, such as accidentally destroying the communication system, the journey in the rover, and the sandstorm, it was so, so faithful.
Until the end. Yes, the rescue of Mark Watney pretty much happened the way it was supposed to in the book, except - and this is a huge except - it's not Captain Lewis (Jessica Chastain's character) who goes out to fetch him. It's Dr. Beck, just as it's supposed to be in the chain of command. I get it - Chastain is a bigger name in the acting world than Sebastian Stan, so she should get the moment with Damon, completing her dramatic arc of abandonment, guilt, and rescue, but I really hate when films change things they don't have to.
How about some knit-picks? In an adaptation, one of the things I look for are the moments. My favorite moment from "The Martian" novel was when Mindy Park figures out that Mark Watney is alive, and understanding the implications of a person alone on Mars, she has a brief emotional breakdown before pulling herself together to report to her superiors. (Understandably), the moment didn't make the film. A small disappointment.
Also, Dr. Kapoor, in the book, is clearly Indian American, but in the film, he's played by Chiweitel Ejiofor, and the change of race is explained away by a line about his mixed parentage. Sigh. I'm sure they could have found a competent actor of the correct ethnicity to play the part, if they'd tried.
But in the long and short of it, fairly minor quibbles.