They say no plan survives first contact with implementation. I'd have to agree.
-- Mark Watney, Chapter 5
I'm such a dumb-ass for not thinking of it! And my dumb-assery almost got me killed.
-- Mark Watney, Chapter 5
Ok, so I've had this book on my Kindle for months and months. I've seen several reviews and I was looking forward to reading it, but I kept getting caught up in book club reading or series finishing... Anyway, when I saw that the movie was coming out this month, I knew I needed to read the book now. The movie previews looked great and I didn't want to hear too much about the book, or miss seeing the movie. So, I read the book quick and then saw the movie.
The book is amazing. Mark Watney is a such a likable character. He never gives up, no matter what Mars throws at him. He uses bravery, humor and ingenuity to attempt to survive in a nearly impossible situation. At times, the book gets too much into the science of things and I had to zone out a bit. But, it never kept me from reading because I really wanted to see what Mark would do next. And by the way, kudos to Andy Weir for putting so much effort into making this book so realistic and finding out the science and figuring out possible solutions to all Mark's problems.
The movie is intense. Matt Damon did a fabulous job. We laughed when he laughed and cried when he did. He played the character so well, I can't imagine anyone else as Mark. Rooting for him on Mars was the most fun I had at a movie in quite a while. As always in movies, many details from the book were left out. Some of the scenes they left out were very important to me in the book and I did miss them. But, I did not miss the overwhelming amount of scientific information. In this case (and I haven't said this more than once or twice in my life), the movie may be a bit better than the book for some people. It moves faster and you still get the feel of the overall adventure. If someone other than Matt Damon was playing Mark Watney, maybe the effect wouldn't have been the same. I felt like Mark was talking to me when he was recording his journals and between that and the scenes with NASA, I didn't feel like the movie was about one man alone (like Castaway).
So, if you don't mind an abundance of scientific jargon, then read the book first. But still see the movie. And, if it sounds to you like the excess science would make the book drag too much, then just see the movie. You will not regret it.
Adults who enjoy intense survival stories with realistic science behind them.