Back at the movies

The Martian

Having read Andy Weir’s book, it was exciting to see the movie. Which is lighter on the science, but gives the people, politics and narrative comparatively more time.

Essentially, it’s the story of man vs. Martian environment – the quest of an astronaut left behind on Mars to make it back, and of those at home to help him.

It’s a fun execution. It feels as though some science and detail was sacrificed for the sake of narrative, but it captures that essential struggle of man vs. Mars well. That was something that felt even more missing in the book – I remember thinking as I read, ‘how is it that someone is stranded on Mars, and all we know about their inner state are occasional musings about Aquaman?’ So the movie covered that ground a little more.

Having said which, it felt stretched taut at points. The characters weren’t developed in depth. There’s a whole range of clips up online which would have given a little more energy to the characters, which don’t seem to have made it into the movie (you can see some of that here, here, here, and most crucially here).

The Intouchables

The Intouchables was fun to watch.

It’s a story of a young man who’s had a rough start, who chances into the role of personal carer for a person with wealth and a disability. Their characters spark each other nicely, and the story of how they change each other generates a good narrative arc.

Most of all, The Intouchables didn’t fit into a neat package of how Hollywood makes movies. Which was nice. So even though there were some rough edges in how different characters were seen through the movie’s eyes (I’m thinking particularly of how Driss’s overt approaches to Magalie are portrayed as not a problem; she handles them well, but I think they could be seen more critically), overall I enjoyed it.

It’s also based on a true story – which is not to say that it is completely true.

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