Synopsis: Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars after an incident during a mission abort leaves the crest of the Ares crew thinking he’s dead. He’s then forced to ‘science the shit’ out of things until he’s either rescued, or dies.
Tagline: Bring him home.
Release Date: 2015-10-2 | MPAA Rating: PG-13 | Coolthulhus Earned: 3
Trailer: The Martian
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR BOTH BOOK AND MOVIE! I will try to keep it as vague as possible, but…ya know.
The Martian Movie Review
I’m biased towards the book, so take this review with a mug of salt.
Let me start with the good in this The Martian review. There are some scenes in the book that are very hard to visualize, like the hexidecimal set-up for when Watney is communicating with Earth pre-Rover hack, the Rovers themselves, etc. The movie did a very good job with clearly depicting them (I’m not saying its accurate, I’m saying the visual representations were clear, whereas in the book – not really.) Also, the view of Mars (canyons, etc) were awesome. I loved the visuals overall!
They also did keep a hefty portion of the dialogue, which, lets be honest, is majorly important in The Martian. The dialogue that they changed/added for the most part was understandable.
They did hit the major action points in the book. There was only a couple times where I was wanting to yell at the screen “WHAT? WHY DIDN’T (insert scene) HAPPEN?!”
Most importantly, though, The Martian communicated how important science and logic is. Without his knowledge of how things work, and his ability to think things through, Watney would not have survived on the red planet. Not a chance. He makes it because he doesn’t give up, he’s intelligent, and he doesn’t go into a blind panic every time something goes wrong. The importance of this cannot be overstated! Its not just another macho man with a gun, blowing crap up to save the day. Its a guy using his mind and surviving alone on a desert planet. He does have help from NASA, but ultimately its his wits, his mind, that enable him to make it as long as he does.
Now, I’m going to get picky, however, I watched the movie with a friend who had never read the book, so I will also include her non-book obsessed viewpoints. To be clear: I just recently got the audible badge (this should tell you how much of a nerd I am) for listening to the same book twenty times. Betcha ya can’t guess what book that was for. That’s how much I love this book.
Annie Montrose isn’t an important character in the book, per say, but she is a very visible one. She’s the Director of Communications, so she heads the press-briefings and whatnot. She’s a very strong, self-assured, potty-mouthed female. Ridley Scott and his crew completely wimpified her for no apparent reason!!! They turn her from someone who, minus the potty mouth, is a good role-model for young girls who oozes self-confidence and has no problems asking questions and standing up when standing up needs done. into this nervous-looking frail lady who barely has any screen presence and give the majority of her best lines to the Director of NASA (Teddy).
Why they do this I have no bloody clue. There’s no reason to. Letting Annie keep the majority of her lines would not have affected the movie scenes in any way that mattered. Yeah, they might have had to ixnay an f-bomb or two, but that’s, yes, yes, PG-13, so some of her lines like “The press have been up my ass over this, AND down my throat. They’re meeting in the middle! IN THE MIDDLE!” couldn’t have been said. I get that. Still, just watch her on the screen, looking so …wispy and you’ll see why I’m ticked.
Shifting Annie’s lines to Teddy was either because they discovered the actress didn’t have the ability to be Annie (in that case: they knew who Annie was, they should have cast it better) OR Scott and his ilk are so protective of their precious masculinity that they had to make Teddy The. Big. Man. In. Charge. Well, guess what? He’s the freaking director of NASA. He’s ALREADY the man in charge. He doesn’t need to prove his masculinity and intelligence every time he’s on screen. He just doesn’t. You’d think, considering its 2015 that we’d have moved past the “Man got balls literally. We can’t show man balls literally. Must show man balls in other ways.” by now. Obviously we haven’t.
They changed the ending a bit. Now, I can sort of understand this, because the ending that they did was more visually appealing. (I won’t tell you specifically what they changed for the visual appeal.) I will say that Lewis goes out after Watney. Now, there’s no need for this to happen. Maybe the director felt that this would better atone Lewis in her mind? It was unnecessary. You could tell just from Jessica Chastain’s acting that leaving Watney behind still alive really screwed with Lewis. (Now, I’m not familiar with Chastain, so maybe her contract stipulated that she had a bigger role or something, who knows.) Anyways, Lewis going out instead of the other guy? Totally not needed. At all.
Oh, and, yeah, there’ s an ‘epilogue’ of sorts. They just completely make this crap up about Watney being back on earth and… and… I’m not going to spoil it. I’m not going to spoil it. I’mnotgoingtospoilitbutmygodtherewasnoneedforit. They could have ended on a much stronger note if they’d just ended shortly after the rescue, still aboard the spaceship. Now, this isn’t just me being a book-obsessed freak. My movie-companion who had not read the book also said she thought the tacked on ending was completely unnecessary and she didn’t like it at all either. So HAH!
Additional criticisms: Why couldn’t they have hired an Indian guy to, y’know, play the Indian guy? Would it have been THAT difficult? Was it SO important that you have only more well-known people in the movie? Really? Every time I heard “Vincent” instead of “Venkat”, I twitched.
Oh, and while Damon did do a very good job if I’m looking at it from the viewpoint of just enjoying the action movie… he did not nail Watney’s humor. Nope. Nu-uh. Didn’t happen. His lines were delivered in a style that almost fell flat, instead of being delivered with the smart-ass panache that they should have been.
Overall: As just ‘a movie’, The Martian was pretty good. My friend definitely enjoyed it. She even thanked me for picking it, as its not one she normally would have chosen to see on her own. As a ‘movie adaptation of a fantastic book’? They could have EASILY done so much better. Easily.
Mrgh. I’m going to pretend the movie doesn’t exist, and just continue to listen to my Audible version. Click here to buy The Martian movie now on Amazon.com