The Martian Movie (A Quick Review)

The MartianMost people who follow me on Twitter or Facebook (or know me in meatspace) are familiar with my excitement regarding, “The Martian” book and movie. I still think it’s my favorite book of all time. And that’s saying something. So how did the movie compare? Surprisingly well, and not surprisingly, it was less awesome than the book.

The casting was probably the best part of the movie adaptation. Matt Damon is an incredible actor, and his personality is perfect for the main character. The other characters are well cast too, but Damon really did Mark Watney (the main character) justice. The science, which was extremely accurate in the book, was a bit on the loosey-goosey side in the movie. This was normally not a big deal, but at least one scene left me slack-jawed and eye-rolling.

Even though the movie was 2 hours and 21 minutes long, there was a LOT left out. Like, a lot lot. Lot.

Really, a lot. 🙂 I’m actually waiting to hear from folks who haven’t read the book to know if the movie had continuity. For me, the parts left out were automatically filled in mentally. Thankfully, the parts that were in the movie were very close to the book. I hope the movie makes sense to folks who didn’t read the book. I also hope there’s enough in the movie to make people fall in love with the story.

There were actually a few of the minor changes that I preferred over the book. Without adding spoilers, the ketchup scene and the ending space scene were awesome differences from the book. Will the changes, the focus on action over science, and the incredible acting make The Martian as popular as I hope? Probably not. It will be awesome if I’m wrong, but I worry it won’t inspire the passion for space exploration that I imagine. I’m not sure anything can quite inspire the passion we had in the 60s, but gosh I hope something does!

Lastly, two things: the 3D is very subtle and quite well done. If you don’t see it in 3D, you’re not missing anything important, but at the same time, the 3D does a good job of immersing you into the world as opposed to being gimmicky. Also, while the book has profanity out the wazoo, the movie is PG-13, and has very limited swearing. There are 2 F-bombs, which I think is the legal limit for PG-13 rating. There are some other cuss words, but it’s not obnoxious.

tl;dr version: GO SEE THIS MOVIE AND READ THIS BOOK. (but not at the same time)

1 thought on “The Martian Movie (A Quick Review)”

  1. HSG and I saw it last week. We both enjoyed it, but I was bugged by how much the movie JPL looks nothing like the real JPL. And yes, movies do that all the time and yes, it’s in the future, but it took us at least 20 years to get a frickin’ parking garage. I don’t see a major lab-wide overhaul happening in the next 20 years.

    HSG read the book and I haven’t yet (even though he read it on my tablet), so he’s aware of what was cut out, mainly ALL of the life-threatening events on the way to the Schiaparelli crater. That did bug him a bit, but not as much as the “That’s not JPL!” thing bugged me. But I’m something of a stickler…

    As for inspiring passion for space exploration, I think you may be wrong, if this past weekend’s JPL Open House is any indication. While the overall numbers were similar to what we had last year, thousands of people lined up to get in, with some parking over a mile away and walking in, once the 2,000+ available parking spaces on-lab were filled. While working the event was pretty crazy, I’m still thrilled that we got such a positive response.

    (If anything went wrong, though, we jokingly blamed it all on Matt Damon.)


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