Movie: The Martian

October 09, 2015



WHAT'S IT ABOUT: Mark Watney, an astronaut, is accidentally left on Mars after a fierce storm. He tries to survive the best he can, tackling problems like air, food, water supply, as well as fixing damaged spacecraft. He also does lots of math, grows potatoes on Martian soil (guess where the fertiliser comes from), and blows up shizz in the lab.

Can he survive on Mars alone, and is he gonna come back home to Earth? (Rhetoric question, obviously.)

Shitstorm.
P.S. Contrary to what the title suggests, there are no aliens in this flick. D'awwww.

WHO'S ACTING



Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, a creative and resourceful astronaut/botanist. In both the book and the film, he demonstrates humour even in high pressure, intense situations.



Many people have loved book Watney's ability to stay cool under pressure, and the director brings this to the film. I found Watney funnier in the book though. More on that later.

Matt Damon has acted in loads of films, including the Bourne Series, Interstellar etc. His performance in The Martian has also garnered some funny memes.



Matt Damon is cool as Watney, but I think Chris Pratt would have been very lovable too. Hehe.

*sneaks chris pratt gifs into post*

Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy
Chris Pratt in Jurassic World
Not such a bad idea, right? Who's with me? ;)

Sean Bean aka Ned Stark from Game of Thrones
He also plays Boromir in LOTR. I'm sure you recognise him.


Lolol.
Sebastian Stan aka "Bucky" from Captain America


Couldn't find a decent Martian pic, so here's one from Captain Am.
Stan also plays Carter from Gossip Girl. He doesn't get much air time here, but oh well? I'm looking forward to the next Marvel installment too!

Michael Peña as Martinez




You may recognise him from Ant-Man! He was so funny. (Click to read my post on Ant-Man)



Some of the Crew:



LIKE:

I'm loving the positive messages sent by the movie. Actually, it's thanks to Andy Weir who wrote the story, casting a female astronaut, Commander Lewis, to be the commander of the Ares 3 mission.


Stuff like that is very important. This is what they mean by sending positive encouragement to women through the media.

This issue also reminds me of how Star Trek made TV history by having what's known as the TV's first interracial kiss.

Media has such a big, pervasive influence on society, whether directors know the true impact/scale of it or not. Seemingly harmless decisions about casting, colour, gender, and basically portrayals of certain groups of people can change, or reinforce existing prejudices in society etc. (Sociology mode: activated). Film/books/media can be said to be just a reflection of what society is thinking, I would say.

On that note, I love that The Martian is getting people excited about outer space, about NASA, about science. It's great. I think public interest has waned significantly over the decades, especially if you compare the enthusiasm from the Star Wars, Star Trek era. Space was such a big thing then. (Which is also why I liked Tomorrowland so much as well.)

I also liked the design of the astronaut suit. I didn't expect it to look so sleek. Guess we're all used to imagining them as bulky ones. I've just been to the Hong Kong Science Museum this June so the nerd in me really enjoys this movie and book too. I also loved the scenes where they float around in Hermes.

Easier to walk in, eh?

The humour. Not everything from the book was brought over, but I guess it was sufficient?
"Eat that, Neil Armstrong!"

The beautiful red scapes of Mars! I also love how the missions/NASA stuff are always named after Greek/Roman gods.

Lastly, I loved the idea/scenes of rival countries putting their heads and hands together to save a human. It's a truly a story of the human spirit.

I mean, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. Spending tons of money, politics, science, just to save ONE GUY stuck in outer space? Rationally, it makes no sense. It's a waste of resources no matter how you look at it, but... yes. the endurance of the human spirit. Always makes a good story.

(Yeah, guess who teared at the moving parts where they shot 'live screenings' around the world?  The whole world is rooting for you indeed. I think The Martian is a lot about having hope and never giving up too.)


HMM? What I didn't dig so much:

I have always thought that Mindy Park was a Korean in the book?

Okay, someone has pointed out this 'white-washing' issue in this film as well: Asian-American group accuses The Martian of “white-washing” key roles

I'm waiting for groups to start criticising the recent Peter Pan movie, Pan, because Tiger Lily is so incredibly white in there. Whut.

Oh. It already started: Mara on 'Pan' casting: 'I felt really bad'

Also, some important-ish details that I thought were not very obvious if you did not read the book; 

1. In exchange for the Taiyang Shen probe, the Chinese get to send a man to Mars.

2. Mindy Park does not appreciate being demoted to a Watney stalker all the time. She has a masters degree in mechanical engineering, y'all. Watney also gets a CNN segment all to himself. LOL.

3.Watney doesn't bathe for a veryyyyy long time in the book. The issue is dealt with differently in the film, but I thought it was great (and useful) that they let him shower in the Hab, and how they eventually used the scene to show how skinny and gaunt he was getting.

4. Watney creates a very comfortable 'bedroom' for himself while travelling on the rover. It's a funny scene in the book.

5. He doesn't complain about the lack of caffeine pills? Haha. I think Watney complains a lot about the disco issue in the book a lot, but in (book) reality, he also complains about ten thousand other things. By only focusing on the disco matter so much, there's a risk that audiences may get tired of the same running joke easily.

6. Where's the mini tantrum he throws? Though Watney is quite composed in the book, he also shows natural, nuanced emotions. In the movie, the only time he's visibly freaking out is probably the last few scenes. Mmm. Most of the time he just seems very detached.

7. The book is largely composed of Watney's log, and he is very self-deprecating in it. Most of the humour derives from this, and in the movie he doesn't seem to talk/explain enough about what's he is doing. In other words, Watney on screen isn't as geeky and lovable, nor does he feel as genius/resourceful as in the book. In the book we get that Watney is truly on his own on the planet, and that he really needs to work shit out so that he can live. The movie, although spanning 2 hours, couldn't preserve this essence or bring this across so well, in my opinion.

9. More Vogel, please. I liked how international the team was.

Yeah yeah, so this kinda became a 'the book did this better' kind of review. Can't help it *shrug* Must complain because the book was wait for it...better.

I only need two shirts in my judgy life: The Book Was Better, and the IDGAF shirt. Both in black, please.

(You know, people do this because they want to protect the integrity of the original character from the book. Look what happened to Movie Ginny vs Book Ginny in Harry Potter. Things like that can piss people off a lot. Watney is very funny and talks to himself a lot in the book. He cracks a joke whenever he can. Maybe it keeps him sane. He even had a That's What She Said joke while communicating with the people on Earth. He chooses 'Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees as his theme song. I felt that the movie did not capture his ingenuity, nor his 'aha!' moments enough.) tl;dr:  read the damn book please.

I think I'm just mostly upset that that many aspects of Watney did not translate well on screen. But everything else was pretty great.

MORE ABOUT THE MARTIAN
A conversation with Andy Weir, the author of The Martian (taken from the book).

Q: Explain how the science in The Martian is true to life.

A. The basic structure of the Mars program in the book is very similar to a plan called Mars Direct (though I made changes here and there.) It's the most likely way that we will have our first Mars mission in real life. All the facts about Mars are accurate, as well as the physics of space travel the story presents. I even calculated the various orbital paths involved in the story, which required me to write my own software to track constant-thrust trajectories.

Q: Your original, self-published version of The Martian became a phenomenon online. Were you expecting the overwhelming positive reception the book received?

A: I had no idea it was going to do so well. The story had been available for free on my website for months, and I assumed anyone who wanted to read it had already read it. Someone requested for a Kindle version because it was easier to download, so I went ahead and did it, setting the price to the minimum Amazon would allow. As it sold more and more copies I just watched in awe.

Q: Film rights to The Martian were were sold to writer-producer Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs Smth, Sherlock Holmes, X-Men: First Class). What was your first reaction?

A: Of course I'm thrilled to have a movie in the works. The movie deal and print publishing deal came within a week of each other, so I was a little shell-shocked. I actually worried that it could be an elaborate scam.

Q: Star Wars of Star Trek?

A: Doctor Who.

Excerpt from "An Essay from Andy Weir: How Science Made Me a Writer"

In those months since I first started putting chapters up online, I’ve received fan emails from astronauts, people in Mission Control, nuclear submarine technicians, chemists, physicists, geologists and folks in pretty much every other scientific discipline. All of them had nice things to say about the book’s technical accuracy, though some of them also sent formal proofs detailing where I’d gone wrong. I corrected those problems (mostly) in the final edition that went to print.

And a funny tweet from Andy's twitter:



SO? TL;DR
I thought the movie was a great adaption of the book. Props for beautiful scenes of Mars, but I think we could have spent more screen time with Watney, explore his loneliness and incredible smarts, rather than on politics and drama back on Earth. The funny parts... didn't across extremely well. Kind of a waste. 

I felt that the sciencey/geeky parts that really made The Martian book what it was, so by cutting it out or watering it down for mass audiences may have diluted the original awesomeness of the plot. Oh well, then.

I thought that the director and crew were mostly thoughtful and careful about what to include or exclude in the film. Sadly this means a little less development for Watney but it's okay, nothing too huge or drastic enough for people for gripe about.

As another reviewer said, The Martian (film) is enjoyable, but even more so if you read the book first. I definitely recommend that! I hope you enjoy this piece of science fiction, it's funny and enjoyable.

For those of you who already caught the movie, here's an extra deleted scene!

DELETED SCENE: Ares 3 Archive: Chem Cam : https://youtu.be/bTRy9etXnfs

What did you like/dislike about the film? Leave yo comments down below:

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2 comments

  1. I haven't read the book yet. Time to find the book.

    Anyway, I like the visuals of the Mars and sound effects in the movie. Always got attracted to space themed movies: Armageddon, Apollo 13, Gravity, Interstellar. I must say that this movie is my favorite among them. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey! Yes, I love the visuals too- I wonder how they did them. Gonna go hunt for some behind-the-scenes videos heh. Wish it had a better movie soundtrack though!

      Those are great movies. I can't believe I didn't catch Gravity in cinemas, now I definitely have to go watch it.

      Thanks for the message and I hope you'll enjoy reading the book too! :)

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