So I just finished the novel ‘The Martian’ and then immediately after, went to see the new film adaption. It is one of those stories that make me grow very very agitated when somebody complains about it. Straight after seeing the films I heard comments from people I know saying it was ‘predictable’ or ‘the script could have been better.’ I just DISAGREE. Maybe it’s just because I get annoyed when somebody criticises something I like. But also it’s because I know IT’S JUST VERY GOOD.
So let’s break it down. Mark Watney (a bloody brilliant character in my opinion) is part of NASA’s third trip to Mars. His crew is caught in a terrible storm which means they have to abandon their entire mission and leave the planet. Mark gets hit by a loose satellite (I think its a satellite) and the crew think they have lost him to the crazy temptress that is Mars. They leave him. Turns out he is indeed alive, and now stranded on Mars with not enough food, or water and no way to contact anybody living.
SCIENCE! This book has been acclaimed for the accuracy of the science used within it. Something that viewer’s have to have nowadays in science fiction is believability!
‘Andy Weir, the son of a particle physicist, has a background in computer science. He began writing the book in 2009, researching related material so that it would be as realistic as possible and based on existing technology. Weir studied orbital mechanics, astronomy, and the history of manned spaceflight. He said he knows the exact date of each day in the book.’
Yes, I took that from Wikipedia. But it’s great. Andy was one dedicated author! NASA invited him to tour the Johnson Space Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory upon publication of the book, and when Ridley Scott began production of the film, Weir contacted NASA about their potential involvement. Key NASA staff members that joined the partnership were James L. Green, the Director of the Planetary Science Division and Dave Lavery, the Program Executive for Solar System Exploration.
NASA answered hundreds of questions on a weekly basis, they sent hundreds of photos of Mars and the control centres for the production team and have timed marketing with the theatrical release. It is said that NASA has had more involvement with The Martian than any other film, as it also serves as a plug for a manned mission to Mars. I just think that is so cool. I have always loved NASA, not that I dare to comprehend most of what is involved in anything space related. I am definitely one of those people who are endlessly fascinated by anything SPACE. But when I let my brain grasp too far, I feel it physically turn to moosh.
Now can I also just compliment the cast? Being a stranded astronaut on Mars and the sole protagonist, Matt Damon was alone for most of the film. However there were many supporting actors! Jessica Chastain, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan and Aksel Hannie play Watney’s crew: Lewis, Martinez, Johanssen, Beck and Vogel. They spend their time in the ship returning to Earth. Then there’s the crew at NASA who are busting their asses to get their astronaut back home; Kristen Wiig- as Annie Montrose: NASA spokesperson, Jeff Daniels- as Teddy Sanders: head of NASA, Sean Bean- as Mitch Henderson: mission director, Chiwetel Ejiofor- as Vincent Kapoor: mission director, Benedict Wong- as Bruce Ng: director of JPL, Mackenzie Davis- as Mindy Park: satellite planner in mission control and then there’s Donald Glover (aka Gambino) as Rich Purnell: astronomer.
I was very happy with the casting. As I read the book after I had seen the trailer for the film, Matt Damon was already Mark Watney in my mind. Regardless, I think I would have believed he was a perfect Watney. Watney is the genius, easy to love guy that never takes anything quite too seriously. Instead of having a meltdown at the prospect of being entirely alone on an empty and desolate planet, Watney decides I am not going to die here. With that decision, he remains himself, the botanist/engineer that can get himself out of any situation. I read a review that said it was not believable because Watney cracked a joke at every turn, making himself seem like a character stitched out of cheesy one liners. I wholeheartedly disagree because that is just Watney’s character- the loveable idiot who keeps it light. He keeps himself sane because he can remain himself. I’m sure that inside, he is absolutely fucking terrified most of the time. But he doesn’t let it kill him.
One of my favourite parts of the book is this line which shows how hilarious Watney is, even when he is faced with almost certain death. The script changed the line of course, but I was still happy with the adaption. It conveys the humour just the same, and although I think the book is funnier, perhaps it would not have come across the same.
Back to the rest of the cast, aside from being far more attractive than reality would have it, the NASA crew were just great. I feel like they each conveyed their characters in a pretty fine way. I had Johanssen down in my imagination, but had not seen the rest of the cast as their characters properly. Apart from only brushing over Johanssen and Beck’s blossoming relationship, I was happy that the film referenced it at all. I was excited by the presence of Sebastian Stan, because like many many others, my eyes and ovaries just bloody love him, and I hadn’t realised that he was in the film at all!
I also fell completely in love with Mackenzie Davis as Mindy. She is so bloody gorgeous and I loved Mindy’s character, somebody so low on the NASA food chain who just gets swept up to play with all the big fish. Also, I hadn’t realised GAMBINO was in it! And I imagined Rich Purnell as an overweight older male, so I found this quite humorous. I loved Glover’s portrayal.
(Also I just have to mention… LOOK AT MARA’S DRESS! IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I NEED IT. Sorry.)
So basically- I loved the book, and I loved the adaption. I liked the book better, as one usually does, because I just think it works better as a book although the ways they pulled it off in the film I very much applaud. Of course, there are a few things left out and a few things added, but I was impressed by how much of the story is straight out of the original. Yay! I recommend that one reads the book first, but if you haven’t already and just want to see Matt Damon and his beautiful body- I mean- acting skills, in a cinema, then I will forgive you. But as is my philosophy with everything, one is always more invested when they read the book first!
Go and see/read/feast your eyes on the ‘surely a whole team of scientists can’t all be that good looking that’s it I CAN’T BELIEVE ANY OF IT NOW,’ the beautiful science, the emotional suspense and humour of the The Martian.
The Martian. BOOK: Andy Weir, 2011. FILM: Ridley Scott, 2015.