The Martian: Review
















   I finally watched The Martian. 
   
   Actually, I watched in on January 30th, and then forgot that I was going to post about it. It has been out long enough that I shall not be particularly careful about spoilers, so if you haven’t seen it yet, beware.
   
   I did read the book first, since I am a firm believer in such things. Books, as originals, should never be read with cinematic images clouding one’s mind. To begin with, the book was quite good. The writing was nothing special, but the plot, while simple, was quite interesting. The main thing that endeared me to the book was how much work was obviously put into it. The depth of research and careful plotting out of scientific data was quite amazing. 
   
   The writer, I think, was more interested in the possibilities he suggested and the way problems were solved, than with the story itself. Getting Mark Watney home was a framework to support what the author was really interested in: the science of the thing.
   

   I am also favorably inclined towards books that are not at all friendly to movies. And long dialogues about math and science, in journalistic form, are decidedly not friendly to film-makers.
   

   Mark Watney is a fairly shallow character. Flippant and witty, sarcastic and profane. The one respect in which I preferred the movie (a rare thing for me) was the depth that Matt Damon added to the character. When he realizes in the book that he is actually going home, he remains witty and sarcastic. In the movie, he bursts into tears. I rather liked that. It seemed like a more authentic reaction to realizing that you weren’t going to die alone on a desolate planet; that you were going to see your friends and family again. 
I think it's safe to say Matt Damon has an ugly cry, but its much more realistic that way. It's hard to feel sympathetic towards people who look better when they are crying.

   
   Other than that though, the movie was a movie, and therefore left a lot unexplained, and added ridiculousness for cinematic effect.
   

   The book did jokingly mention that Watney could poke a hole in his suit and fly around like Iron Man, but in the movie, they actually did it, and it was terrible. It is very difficult to show math being done in a film and explain various scientific theories and how they would work, and therefore just watching the movie will leave you very confused as to how he did half the stuff, but all in all, I think it did a pretty good job.

   I must warn that the book is quite profane, whereas the movie is not. But one must consider that clean mouthed men trapped alone on mars facing certain death, would be laughed at and regarded much like a cartoon character spouting “#%@#!#&” at the world. It is one of the few realistic ways to convey certain emotions in print, whereas in a movie you can see someone’s face, and it’s not quite as necessary.

   I recommend the movie, the book was better, you should possess yourself of both to get the full experience of the actual story, and Matt Damon’s acting.

   
   But never forget, this is just Jason Bourne’s latest disguise.
He's so young!

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