The Martian

A couple months ago, right before this movie was released, I made it a priority to read the book. And I did it!  In like a week!  It was really quick for me. I’m always tired and have trouble staying focused on a book. That’s why there are at least two dozen books sitting on my shelf right now waiting to be read. And also why it took me a year to read 11/22/63. What a horrible ending that book had. Left me so unsatisfied. And now it’s going to be a mini-series!  But of course I don’t have Hulu. I already told my friend Greg I’m coming over those days to watch it. He’s made plans to mow the lawn.

Where was I?  The Martian!  Yes!  Okay so after reading the book, I was concerned that the movie would take too many liberties and make it too Hollywood. There’s a lot of science in the book. I didn’t think it would translate very well to the big screen. Also, the character in the book, Mark Watney, is alone on Mars. A lot. For a really long time. Sort of like Castaway. But without a dumb volleyball. But the movie was really well done. It stayed as true to the story as was possible. They even through in some science!!

Matt Damon is Mark Watney. After a storm on Mars, the mission he and five other astronauts were halfway through completing is aborted. During the storm, Watney is knocked out of sight from the other astronauts, and presumed dead. The ship takes off without him, and he needs to figure out how to survive for the next few years until NASA can send another mission to come get him.

There were some problems with it.  First, my friend Ryan reads everything. And always tells me the book is better than the movie EVERY. F*CKING. TIME. It’s annoying. So don’t tell him I said this. But the book was so much better. It was so much funnier. They cut out most of the good parts of Watney’s video diaries.  They also cut out what I thought was a pretty significant part of the end of the book.  Apparently, it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I told my wife what was cut out, and she didn’t care in the slightest that she missed this part.

I also thought the characters from NASA were much better written than they were portrayed in the movie.  What was the point of having a megastar like Kristen Wiig (yes.  MEGASTAR) in this movie to have her be barely a background piece?  And the fact that Vincent Kapoor, played very well by Chiwetel Ejiofor was actually a character of Indian decent in the movie really bugged me.  As it did Aziz Ansari.  I’m not trying to start anything, I’m not smart enough for that.  But Aziz is right, and they could have found someone to play the role the way it was intended.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with the movie.  Although I think this whole, read the book thing first sucks.  I knew what was coming the whole time.  That blows.  And the parts I really liked in the book didn’t go over as well in the movie as they did in my head, like a great Iron Man joke that I thought was really funny.  But no one else in the theater did.  I think for 2.5 hours of running time, they could have found a little more time to get more out of the book, but what they did get out of it was really great.  Not as great in the theater as I would have hoped.  But I’m glad I saw it after spending all that time reading the book.  Hey a week for me is considered “all that time!”

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