The Martian film - seen it thread. Unboxed spoilers

I’ve just seen the film. I thought it was utterly brilliant. 10 out of 10, 5 stars. It’s a gripping film that didn’t drag for a single second.

open spoilers in this post, I’ll just leave a little space in case of accidental mouseovers.




That’s enough.

Visually it was stunning. I was especially impressed with the scenes of the astronauts moving around the corridors of the spaceship in zero gravity.

It was mostly faithful to the novel. There were no big changes. A few very minor ones. A few incidents from the book were omitted.
Two very minor changes that I noticed were 1) Watney spends his free time watching Happy Days, instead of Three’s Company 2) a minor plot point in the novel was that it takes some time to use the airlock, in the film he steps through instantly. I can see the reason for the second, but the first is strange. Maybe

In the older threadI made the following predictions:

*Guessing what they’ll cut and change:

  • using the old probe to get messages in binary. Change that to direct 2-way speech.
  • Cut out a lot of discussion, have them decide on the return to Mars a lot earlier.
  • Cut out the rocket that blows up. Go straight to the second rocket that succeeds.
  • cut out the dust storm that he has to drive around. Or maybe he gets warning over his 2-way radio, rather than works it out himself. *

I was wrong on three of the four. The first three happened more or less as in the book, but as predicted the several thousand km journey passed without incident.

Other things omitted:

  • A lot of technical discussion and calculation about how things work. This is a good thing.
  • A lot of lot of Watney’s snark. This is a bad thing, and we lose some of the best lines from the book. In particular we lose Watney’s last speech about how great people are.
  • the incident where Watney fills the hab with excess … hyrogen IIRC, and has to evacuate.
  • Watney doesn’t fry his communicator, and remains in contact with NASA
  • Watney doesn’t spell out messages in rocks.

Many of those make sense, the technical discussions would bore the audience, and including the others would add 30 mins to an hour to the run time. But they made the wrong choice in omitting certain lines.

Nothing of importance was added to the plot, just a few brief scenes after Watney returned to Earth.

I liked the choice of music for the closing credits:I Will Survive. Very clever.

One last comment, the film constantly refers to *Sols *without ever once explaining the term. This could potentially confuse anyone that hasn’t read the book.

I thought it was fantastic as well.

I was happy that they had very little technical exposition. Near the end where they talk about a 42 meter/second closing rate, I kept waiting for someone to say “that’s over 90 miles per hour!” But no one did, nor (as you point out) did they explain what Sol is. Aside from the one scene with the Rich Purnell guy, they didn’t feel the need to have that “one guy” that is a stand-in for the (non-technical) audience.

I thought some stuff worked actually better in the movie than the book. I thought the running disco joke fell flat in the book. But in the movie, a handful of well-selected songs make the joke work really well.

The movie was rated PG-13, so I guess they had a limited number of fucks. Can’t blame them from toning down the snark somewhat.

With Gravity (and to a lesser extent Interstellar), it’s been a good couple of years for hard sci-fi. I hope Hollywood will continue making movies like this. Assuming The Martian does as well as it seems like it will, there’s just no excuse for the kind of inane, ridiculous sci-fi that we generally expect.

Watching Three’s Company would be unbelievable.

It was so damn good. I was so happy that they did it so well. This is what Interstellar should have been.

I thought the minor changes and condensations were done well - using the box lids on stakes instead of rocks was more visually interesting because of the high color contrast, I thought that leaving out the second/third/first hab incident was a good plan because otherwise it just starts to get too brutal for the audience to handle. I also thought that leaving out a lot of his snark was a wise choice. If he’s too bitter and foul, the audience either gets sick of him, or starts to think he’s sloppy and unintelligent, and either way, that the accidents and difficulties he suffers are partly his fault. He’s got to continually come off as a CLEVER SCIENTIST, so he can’t be too vulgar.

Actual improvements from the book were few: the ongoing disco music gag was MUCH better with actual music, but I mainly thought the “improvements” were from it being a more dynamic and visually stimulating medium. It was lovely to see people who weren’t old white men represented all over the place. The habs and rover and the Hermes were all so lovely. I want to zoom around in zero-g so damn bad now. I even more want to know how they created those zero-g scenes in the first place!

There were a few slightly sour notes. I was amused at all the people congregating at various squares to “watch” the rescue, when there’s nothing to watch, and it’s about 40 minutes too late anyway. I thought it could have been a bit clearer that he needed the freezer-burned potatoes for planting, not just to eat. I would have preferred to see the Ares 5 crew heading out for their first Mars-walk (and seeing all of Mark’s litter) rather than them taking off. My husband was gravely insulted at the idea that ANYONE employed by NASA wouldn’t know who Elrond was. (And I know that these aren’t necessarily the fault of the movie.)

It was so damn good.

The audience lost it at Sean Bean’s comments on plan Elrond.

I was glad to see the dust storm sequence left out of the movie- it would have (literally) slowed things down. I would have liked to see more of the traveling section of the book, though.

I did get really annoyed at the plan to send him to orbit in a “convertible”- they mentioned that the air was so thin that it wouldn’t really matter. Unfortunately, when he was putting the tarp on the capsule you could see that it was being blown around so much that he had trouble tying it down.

Otherwise, though- a fantastic movie, and a faithful representation of the book.

Also Europa Report, which is a lot harder than Interstellar (but I like all of these very much).

I really liked that one too, though it doesn’t act as proof that hard sci-fi can make the big bucks that Hollywood wants.

In general, I was really happy to see a “nerd” lead with so many positive qualities. He actually solved problems with his head and didn’t bounce from near-miss to near-miss. He didn’t have “James Bond” level charm/social skills, but neither was he socially inept like the characters on The Big Bang Theory. He was obviously a valued member of the crew and not some outcast.

Another (very) mild annoyance: the book talks a lot about the fancy super-fabric that they use for the hab and other things. IIRC, it’s some kind of carbon-fiber weave. But in the movie it basically looks like cheap polyethylene sheet.

Yeah, that bugged me, too. I wouldn’t have been able to sleep in that hab with that kind of patch job- I’d be too afraid that it would tear. Sure sounded like it would.

I’m guessing this was because they were able to get a licensing agreement for Happy Days, and not for Three’s Company.

It also emphasizes the Fonzie “Ayyyyyy” joke when his picture is taken.

I really liked the movie, but the things I didn’t like:

The removable of the “fucks”. Really, we’re so puritan that the opening line “I’m pretty much fucked” can’t be shown. One of the funniest sequences in the book can’t be shown.

Watch your language.
Look! A pair of boobs! -> (.Y.)

At the end, Watney wants to be Iron Man and everyone agrees that it’s a stupid idea. But then he does it.

I don’t think it’s so much puritanism as an artifact of a quantized rating system. You’re PG-13 until you exceed some threshold of violence/nudity/profanity/etc., and then you’re R. R films don’t do as well, so there’s a huge motivation to keep it under the PG-13 threshold. Here, it meant they got something like three “fucks” to spread around.

Just saw it, and loved it. I read the book years ago while it was still self-published and it really captured the spirit of the book (as I remember it, anyway).

One of my all-time favorite movies, I think. Great performances all around.

Just got back and I’m pumped. Thought it captured the spirit of the book about as well as any movie adaptation could hope to do. I’m sure once I come down from it, I’ll see some flaws, but right now I could go back and see it again.

Self published?
Surely you jest.
It is difficult to believe that no publisher would want it.

And they showed him freaking out right after patching the hole, as a storm whipped at it. A nice moment of emotion from Whatney. But I thought the actual hab material was sturdy material and he just had extra amounts of the thin poly sheeting he used to section off the potato area and then patch the hole.

The changes from the book are small and I thought necessary for a movie. They completely resisted the temptation to add extra storylines. Great movie, even knowing the storyline I was tense through many of the sequences.

And yet it’s true. It was eventually picked up, of course, but only after becoming a hit via Amazon’s self-publishing system. And before that, just posted free on the web.

I just saw it and loved it. (Note that I haven’t read the book.) One minor (and possibly stupid) nitpick about the disco music; in digital form, there would be no weight restriction on the number of songs they carried. (And apparently they had old episodes of Happy Days and Zork II stored on their hard drives.)

BTW, what went wrong to cause the explosion in the airlock?

You can see a small hole that opened up in the fabric. Maybe a latent construction defect; maybe something poked it in a windstorm; maybe the airlock just wasn’t supposed to go through that many cycles. At any rate, it ripped open fully once the airlock started pressurizing. 12 psi times several thousand square inches equals a big force and pushed the outer piece away at high velocity.

Just got back from the movie. I loved it! I was a little worried from some of the trailers - it looked like they were going to insert a wife and kid for Watney to moon over, but they didn’t.

If I were to quibble about anything, it would be that they rushed through his epic journey to Ares 4. Traveling thousands of kilometers across Mars could be an epic movie of it’s own, but the movie made it seem anti-climactic. But that’s a nitpick, as the movie overall was wonderful.

I loved that they kept ‘Rich Purnell is a steely-eyed missile man.’

The book has some foreshadowing of this failure (dating back to its fabrication on Earth) that I felt the movie should have kept for the sake of suspense. AL 102 was the designation of this particular sheet of hab canvas. From the novel:
AL102 shuddered in the brutal storm. Withstanding forces far greater than it was designed for, it rippled violently against the airlock seal-strip. Other sections of canvas undulated along their seal-strips together, acting as a single sheet, but AL102 had no such luxury. The airlock barely moved, leaving AL102 to take the full force of the tempest.

The layers of plastic, constantly bending, heated the resin from pure friction. The new, more yielding environment allowed the carbon fibers to separate.

AL102 stretched.

Not much. Only four millimeters. But the carbon fibers, usually 500 microns apart, now had a gap eight times that width in their midst.

After the storm abated, the lone remaining astronaut performed a full inspection of the Hab. But he didn’t notice anything amiss. The weak part of canvas was concealed by a seal-strip.

Designed for a mission of thirty-one sols, AL102 continued well past its planned expiration. Sol after sol went by, with the lone astronaut traveling in and out of the Hab almost daily. Airlock 1 was closest to the rover charging station, so the astronaut preferred it to the other two.

When pressurized, the airlock expanded slightly; when depressurized, it shrunk. Every time the astronaut used the airlock, the strain on AL102 relaxed, then tightened anew.

Pulling, stressing, weakening, stretching…