THE MARTIAN MOVIE IS OUT!
Conor and I are on our way to see it, at the Williamsburg Cinema, later today, so before I go see the movie, I wanted to reflect on the book.
On our way to see Lana Del Rey at the Bell Centre this summer in Montreal, we listened to The Martian on audiobook.
Usually, car rides for Conor and I are a mix of napping, me asking if I can take a turn driving, me being told no, listening to 1010 Wins (ugh) until the last possible moment, and loudly debating things for no reason.
Instead we were literally silent unless we were pausing the book to talk about how good the book was and then hitting play again. For like 13 hours we were silent.
The premise of The Martian is that a man, apparently dead to the rest of his crew, is left on Mars in an abrupt emergency evacuation on a follow up manned mission. He is, of course, not dead, and has no means to speak of, to communicate with Earth.
I was just utterly spellbound by this story. The science was accessible, and interesting, and the humor and drama and anxiety was all so intense and constantly shifting; the odds of success or failure swung wildly throughout the book so much so that I couldn't wait to finish it.
So I was SO excited to find out basically the entire cast of Interstellar would be in The Martian movie.
(Interstellar was just fantastic.)
I cannot wait to see this movie. SO. Flipping. Excited.
The movie was incredible.
There are HUGE differences in tone, and for time purposes (because I think I'm the only person on Earth who would have watched a 5 hour long Martian movie) they had to take out some of my favorite twists that threaten Watney's survival, but all in all the movie was beautiful, and the scenery was just insane.
I have no idea where they filmed, but it looked like Mars to me. Matt Damon, who I usually don't love as lead, KILLED IT. What a great part. Again, tone changes made Watney a little bit less sarcastic than I would have liked. One of my favorite things about the book was that Watney was just a snarky douche for the entire story, even as things become more and more difficult. Even some of his darkest moments are peppered with retrospective humor and the logs he makes on his own are a nice, personal contrast with the seriousness of NASA and JPL's scenes. So I do still highly recommend reading the book.
Another difference between the (audio)book versus the film was diversity. They definitely captured the races of MOST of the characters, but they downplayed some of the hugely diverse character descriptions. Mindy Park was white, when Park is a very common Korean last name. Venkat Kapur, whose character was Hindu and who in the book mentions believing in hundreds of gods, was altered slightly to be half-Hindu and half-Baptist. I did appreciate, however, that the scenes in China at the Chinese National Space Administration were in Chinese. The sequences in the book where Venkat and Teddy visit China were hugely descriptive of the security and internationality measures taken, and I think are a great way to introduce to people who aren't for some reason fascinated with the complex communication agreements between different countries' space programs to the idea of working with other nations to further space travel.
In fact, one of my favorite things about this book and movie release is that it comes on the heels of so much news from REAL NASA about REAL Mars. Having found water, and evidence of ancient water, on Mars, is incredible. In the last three generations we've gone from landing a man on the moon for the first time, to discovering the essentials for life on another PLANET.
IMAGINE what can happen between now and the time of our children.