Book to Movie: The Martian

Tuesday night Jim and I went to see the movie adaptation of The Martian. Since I had just re-read the book, it was fresh in my mind. This can be a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to seeing the movie version of a book. In this case, I think it was a bad thing.

I had pretty low expectations going into this movie. The book had a unique story telling format that would be hard to translate on screen. And yet, I was still disappointed.

The Good

I was nervous about Matt Damon playing Mark Watney because he wasn’t at all what I imagined when I listened to the book. But he was actually really good. He captured Mark’s humor perfectly.

The folks at NASA and the rest of the Ares 3 crew were portrayed well. I had a few minor complaints there, but nothing worth getting into. The casting was good.

The movie covers almost all of the highlights of the book’s plot as well. They did tweak the ending, which I didn’t especially love, but the plot and pacing was good enough.

The Bad

I understand that they had to fill in the gaps between log entries since the movie has to show more of a continuous timeline. But one of the great things about Mark in the book is his optimism. He keeps things light with his humor, and he never despairs. There was too much despair in this movie.

And too much counting food rations. They made this into a movie about NASA trying to bring Mark home, instead of a story about Mark surviving on Mars. I should have guessed that this would happen based on the movie poster.

The Ugly

They removed all of the science and replaced it with duct tape and plastic. Plastic! In space. Would it have been that hard to simulate HAB canvas?


3 Stars. It was a good movie. But it is a GREAT book.

I will note that Jim really loved the movie, and he’s listened to the book several times as well.

Have you seen it? What did you think? Had you read the book first? If not, will you read the book after seeing the movie?

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  1. I'm going to the movie today at 1 and I'm dragging my husband along. He doesn't think he will like it, but since he didn't read the book, I think he will like it. I know the book will win this contest, but I still want to see it!

    1. Let me know what you think if you do see it. I should have known they would change it slightly. I guess they had to with the movie format. It's just sad because they made it like every other space rescue movie, and the book was so unique.

    2. I watched it this weekend. I liked it a lot. But yeah some of the jokes really didn't land. Not sure if it's Damon's lack of comedic timing, the fact that they moved some of them around, or the the way they played up the drama. But I was still super anxious at the end and I totally cried.

    1. They definitely do have duct tape and plastic, but they simplified the complex science of the book down to those two items. The science of the book was one of my favorite elements.

      My husband didn't agree about the despair either. Oh well. We all have our own expectations and interpretations, right?

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