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The Martian (2015)

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Directed by Ridley Scott with screenplay by Drew Goddard, based on the 2011 novel The Martian by Andy Weir. Stars Matt Damon, with Jessica Chastain, Michael Peña, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, and Donald Glover in supporting roles.

 

The film is scheduled to be released on October 2, 2015 in 3D and 2D.

 

Please use spoiler tags for climactic book events. Thank you.

 

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No, Murph, don't go rescue him, it's a trick!  The same one your dad fell for!

 

Having finished the book, which was quite well-done, I think it's a very good template for a film, too.

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No, Murph, don't go rescue him, it's a trick!  The same one your dad fell for!

 

Ha! Glad I wasn't the only one who saw the trailer and thought it was a prequel to Interstellar. I do hope that it's a better movie than that very pretty but very jumbled nonsensical mess.

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I am really looking forward to this-I devoured the book in one (admittedly very rainy) day. It was fascinating. I thought the ending was sort of rushed and jumbled IMHO so hopefully they will fix that and make it clearer.

It's funny that when I saw that Kristen Wiig was in it, I knew exactly which character she was playing.

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Since I have a deep and enduring crush on Dr Tyson and would prefer not to imagine a world without him in it, I have no problem with him still going strong at 77!

 

The book I read in one sitting - it's really good, fast-paced stuff and the central character is likeable and ingenius without ever crossing the line into unbelievability.  Hope the movie can do it justice - with Damon in the central role, I'm hopeful.

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New clip! The cast for this movie is incredible this scene alone has Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean and Donald Glover. Seeing Donald like this makes me wish they made Troy in Community smarter because he's still funny.

Edited by VCRTracking

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YES THEY

KEPT THE CHINESE!

!!!!

I would have been shocked if they hadn't. That angle should guarantee their market entry.

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Interested to hear if anyone has seen this film (it's been released early in places) and their thoughts. I don't think I've been this hyped for a movie in a long time and I can't wait to see it!

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I just saw this. It was a great movie, and stayed pretty true to the spirit of the book.  I thought it was better than Gravity and much better than Interstellar (fuck your maudlin love being a tangible force pseudoscience bullshit!)  The big difference is in the end, where

instead of the explosive decompression assisted deceleration going off without a hitch Watney pokes a hole in his suit for thrust and Lewis catches him in a tethered Manned Manuvering Unit.  And yeah, Jessica Chastain looked like a total badass doing that.

 

The cast was great, with my favorite "settings" being with Watney on Mars and the crew of the Hermes (Chastain and Pena are fantastic).  Chastain's Lewis is such a powerhouse character.  She's personally reserved and she doesn't shout, but you can absolutely see why her crew has the utmost respect for and faith in her.  

 

Surprisingly I liked Mindy Park, despite having doubts about her over an apparently Korean character being cast with some random white chick. She's played a lot like Felicity from Arrow before the writing went to shit and she morphed into hot CW female lead #215.

 

Things I didn't like:

 

Kristen Wiig as Annie Montrose was hit and miss. She gets some good bits, especially when she gets to be snarky or curse, but for large stretches she is just a Worried Teary Eyed Female to contrast with the senior dudes at NASA. All of the Mission Control cheering scenes (there are at least 3 or 4 of them) aren't necessary, and most should have been cut. It's pretty weird contrasting the professionalism of the Hermes crew (who still get to have fun and joke around) with the unprofessionalism of Johnson Mission Control.  Lastly, in this age of real time 24-hour media and social media I doubt we would have people literally standing around in Times Square or outside Johnson Space Center waiting for real time news on the fate of an astronaut.  Still, these are minor flaws in a movie that was otherwise pretty damn good.

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I did think some of the scenes were repetitive and could have been trimmed, but otherwise, it was a fun 3-d ride. (I didn't ride the book so I can't comment on how faithful it is.)

Edited by methodwriter85

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Just saw this and thoroughly enjoyed it. Way better than Gravity.

Matt gave a great performance, and I love Jeff Daniels in anything.

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I thought it was quite good, and a very effective adaptation of the book.  Obviously the book had way more incident (I was surprised they pretty much skipped over the journey to the Ares IV launch vehicle entirely), but what they chose to depict worked really well.  The change to the climax to amp it up a bit more, in terms of giving the biggest actors more to do, I thought also worked, and that's often a place where movie adaptations can slip up.

 

The only thing that could have improved the movie:  in the final montage with the Ares V, when we cut to Sean Bean on the golf course, he is struck on the back of the head by an errant golf ball, and dies.

Edited by SeanC
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I'm not especially happy with Damon's recent comments, but I want to admire and respect the guy, and damn if he isn't impressive in this role. Jeff Daniels makes an awesome grouch of a boss.

 

The cast is strong across the board, and Michael Peña and Jessica Chastain, singled out upthread, are both fantastic. The script is funny, smart and emotionally satisfying, without drifting into sentimentality.

 

Could it be that Ridley Scott is discovering that he has some use for humanity after all? This is certainly the most humane of his movies that I know -- though how much of that is Drew Goddard's work and how much the novelist's, I can't tell.

 

I really liked the "Science, yay!" aspect of the story, particularly in a time where rationality sometimes seems undervalued. (The theoretical physics in Interstellar seemed at best head-twisty and at worst plot-driven inanity to me.) 

Edited by Sandman
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I thought it was a really good adaptation of the book, but I have one question.  Genuinely curious -- would the sky look blue as seen from the surface of Mars?

 

A million times better than Interstellar (I still want those three hours back!).

Edited by Browncoat
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I'm still digesting it, but I think I really liked it. While I loved the book, I'm glad the screenwriter streamlined some of the incidents and removed others entirely. The changes at the end bugged a bit, though. 

I kind of wish Beck had still made the EVA. I get why they wanted Lewis to do it - and Chastain was a total boss as Lewis - but it felt like the rest of the Ares crew got a bit shortchanged overall.

 

I thought it was a really good adaptation of the book, but I have one question.  Genuinely curious -- would the sky look blue as seen from the surface of Mars?

 

Most of the time, the sky on Mars looks yellowish, I believe. It does turn bluish at sunset, though. I don't think you'd generally see the clear blue sky in the middle of the day, as shown in the film. In certain photos from Mars, though, NASA will adjust the colors to look more Earth-like...that seems to be the aesthetic the film went for.

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Thanks!  That bit with the blue sky and the high cirrus-like clouds kind of took me out of the movie briefly.  Not because I quibbled with it, but because I wondered about the authenticity of it.  Mostly I dig the science in both the book and the movie.

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The thing I liked about the movie is that the hurdles Mark and NASA had to overcome seemed organic and not contrived by some screenwriter to make the movie more exciting. The closest I came to an "Aw, c'mon!" was when the resupply rocket blew up, but that was easily explained by: rushing production and prep, no pre-flight inspection and overloading. Plus it brought in cooperation with the Chinese.

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I just got back from seeing this, and I have to say it was probably one of the most all around enjoyable movies I've see in a while.  It sort of delivered on all levels.  It was funny, exciting, and had some tense moments.   I liked that all the characters were smart and no one was made to be the villain, which I thought they were going to do with Jeff Daniels character from the trailers.  

 

My one minor quibble is that I actually would have liked to have seen Mark, fail or at least be wrong about something. Everything bad that happened to him was just him getting dealt a bad hand. The closest he got to being wrong about things was when he blew himself up trying to make water and temporarily shooting himself in the wrong direction when he put the hole in his suit, but ultimately both those plans worked.  It would have made him a little more human, I think, to have him fail or come up with at least one plan that didn't work.

 

But as I said, that is really a minor quibble.  I'd really much rather the main character be too smart than too dumb.  Matt Damon was really great as Watney (and he would have to be since he carries the movie), but the rest of the cast I thought was outstanding as well.  As I said, just a thoroughly enjoyable movie all around. 

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Saw it last night. I loved the book and I loved the adaptation. I thought they did an incredible job translating the science to the screen.

Felt a bit like Kristin Wiig was just there to be a recognizable face, but otherwise I thought the nasa bits were excellent. Jeff Daniels infused the Teddy character with a lot of sympathy-he does a good job at expressing how stuck he is between the long term reality of public perception, and the short term reality of wanting to rescue Watney.

Also, did anyone else catch the "5 by 5" comment dropped in there? Tiny shoutout from Drew Goddard to Buffy?

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Also, did anyone else catch the "5 by 5" comment dropped in there? Tiny shoutout from Drew Goddard to Buffy?

No, because it is an actual technical term used to describe "loud and clear" communications, and not something that was invented for Buffy.
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No, because it is an actual technical term used to describe "loud and clear" communications, and not something that was invented for Buffy.

I love username/comment synergy.

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I liked the synergies, or overlaps, or shout-outs (what have you) in the movie, such as the reference to the Council of Elrond when Sean Bean is in the room; or the nods to Iron Man in a crew whose members include Sebastian Stan.

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I liked the synergies, or overlaps, or shout-outs (what have you) in the movie, such as the reference to the Council of Elrond when Sean Bean is in the room; or the nods to Iron Man in a crew whose members include Sebastian Stan.

Both of those references are from the book, so they're cases of the casting amplifying existing jokes.

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No, because it is an actual technical term used to describe "loud and clear" communications, and not something that was invented for Buffy.

Dammit. Well, that's good to know at least!

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I liked the synergies, or overlaps, or shout-outs (what have you) in the movie, such as the reference to the Council of Elrond when Sean Bean is in the room; or the nods to Iron Man in a crew whose members include Sebastian Stan.

Both of those references are from the book, so they're cases of the casting amplifying existing jokes.

 

I knew the Iron Man reference was in the novel, but surely the pun exists (and isn't merely amplified) because a member of the Council of Elrond (movie version) is there?

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The thing I liked about the movie is that the hurdles Mark and NASA had to overcome seemed organic and not contrived by some screenwriter to make the movie more exciting. The closest I came to an "Aw, c'mon!" was when the resupply rocket blew up, but that was easily explained by: rushing production and prep, no pre-flight inspection and overloading. Plus it brought in cooperation with the Chinese.

 

 

The book explains that in more detail, but there's just a throwaway line in the movie.  They had used liquid food packets instead of real food, and didn't take into consideration the sloshing that liquid would go through that solid food wouldn't, and it cause the ship to spin out of control.

 

 

 

My one minor quibble is that I actually would have liked to have seen Mark, fail or at least be wrong about something. Everything bad that happened to him was just him getting dealt a bad hand. The closest he got to being wrong about things was when he blew himself up trying to make water and temporarily shooting himself in the wrong direction when he put the hole in his suit, but ultimately both those plans worked.  It would have made him a little more human, I think, to have him fail or come up with at least one plan that didn't work.

 

Again something that is left out of the movie.  Mark loses communication with Earth because he runs a wire to the Pathfinder that shorts out.

I really enjoyed this, almost as much as the book, and that's saying something.  Great work all around.  Ethnic casting of Mindy Park and VENKAT Kapoor (NOT Vincent!) bugged, but otherwise, highly recommended.

Edited by Rick Kitchen
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I knew the Iron Man reference was in the novel, but surely the pun exists (and isn't merely amplified) because a member of the Council of Elrond (movie version) is there?

In the novel, the joke was merely that they're nerds and so used a LOTR reference to name the project.

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I saw this Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed it!  Great casting, smart adaptation.

 

I thought it was quite good, and a very effective adaptation of the book.  Obviously the book had way more incident (I was surprised they pretty much skipped over the journey to the Ares IV launch vehicle entirely), but what they chose to depict worked really well.

 

In terms of the trip to Ares IV, we were speculating after the film (spoiler from the book)

that perhaps they had planned to include the rover rollover, because when he goes to shave/ trim his hair the day he's leaving in the Ares IV rocket, you can see he looks rather bruised/ beat up, and there's no offered explanation of that

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I was very impressed with the movie - the adaptation did not disappoint.  I thought Matt Damon was exceptional and the film was a reminder of how good an actor he can be.

 

I didn't like Kristen Wiig's character in the film - but I think that has more to do with my extreme dislike for the actress than the actual character.

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We considered this worthy of a trip to the movie theater and we were not disappointed. Good effects and enjoyable science/tech geeky goodness. 

The problems did not seem contrived and watching Damon work out solutions was entertaining.  ...Tho it might have been more realistic if Damon's character wasn't a genius in every area -- maybe there could have been a few chinks in his armor..

 

The only thing that bugged me was how we were constantly reminded how far away Mars is, and how all communications have about a 30 minute delay ... and yet ,  for 'drama', it was made to seem as if Damon and the NASA people were texting one another almost instantly. I would have appreciated it if they had made more acknowledgement of the fact that people would have been sitting and waiting 30 minutes between each text message.

The same problem applies to the world-wide viewing party of  Watney's rescue by his teammates. They made it looks as if it was real-time interaction between NASA, the Mars crew, and the media coverage..

 

Also - was there some reason Damon's character was missing a personal life? I appreciated not having him pine over some photograph of a woman during the whole film -- but the total lack of any romantic interests seemed a bit odd. 

(But seeing the one Mars crew member going back on the next mission made me feel bad for his kid... Guess someone else will be there for his formative years..)

Edited by shrewd.buddha

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Was it a body double or CGI (or both)?   I assumed it was same process as whatever they did with Chris Evans for first "Captain America".

 

Speaking of the Ares IV, since he took their re-launch vehicle I'm assuming that mission was scrubbed?  (They seemed to jump straight to the Ares V mission).

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Also - was there some reason Damon's character was missing a personal life? I appreciated not having him pine over some photograph of a woman during the whole film -- but the total lack of any romantic interests seemed a bit odd. 

(But seeing the one Mars crew member going back on the next mission made me feel bad for his kid... Guess someone else will be there for his formative years..)

 I really liked that Watney didn't have a wife, or girlfriend, or kid, or anything else. They risked everything to try to rescue him for him, not to bring back someone's dad/husband/etc. It actually makes it a bit more poignant for me. And there was actually one romantic subplot, but it was kept well in the background (as it was in the book).

 

Was it a body double or CGI (or both)?   I assumed it was same process as whatever they did with Chris Evans for first "Captain America".

It was a body double. Damon was up for losing weight, but the shooting schedule made it impossible. 

 

 

One of the little nods to realism that just hit me was that they did actually show Watney's teeth getting grimier/yellower towards the third act. 

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Regarding the loss of IRIS I, from the book.

WHEN DESIGNING Iris, JPL accounted for catastrophic landing failure. Rather than normal meal kits, most of the food was cubed protein bar material, which would still be edible even if Iris failed to deploy its tumble balloons and impacted at incredible speed.

Because Iris was an unmanned mission, there was no cap on acceleration. The contents of the probe endured forces no human could survive. But while NASA had tested the effects of extreme g-forces on protein cubes, they had not done so with a simultaneous lateral vibration. Had they been given more time, they would have.

The harmless shimmy, caused by a minor fuel mixture imbalance, rattled the payload. Iris, mounted firmly within the aeroshell atop the booster, held firm. The protein cubes inside Iris did not.

At the microscopic level, the protein cubes were solid food particles suspended in thick vegetable oil. The food particles compressed to less than half their original size, but the oil was barely affected at all. This changed the volume ratio of solid to liquid dramatically, which in turn made the aggregate act as a liquid. Known as “liquefaction,” this process transformed the protein cubes from a steady solid into a flowing sludge.

Stored in a compartment that originally had no leftover space, the now-compressed sludge had room to slosh.

The shimmy also caused an imbalanced load, forcing the sludge toward the edge of its compartment. This shift in weight only aggravated the larger problem, and the shimmy grew stronger.

Was it a body double or CGI (or both)?   I assumed it was same process as whatever they did with Chris Evans for first "Captain America".

 

Speaking of the Ares IV, since he took their re-launch vehicle I'm assuming that mission was scrubbed?  (They seemed to jump straight to the Ares V mission).

Yeah, Ares IV was scrubbed.

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The problems did not seem contrived and watching Damon work out solutions was entertaining.  ...Tho it might have been more realistic if Damon's character wasn't a genius in every area -- maybe there could have been a few chinks in his armor..

 

The only thing that bugged me was how we were constantly reminded how far away Mars is, and how all communications have about a 30 minute delay ... and yet ,  for 'drama', it was made to seem as if Damon and the NASA people were texting one another almost instantly. I would have appreciated it if they had made more acknowledgement of the fact that people would have been sitting and waiting 30 minutes between each text message.

The same problem applies to the world-wide viewing party of  Watney's rescue by his teammates. They made it looks as if it was real-time interaction between NASA, the Mars crew, and the media coverage..

 

Also - was there some reason Damon's character was missing a personal life? I appreciated not having him pine over some photograph of a woman during the whole film -- but the total lack of any romantic interests seemed a bit odd. 

I don't recall if it was in this book, or in another SF book I read (maybe "Mars," by Ben Bova -- which, BTW, is also an excellent book about the first manned mission to Mars), but just as NASA creates redundant hardware & software systems, they also do the same thing for the astronauts, so no one person is responsible for just one thing.

 

The real-time interaction threw me off a little too. I know they had to do it for dramatic effect (it would be hard to sustain the excitement with constant "30 minutes later..." flashing on the screen).

 

 I really liked that Watney didn't have a wife, or girlfriend, or kid, or anything else. They risked everything to try to rescue him for him, not to bring back someone's dad/husband/etc. It actually makes it a bit more poignant for me. And there was actually one romantic subplot, but it was kept well in the background (as it was in the book).

Yeah, I was worried that they were going to add a wife or girlfriend; I'm glad they didn't.

 

While I really enjoyed Matt Damon in the role, he wasn't how I pictured Mark when I read the book. I think I expected someone a little more "nerdy," taller and thinner, too.

Edited by SmithW6079

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Saw it last night.  Haven't read the book yet, but I really want to read it now.  What really surprised me about this film (never really paid much attention to the trailers either), was the humor in it.  Watney is just a funny dude, and I loved all his reactions to everything that kept happening to him.  I have to think being isolated for that long would drive anyone insane, and you need some kind of humor to get through it.  But I honestly could not keep it together when Watney almost blew himself up trying to make water, and then we see him on camera talking like normal, only with steam and smoke still coming off his clothes.

 

Anyway, I really enjoyed this: vastly preferred this to both Gravity (fun seeing in theaters, but didn't really leave an impression after) and especially Interstellar (hated it.  Thought it was self-indulgent dreck and Nolan at his worst.)  I know that Matt Damon has certainly not been doing himself any favors in real life (I personally don't think he's an irredeemable asshole yet, but the guy really needs to learn to think before he speaks, and telling others how to feel: especially when he will never go through what they have), but I think he was the perfect choice for Watney.  He just has the humor, toughness, and brass attitude that was needed for the character, but I can also buy someone like him being smart enough to get himself out of it (unlike, say, Mark Wahlberg in Transformers 4.)  Watney might actually be one of my favorite protagonists this year.

 

They sure did stack the deck with the supporting cast.  Jessica Chastain is always awesome, and made the most of her screen time as Lewis.  Along with Ant-Man, Michael Pena pulls out another hilarious performance.  Chiwetel Ejiofor killed it.  Sean Bean was a welcome sight, and managed not to get his ass killed. I'm sure Kate Mara is glad this came out, so everyone might forget about Fantastic Four.  Cool seeing Sebastian Stan, Mackenzie Davis, and Benedict Wong in various roles.  And I find it interesting that Jeff Daniels now seems to be the big winner of the Dumb & Dumber duo.  At first, it was Jim Carrey who exploded into Hollywood, but now I barely hear from him, and Daniels is just slowly, but surely, turning in great work.

 

Only real misfire was Kristen Wiig.  I actually like her find outside of SNL, but I just thought she lacked something in this role.  I kept picturing various other actress who probably would have nailed that role.  And I don't think it was because of knowing her comedic background either, because I was able to accept Donald Glover pretty well (to be fair, his character was comedic for the most part.)

 

Loved the Iron Man references and the "Council of Elrond", with Bean's character there.  At least they didn't go too on the  nose, and find a way for his character to say "One doesn't simply just...."

 

The visual effects looked great. Really felt like Mars/another planet.  And juxtaposition with all the disco music really set the tone for the film.

 

The final save was probably a bit over-the-top, but all things considering, I was willing to go with it.  I am curious to see how much of the science was realistic in this film, compared to the other space films from the past years. 

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Who knew that "You have terrible taste in music" could be invested with such tenderness, humour, empathy and relief?

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Just got back from seeing this, having known little about it other than the hype over the book, which I've read the blurb for and decided 'maybe some day I'll read it'.

 

It was really good. Matt Damon was excellent as Watney, with the right energy and slightly manic persona that made all of his monologues and bits to camera work really well. The 'always look on the bright side' humour worked, because his tongue was firmly in his cheek the whole time. He just feels like a regular guy, which I think is one of his gifts as an actor. He's a huge star, but doesn't come across as one if it's not required.

 

I worried we'd spend too much time listening to him explain things, and showing him tinkering with bits of NASA tech, but the film flowed very nicely. Funnier than I thought it would be. Lots of nice, wry moments that got genuine laughs. Which were needed, because there was a lot of tension for a movie that's about one guy farming and doing maths on an empty planet.

 

It was a good cast, from top to bottom. I kept saying 'oh hey, look who it is' every few minutes. Sean Bean as Sean Bean (I mean, who else does he ever play), Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels and Kristen Wiig as the earth side mob were solid in their roles. Not a whole lot for them to do but look sombre, exasperated and increasingly worried.

 

I really liked Mackenzie Davis, but then I like her a lot in Halt and Catch Fire too. I'd have liked to see a bit more through her eyes, as someone on the ground who is little more than a conduit for information, helpless to do much at either end. Donald Glover's role was fun. He definitely convinces as a socially awkward genius (which perhaps isn't far at all from some facets of his personality).

 

Loved this bit:

"How's he doing?"

"He's asked us to call him Captain Blondebeard."

".... Well technically Mars is international..."

"I know, he explained it to us."

 

I liked the rest of Watney's crew as well. Jessica Chastain is great, but I really wish she'd get more to do in movies than stand around looking pensive while things go on elsewhere. Nice that she took the initiative for the rescue, and put herself at risk, rather than let Sebastian Stan do it. Speaking of, I'm glad there was no shoehorned romance between Chastain and Damon, and they just had a very brief scene or two establishing Stan and Mara (who I do like a lot, and hope she has a bright career ahead of her) as a couple. The film was about the romance of space travel, of science and of human perseverance, there was no need to throw an angsty girlfriend/wife in there.

 

I guess I'm a sucker for big stage drama, because I was totally into the scenes showing all the people in America, China and Britain waiting anxiously for news. The explosion of joy when they hear that he's safe is great. Sure, they mentioned that Mars is 12 light minutes away, but who cares about that? Blurring the lines worked fine.

 

The visual effects were great, the creation of the Martian landscape and the space scenes. I think the weightless shots were done with wire-work and CGI, but that doesn't bother me, they looked fine. I don't know if all the science checks out, but to me it felt right, so I'm happy to go with it.

 

I think I will read the book, now.

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Jessica Chastain is great, but I really wish she'd get more to do in movies than stand around looking pensive while things go on elsewhere. Nice that she took the initiative for the rescue, and put herself at risk, rather than let Sebastian Stan do it. 

 

I understand why they had Lewis do the final EVA, but it really undermines her character for me. She's a tough-as-nails former-military commander, there's no way in hell she'd pull the EVA specialist off the most precise EVA they have to make. Lewis essentially puts everyone else at risk because of her own guilt, and it's a shitty way to end an otherwise great character. 

 

I get why they did it, but the overall changes to the ending bugged. More so, I think, because in the book Watney explicitly says "Now, if this were Hollywood, here's what would happen...but this isn't Hollywood, so now here's what actually happened." It seems like they threw out a large chunk of why people loved the book so much.  And I love the film, so I don't want it to sound like I thought it was terrible, I just wished it had skewed a bit closer to the source material on some things.

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I understand why they had Lewis do the final EVA, but it really undermines her character for me. She's a tough-as-nails former-military commander, there's no way in hell she'd pull the EVA specialist off the most precise EVA they have to make. Lewis essentially puts everyone else at risk because of her own guilt, and it's a shitty way to end an otherwise great character. 

 

I get why they did it, but the overall changes to the ending bugged. More so, I think, because in the book Watney explicitly says "Now, if this were Hollywood, here's what would happen...but this isn't Hollywood, so now here's what actually happened." It seems like they threw out a large chunk of why people loved the book so much.  And I love the film, so I don't want it to sound like I thought it was terrible, I just wished it had skewed a bit closer to the source material on some things.

 

Well I had no trouble in deciding that Lewis was also an EVA expert. I mean, she was the commander, but she must have had a particular area of expertise before she rose to command. And the way she controlled the EVA rig looked like she knew what she was doing. They could have thrown in an earlier line to establish that she was an experienced EVA astronaut, but I don't think it was necessary.

 

As for that line about Hollywood, it's more than a little undermined by the fact that the author sold the rights to Hollywood to make the movie. He mustn't have had such a problem with it. Because yes, it does make sense that the other crew member who has the most agency and the most import to the story is the one who makes the save. It also makes sense that Jessica Chastain is the one who makes the save.

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Yeah, the only reason why Lewis isn't the EVA specialist is because she's the Mission Commander. She could have the same level of competency when conducting EVA as Beck, or greater. Beck's designation as EVA specialist is something assigned, not inherent.

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I don't recall if it was in this book, or in another SF book I read (maybe "Mars," by Ben Bova -- which, BTW, is also an excellent book about the first manned mission to Mars), but just as NASA creates redundant hardware & software systems, they also do the same thing for the astronauts, so no one person is responsible for just one thing.

 

 

The book does explain a little about the 'redundancy' of astronaut training.

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