Book Review: The Martian

I get how people can say they liked a book better than they liked a movie. I can also understand how other people can tell those people to shut up.

It’s pretty simple: some people like film and some people like books.

I like both.

Last week I read The Martian by Andy Weir. This weekend I saw the film of the same name, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon. 

Damon stars as Mark Watney – Astronaut, Mechanical Engineer, Botonist, Space Pirate, and the first person to colonize The Red Planet. 

NASA’s Ares III Mars mission is forced to abort due to a dust storm capable of tipping their evacuation vehicle, The MAV. The crew escapes, Watney does not.

The film follow’s Watney, the Ares III crew, and NASA – with the world watching – as they try to get Mark Watney home. Alive.
Running low on food and water, Watney must ‘science the shit out of this’ in order to survive until the rescue mission. He uses his skills in engineering and Botony to grow crops on Mars – out of dirt, feces, urine, and potatoes. And to make water – which isn’t probable.

Having read the book first, I knew how it would end. I also knew about most of the science and about the people involved. The book certainly goes much more in depth on a lot of topics. It’s not easy to fit it all into 140 minutes of film. Especially when most of the book is backed by real science. Andy Weir does not shy away from the science either, and he expertly uses humor to ensure that the reader never gets bored or feels like their are sitting in a freshman science lecture. 

Instead, he hits a home run with the science and the humor.

That said, the film is able to show a side of the story that the book cannot. What would a man look like living on nothing but potatoes and vitamins for 9 months? Alone. What would that do to his body and more importantly, his psyche? 

Damon freaking nails it. For that matter, so does the rest of the cast. 
On top of that, the film adds a few wrinkles of its own, just to throw off people like me. And it’s totally worth it. 

Go see this movie while it’s out. Then go home and read the book.


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