It is no secret that I am a big fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror and I don’t draw the line at ludicrousness. After all, Evil Dead.
Recently, we took a little vacation to Colorado, and I backed up my travel time by downloading The Martian to my Kindle App-iPad.
Because I know, of course, that some of the science is iffy at best (the sandstorm that set the whole thing up, for example)…
Oh wait. SPOILERS. Stop reading, if you haven’t read the book or seen the movie or read the massive amounts of internet blather about it. STOP/. I told you.
But hell. Even in the midst of the non-stop going that is a vacation, I still managed to read the book in like 2.5 days. It’s a short book; but it also reads like a YA adventure book. It it’s also very serious and very fast paced. Mark Watney is going to die. He’s going to die while listening to horrible 70s disco. GOD DID I FEEL HIS PAIN
He knows enough to make that less likely. His only strategy, from like day five? is to see how long he can extend it. Because he knows there is no cavalry coming over the ridge. in fact, he often talks about being the first Martian Colonist, and owning the entire planet because of maritime law.
He is also snarky and profane. Which you would be, if you had been abandoned to die on a planet where you can’t even breathe. What the movie omits is how funny he is, talking to a recording that he figures no one will hear for four years. He doesn’t have to self-edit. Like a blogger. He fucks on a regular basis.
This movie was a realistic movie, done as an analogue to the Swiss Family Robinson, and cared enough to make real science areal part of it. And the movie makers allowed Kirsten Wiig to do an actual real role, so I already give them a +4.
So I have downloaded the movie, and am watching it for the third time tonight. I know, I know, Matt Damon. But he was also one of the angels in Dogma, so cut him a fucking break, right? Also, Kristen Wiig goes for broke in a dramatic role, and does great. Have I mentioned that I love Kirsten Wiig? Please to go be seeing “Welcome to Me”
The movie strips a fair amount out of the book, which you have to do to make a 2 hour running time. And that stuff in the book is rich and worthwhile. So read the book, right? . However, the final stress is based on the resulting relative velocities. They probably fudged it all but fuck that, it’s Hollywood; these people made Adam Sandler a star.
But the movie is still worthy. The actors do a helluva job in their roles . and Damon gets foulmouthed like he was being directed by Kevin Smith. The sets and effects are realistic. The actors do a great job and the story is valid for a 2 hour story. They do a not-horrible work with the physics involved, although not as good as in the book; which does not quite make a fully-accurate physical representation, but close damn enough for what is still a helluva great book.
This movie and story, while being acclaimed for being mostly true to science, still diverge more than enough to qualify as Science Fiction, in both versions. Both versions make for great entertainment; the book is compelling, and the movie maximizes the drama. Duct tape plays a major role, so I hope they had Red Green as consultant…
The book is great; in a large part because the author put it out into the ether to allow for input from people with expertise. Which, as a rational person, you do. He changed much of the book before actual publishing to reflect that feedback.
“I am the first person to be alone on an entire planet” Is that the most fucking terrifying thing to consider? Is that not also one of the best lines in science fiction ever?
The book also allows the major character to cuss his brain out. The idea that the Hermes crew are perfectly willing to go back, and take that amount of time, is perfectly consistent with the people who have gone into space, who are, without exception, heroes of the first order.
The movie is also pretty great. I will say it’s not as great as the book, because the depth and long-form factor of the book allows for way more in depth development of every single character. But I will not say that “the book is better” because the movie is visual and some of that is better. What I will say is that if you liked the movie, read the book; and if you liked the book, see the movie.
Solve one problem. Then the next. You solve enough problems, you succeed.
Of course, this post references Bowie, because it must. I have resisted the idea of posting much in the way of Bowie tributes on anything because, frankly there are so many doing it better.
And I am also going to shove an Alan Rickman reference in here, because By Grabthar’s Hammer, I will Avenge him!
Because death really sucks. I am starting to get a bit pissed off at this whole death thing. I survive, but David Bowie, Lemmy and Alan Rickman die? Fuck that. Because frankly, I would be perfectly willing to offer my life to bring any one of those guys back for a few years….
The movie spent much time using Starman in their work, but I really think Life On Mars is so much more appropriate, because it is so much more unusual. So, with David Bowie’s death, I made a post that references one of his songs. However, I really love this version:
David Bowie was one of the most talented artists of the last 50 years. Go ahead and get his new album. He helped us live in space before we ever went there, and he helped us understand different sexualities before it was even considered as acceptable. I won’t say God Bless, because I figure he didn’t give a shit, but I will say: We will remember you for generations…