I saw The Martian in the cinema last night with half my lab, most of whom had also read the book. We were all ridiculously excited, and I'm happy to say our expectations were largely met.
- Okay, first off the niggle that's bothering me the most, and no, it's not technical. Why is Mindy Park a white girl? One of the things I appreciated in Weir's book is that he tried to make his core cast of characters as diverse as possible, sometimes just with their names. And to me, Mindy Park is obviously meant to be Korean. I mean, he could have made it more obvious perhaps if he'd named her Mindy Lee or Mindy Kim. But Mindy Park is pretty obvious too.
- It was very faithful to the book. A good deal had to be cut, particularly a good deal of Watney's experimentation surrounding his supply situation and transportation (lots of tinkering with the rovers in the book). His 100+ Sol journey to Schiaparelli crater is shortened considerably, for obvious reasons, though they did make an effort to show the physical toll it took on him by giving him sores and also showing his weight loss. Though the latter may just have been an excuse for Matt Damon to get his kit off, which he seems to enjoy.
- Representation and diversity: Was mostly faithful to Weir's intentions (apart from the glaring error mentioned above). Two of six astronaut crew being female is...well, frankly, better than the current reality most of the time. And there were female ground staff, though the only one in a senior position was the PR manager, not a technical person. Anyway, I went to the cinema with half of my lab, and was the only female (though not the only non-white person), so again the film is an improvement on present circumstances, which is great for near-future scifi in terms of subtly providing role models for aspiring junior engineers and scientists.
- Almost killed myself laughing during the Council of Elrond/secret meeting scene. Sean Bean's faaaaaaace.
- The climax (Watney's rescue scene) was really overdramatised. The whole Iron Man bit particularly (disbelief suspension in OVERDRIVE). I enjoyed it, though, especially since it gave Commander Lewis a chance to be the Big Damn Hero.
- The bit inserted at the end where Watney's teaching the incoming astronaut candidate class felt really shoe-horned in (and isn't in the book) as "lookie here, this is the denouement"! The montage at the end with the Ares 5 launch was much better.
- The trade between the Chinese Space Agency and NASA - we'll give you a launch vehicle for your HERMES resupply if you put one of our taikonauts in space on an Ares mission - was surprisingly subtly portrayed. I mean, I can imagine a lot of people would miss it, since basically you see Martinez and the taikonaut grinning at each other at the very end and that's it.
- Seriously, why is Mindy Park a white girl?!
Still, A++++, will def get on DVD and watch again.
This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/993320.html. The titration count is at .0 pKa.