Posted by: bluelion | February 25, 2016

Let’s watch… The Martian – the movie (Part III)

The Martian (2015)

(Things got a bit long so I published this as a series. Part I was mainly about the translation’s issues. Part II focused on the English book, and this is Part III, the movie.)

Previously:

This book was screaming for a movie adaptation. I’m not surprised they made it. I really want to watch it now, so here I come for a big disappointment!
[…]
Let’s see how badly they murdered the book…

Ouch!

It was like a very shallow rush through the story. As many others have noted, on film, the real struggle was lost. It felt like a few weeks with minor problems, not one and a half years with constant, urgent problem solving just to stay alive another day. Most of the actors have been excellent choices, but we hardly saw anything of those great characters of the book! How come? They became flat. I know time is a limit but we’ve seen some great characters on film before. It can be done. The whole movie was so dark, nothing like I imagined. (But hey, parts of it were shot in Budapest! We watched it just after a day out near those locations! What a coincidence!)

It is nominated for seven Oscars, including best motion picture, best leading actor and adapted screenplay. We’ll see. Of course, this year I am crossing my fingers for my countrymen’s Son of Saul which I haven’t summoned the courage to watch. Yet.

[SPOILER alert]

I have no idea what watching the movie without reading the book first could be like, but my hubby was asking countless questions, so I guess it left quite a few unanswered. It was such a rush, you didn’t have time to process information really. The length and scale of his struggle was lost entirely. Do you remember Cast Away (2000)? It is actually a minute shorter than The Martian but managed to depict a long period of isolation better, I think. And the lead character was stranded on an island on Earth, not on a different planet lightminutes away. It seems to be less lonely and less hopeless a situation.

Of course, the movie had to have the back on Earth closure which I was kind of missing in the book at first. But why did Mark seem to be older than the rest of the crew? And a baby for Beck and Johanssen? Really? My hubby said he didn’t even realize there was something going on between them. If it was for those who read the book, I would have been happier with an Iris launch like the one in the book. All that drama was taken away and put to the launch of the MAV at the end. I can see how that was more important and two similar scenes would be boring but my heart still bleeds for that perfectly written part.

I had actual actors in mind when I was reading. I saw the cover of the book, so Mark was given to be Matt Damon. In my mind, Annie was Allison Janney from The West Wing though swearing did not really suit her. It was probably because of the same job of the character. Mitch was John C. McGinley in my inner movie. Remember Dr. Perry Cox from Scrubs? That’s the character! Martinez was somehow Mark Ruffalo despite him not being Mexican or Latin American at all. In the actual movie, Michael Peña was a perfect Martinez! Mitch’s role suited Sean Bean really well. Casting was very well done, I think. Kristen Wiig (Annie) did a bit too much of the worrying eyebrows, I think. Her character was way cooler than that. And I can’t see why Venkat Kapoor was renamed Vincent and an Indian character replaced by an African American one. Chiwetel Ejiofor was an excellent Kapoor but I was confused about the whole idea. Was it hard to find someone for the role? All the others suited the images in my head surprisingly well.

Lewis was a great commander in the book, not one who wants to go out and catch Watney herself because of the emotional trauma it caused her when she thought she had left him behind. The Iron Man thing? Ah, come on! And not having showered in 1.5 years? It was minutes before that we saw him dressed in only a towel. Not to mention the book where he was having baths! A few weeks passed by without him having any Opportunity (Ha, again) to take a shower but not the whole 1.5 years. The others also had limited access to water for personal hygiene, being on a spaceship.

I was missing so many things from the book. The characters that were so very well written. The Aquaman pun (although it is included in the extra material at areslive.com. It’s fun, check it out! It is like they tried to make up for the lost material there and it is professionally made.). Teddy’s red and blue folders! They would have looked great on screen!

Watney chose a theme song for himself in the book. It was Stayin’ Alive by Bee Gees. Why wouldn’t they include that in the soundtrack? It is full of disco, Abba, whatever. Why not Stayin’ Alive if that was his chosen song in the book? Just… why?
Here you go, Mark Watney:

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Responses

  1. […] mainly about the translation’s issues. This is Part II with a focus on the English book, and Part III is reserved for the […]

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  2. […] is Part I, mainly about the translation’s issues. Part II will focus on the English book, and Part III is for the […]

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