Book Published: February 11, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Movie Premiered: October 2, 2015
Length: 2 hour, 24 minutes
Starring: Matt Damon
A mission to Mars.
A freak accident.
One man's struggle to survive.
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.
Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars' surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, Mark won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.
But Mark's not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills—and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.
As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive.
But Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book. I felt like the narrator did a decent job with the voices. I don't remember cringing at the female voices, feeling like they were caricatures, and the accent for Vogel, who is German, is consistent with my experience of speaking to Germans living in Germany. Granted most of the narration was for a single character, the focus was on Watney after all, but it was still always clear who was speaking when it wasn't Watney. And he had a great wry tone for Watney's humor.
The story got off to a slow start for me, although some of that may be because I listened to the audio rather than reading. Endless descriptions aren't quite as interesting to listen to as dialogue and action, and there wasn't much action to start. But about a third of the way into the story, things started to pick up and get interesting.
I thought that overall this story was hilarious. The way Watney approaches issues made this fun to listen to. I mean there is talk about space pirates for crying out loud. And Watney isn't the only one in the crew who's got jokes, although some of the humor from the rest of the crew could be response to Watney's jokes. Although it may also just be a personality trait NASA looks for in astronauts.
There was also a fair amount of suspense in the story. There were several times where it seemed all was surely lost. Obviously it wasn't for some of them. Those times had me on the edge of my seat wondering how Mark would get himself out of that scrape.
5 out of 5 stars.
I think I may have set this movie up for failure by listening to the audio as opposed to reading myself. I mean, I knew the voices would be different in the movie, but I wasn't prepared for Vogel to basically have no accent at all. And that probably wouldn't have stood out to me nearly as much if I'd read the book myself. This was a much bigger problem for me while watching that it really should have been.
So the movie changed a lot of things, but most of the changes made a certain amount of sense, up until the end at least. At the end they removed book suspense to replace it with slightly different suspense a little later on, and that change just made no sense to me. There was also an exchange between Watney and Lewis that was altered to be about 75% less funny in the movie, that since I had just finished listening to the book earlier that day, really stood out to me as a major disappointment. But aside from those two things, the changes really did make sense, and I didn't mind them much (although I obviously still pointed them out, because duh.)
All in all, I would say that this was a decent adaptation of the book, although I would recommend not watching it immediately after finishing the book so that exact conversations have a chance to get a bit muddled in your head (you'll probably be less irritated that way.) This movie gets a B+. - Katie
About the Author
ANDY WEIR was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age fifteen and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is also a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel.