kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
We saw this last Friday and I haven't had the time to write it up, but honestly I'm doing more so out of obligation/putting things on the record: it's very enjoyable and I've barely thought about it since.

Okay, that's not true, because I am an analytical type when it comes to my entertainment, but much less than some other things.

In short: very entertaining; successfully adapts the book in terms of streamlining and making emotions more present (Mark is a very peculiar brand of unreliable narrator, in that he says "I cried" and you don't really feel it on a gut level); surprisingly resists the urge to Hollywood it up until the end; could've done better on casting in terms of racial representation, but it could've been worse, too; whoever did the soundtrack was having a lot of fun.

As for the casting bits: Kapoor is Hindu in the book and is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in the movie; he does have a line about his father being Hindu and his mother being Baptist in the movie, but when Irrfan Khan turned them down (h/t [personal profile] musesfool), well, it's nice they didn't go with a white guy, but it's not like there's only one Indian actor out there in the world, you know? With that casting, the only visibly Asian main characters were of East Asian ancestry. On a similar note, point for casting Rich Purnell (race not specified in book) with Donald Glover, and minus for not casting Mindy Park with an actress of Korean ancestry. (Point for making one of the guys in China a woman, as well.)

Finally, I don't know what Sean Bean and his non-American accent were doing in this movie. I am entirely willing to believe it was solely in the service of a particular meta joke that had the entire theater laughing uproariously, but I shamefully admit that I think it was worth it: the Rich Purnell maneuver is, as in the book, named the Elrond Project, and Sean Bean's character is the one to explain the reference to the Council of Elrond.

And now, some spoilers about the adaptation and ending:

The movie drops two major incidents, blowing up Pathfinder (which lets them keep Sojourner as a little mascot, which is cute) and the dust storm on the way to the pickup point. That was fine by me. Sadly, it also Hollywoods up the ending by having Mark do the Iron Man maneuver with a punctured glove to get closer to the Hermes (something he jokes about in the book), while Commander Lewis (Jessica Chastain) goes out to meet him. Yeah, it's pretty small in the scheme of things, but it's unfortunate because it's so obviously a dumb idea, you know?

The movie also doesn't end on Mark arriving on the Hermes; there's a montage after of the various characters as the next Mars mission launches and then Mark teaching a class to astronout recruits. I thought that was fine and fit the format better than the book's ending would've, but Chad thought it was cheesy, so YMMV.

I dipped into the fandom tag on AO3 and was depressed to find it was full of Watney/Beck (a.k.a. the power of two vaguely conventionally attractive white dudes—seriously, they have minimal interaction in the movie, and if you must break up canonical m/f pairings, Martinez is his best friend in the book), so I will take any gen recs from you all, but I can enthusiastically recommend the Interstitial series by Lanna Michaels, which is a book-style continuation (so far two short-ish pieces) that's perfectly in character and just terrific. Also, for the brilliant crack, Lanna also did a fusion with Jonathan Strange. And now the kids' morning TV is done so I will save the trailers until later.

Fanfic rec

Date: Sunday, October 11th, 2015 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cheshyre
The Yuletide 2014 story A study on the aerodynamics and parabolic arcs of viscous fluids in a low gravity environment is a very short genfic which imo totally nails the voice.

Date: Sunday, October 11th, 2015 03:32 pm (UTC)
lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lannamichaels
Thanks for the recs! :D

re: Pathfinder: this bugged me also and I nattered on a bit of it in my write-up, but later got to wondering, and I think it might have been filmed but cut for time? When leaving the Hab for the last time, Mark comments that no one has told him he can use Ares 4's MAV and won't be able to do so until he gets there, which only makes sense if he isn't in contact with Earth at that point. And then we just see a small scene with two NASA folks with the pirate joke, which could have been done later, and then there's a voice over, so I think it's possible that it might have been added in later if they cut the Pathfinder for time. Still doesn't explain why he's lugging Pathfinder to the Ares 4 site if he's bricked it, though. ;)

It did bug me that he didn't build the bedroom and, what, spent three months sleeping under the rover?

Sadly, it also Hollywoods up the ending by having Mark do the Iron Man maneuver with a punctured glove to get closer to the Hermes (something he jokes about in the book)

I wondered how much of this was for Cross Promotion to other films, but I didn't look to see if the people who made the Martian have ownership stake in the MCU. I did like the review someone did where they pointed out that this was the worst science in the movie. ;)


The movie also doesn't end on Mark arriving on the Hermes; there's a montage after of the various characters as the next Mars mission launches and then Mark teaching a class to astronout recruits. I thought that was fine and fit the format better than the book's ending would've, but Chad thought it was cheesy, so YMMV.

I liked the montage bit, although it makes no sense to have Martinez go on Ares 4, first because he mutineed, and second because he is way over his lifetime radiation limit.

Date: Sunday, October 11th, 2015 04:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abigail_n.livejournal.com
Mark comments that no one has told him he can use Ares 4's MAV and won't be able to do so until he gets there, which only makes sense if he isn't in contact with Earth at that point.

No, what he's saying is that because he's technically in international waters and subject to international maritime law, NASA, an American body, won't have the authority to permit him to board the MAV until he's already on it and under their jurisdiction. He has to have been in contact with NASA throughout the journey to Ares IV because they send him the plan for stripping the MAV in order to make it light enough to launch before he boards it.

Date: Sunday, October 11th, 2015 04:34 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Rotwang)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Also, for the brilliant crack, Lanna also did a fusion with Jonathan Strange.

"Also, Northern England won't let me leave until I apologize to the Raven King."

Thank you for that.

Date: Monday, October 12th, 2015 03:55 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I dipped into the fandom tag on AO3 and was depressed to find it was full of Watney/Beck

Bleah. The tendency of fandoms to become dominated by super-generic-white-dude pairs has driven me out of more than one.

Thanks for reminding me to take a look for fic, though, and the Raven King one is hysterical. I like the Lanna Michaels stuff I've read so far too.

Date: Monday, October 12th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
tavella: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tavella
grumble. Wasn't logged in.

Date: Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 06:42 am (UTC)
tavella: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tavella
Ooh, that's useful, thanks for the pointer.

Date: Wednesday, October 14th, 2015 09:48 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
We just ahem'd this and it was kind of....surprisingly....dull to me? I mean, it wasn't bad, it didn't make me want to claw the director's eyeballs out like Interstellar or Prometheus, but I was really surprised it was a Ridley Scott movie. It just seemed....bland. (I didn't read the book.) And I don't hate Matt Damon, but I thought he was somehow wrong for the part -- every time he cracked one of those (awful) jokes, it was just so Not Funny. I felt cheated of the Big Reunion at the end, altho maybe they thought it was too Apollo 13. This movie seemed to be very carefully Not Apollo 13, and since I loved Apollo 13 despite my triple dislike of Ron Howard, Tom Hanks and James Horner, this was not actually a plus for me. It felt like it was almost kind of reaching at being a movie I liked a lot, but never quite got there.

Perks (?) of viewing this kind of movie with a Physics Geek: it is amusing when they cry, "You couldn't get a dust storm on Mars strong enough to bring down a kite!" and "WHY are we hearing explosions in space?" and "Why is everyone on Mars acting like lifting something is a big physical effort?!" Heh. Altho actually he said it was less horrifying than most space films (you should have heard the tirade after Interstellar).

T also said he thought "the seventies music" worked in Guardians of the Galaxy and this movie was "ripping it off," hah. He also refused to sing along with "Waterloo" (one of the first songs I remember!) and expressed surprise that the Village People were not included. He also thought the space pirate and Iron Man and LOTR jokes were cheezy. (And people think I'm a hard sell....)

I would imagine all the Inception-style ATWG fic is being driven by SebStan, since he's a fandom juggernaut all by himself right now. Do Beck and Watney even talk in the movie?

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