Book to film: The Martian

I have been meaning to make a post about this for months, but what with procrastination, forgetfulness, and lots of other things to do, I just haven’t gotten around to doing it. Well I’m here now and hopefully I can do this justice, even though I’ll admit that I have already forgotten most of the points I wanted to say. Man, what I way to start a post – I bet you’re really psyched to read this now. I promise I’ll do better.

I’m stranded on Mars.

I have no way to communicate with Earth.

I’m in a Habitat designed to last 31 days.

If the Oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the Water Reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.

So yeah. I’m screwed.

Already I even feel I’ve been hard done by because that cover looks incredible and I wish the UK had supply of that cover. Instead I had one of Matt Damon’s face – now I’m not saying anything is wrong with his face, but I prefer book covers that are about the book and not the film adaptation. Just saying.

Anyway, a phenomenal book, even if I hadn’t immediately been inclined to pick it up. In all honesty the only reason I bought this book was because everyone and their mothers were telling me how amazing it is, so I gave it to my Mum for Christmas then stole it after she’d finished it (I know, I’m such a good daughter).

This book is all about Mark Watney and how he was stranded on Mars, and that’s probably all I really want to say about it in the spoiler-free section. All I will add is that the fantastic reviews are fantastic for a reason, as it really is all about the brilliant character that is Mark Watney who, despite his situation, is a hilarious commentator with such well-thought out witty dialogue that you’ll be laughing throughout. A five stars from me without fail.

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Now, onto the discussion about the book to film adaptation. This will contain some spoilers on what the film misses out and, therefore, some scenes that happen in the book, so approach with caution.

If I hadn’t read the book, watching The Martian would have been a great experience – and, admittedly, it still was good fun. However the film misses out some really big scenes that I remember from the book, and half of you is enjoying the film whilst the other half is fuming that they’ve missed out a bit. Obviously they can’t cram in everything that happens in the book into the film, so that’s understandable, but I still felt bitter. Can’t help that.

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Just for those who didn’t read the above warning SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

There were big action scenes and explanations missed out that I think needed more time devoted to. For example when Mark makes the long trip to get the radioactive substance and test his solar panels, they kind of just breeze over that and don’t really talk about the solar panels that much. All the mini trips he made were left out, and all of a sudden he’s got his way to communicate with earth and now he’s off on the final long trip to be rescued. And let’s talk about that trip – it was remarkably easy. He was supposed to crash, roll around in his make-shift caravan, and we all are supposed to think he’s dead for a heart-stopping minute. The film made it look all too easy, which I personally think is just plain rude to Watney and his efforts.

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The next thing that upset me was that, despite the film being all about him, it still felt like there wasn’t enough Mark Watney. The huge punch lines in the book and Mark’s fantastic dialogue didn’t feel emphasised enough or focussed on. It definitely felt like the film was concerned most with the plot, whereas the book is all about the characters. Even the secondary characters, like those on earth and his crew-mates, weren’t really fleshed out enough. They were just…secondary characters, and not important. I wanted to hear all about Johannson and Beck and all the others whose names I’ve now forgotten (I’m sorry). I wanted to hear more about the love story between Mark Watney and his potatoes, because really that’s what the book is all about. (I’m joking, but then again I’m not).

It’s going to happen with pretty much any book that’s made into a film – there are bits that you adored in the book which were missed out, or sections that you felt deserved at least twenty minutes and instead got about twenty seconds. It’s difficult watching a book you love being turned into a film which you like, but not as much as the book. Just remember that we’re all going through the same thing and together we’ll make it through.

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Author: El

I've been writing since I was a small child and, even though I was about as good as I was tall (not very), I loved it anyway. My dream is to be a full time writer, hopefully writing books of my own one day in the (hopefully) not too distant future. I'm 20 now and would appreciate any feedback you're happy to give. Alwayslovetowrite started as a place to share bits of my novel writing, and has now turned into a true blog where I rant, rave, mope, laugh, and talk about whatever is on my mind - some days, that's not much. As a book fanatic (I love to write them and read them), I started Alwayslovetoreadalot which is solely for chatting about books, from reviews to wrap ups, to me daydreaming about the good ol' days of story time, to talking about how bookmarks save lives. So come say hi, leave a comment (and a like if you're feeling super generous), and I hope you stick around to watch me flail through life and try to stay (somewhat) sane.

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