All right folks, today we’ll be discussing Andy Weir’s book The Martian and its upcoming movie rendition featuring the one and only Matt Damon. So, take off your EVA suit, get comfy in your Hab, and grab some Martian Coffee. Just don’t put on any disco... (Hit Read More To Continue)
Ok, so here we have The Martian by Andy Weir. Weir originally self-published the novel back in 2011. Numerous awards and accommodations later, we can expect a movie debut in October. Not bad for your first book. In fact, Weir has amazed us in more ways than one. First, I’m just going to throw out there that Weir has written fan-fic for Ready Player One. I understand if you need to drop everything and look it up. Anyway, this is a nerd book to the core. If you hate math or science, this isn’t for you. The man goes deep into it. As a chemist, I can attest this is the real deal. So who is this guy, the next Michael Crichton? Not really… just your average sci-fi loving computer programmer who Googled his way into a believable intergalactic novel. Yes, I’m serious. Weir is not an astronaut, nor did he consult one. He doesn’t work for NASA. Hell, he isn’t even an engineer. He pulled a Tom Clancy researched all aspects of his book for it to have a factual base. What are you with the infinite knowledge of the internet?
Mark Watney is the main (and really only) character of the book. Watney, a botanist and engineer is one of 6 astronauts in the Ares 3 mission to Mars. What was supposed to be a month of sample collecting took a turn for the worse. A severe dust storm forced an emergency evacuation. Things seem to be picking up, eh? Well, in the midst of the chaos, Watney was impaled by an antenna, thought to be dead, and was left behind. Except he wasn’t dead…aaand cue plot.
At first, Watney’s main goal is survival. A rescue mission would take 4 years to get to him (if they even knew he was alive). He has to figure out how to survive for at least 4 years. Then of course there’s the communication issue. As previously stated, he was impaled by an antenna. What are those for? Oh. Yea. Hardships and struggle ensue as he works out a way to communicate with NASA in hopes of rescue.
Now, this is all well and good, but I’m sure most people are getting bored. What is this, Gravity v 2.0? Nope. Watney is not your average astronaut. The man is hilarious. I could fill this entire article with hilarious Watney quotes damning science and making fun of NASA. Weir has done an incredible job of melding comedy and science. He infused his sense of humor with real science to create this incredible novel that even Buzz Aldrin approves of (no word yet on Neil Armstrong). I mean, what kind of astronaut would make a joke about boobs in a communication to NASA that the whole world will see? Mark Watney, of course.
This one’s a game changer. My boyfriend recommended the book to me. When I finally decided to upload it to my Kindle, I was stopped. Both he and a friend of mine told me reading isn’t the way to enjoy this. Audiobook. The book is narrated by RC Bray. This man is what brings Mark Watney alive. I’m sorry Matt Damon, you can win as many awards as you want, but Bray will always be the #1 space pirate. Please, I beg you, read The Martian..or..I mean, listen to it. Please listen to The Martian.
With such a high bar set by the book, fans are eager to see what is being done with the movie. There are already many hesitations. First, the science. There’s a lot of it. Will they engage the viewers in chemistry lessons? Will they show the math of getting enough potatoes to last a man for over a year? One can only hope. While some may find it boring, it’s vital to the storyline.
Another issue raised is the fact that the majority of the book is composed of Watney’s logs. There’s no real dialogue to get the message across. It’s Watney logging his activity and explaining what his plans are and how they come out. He doesn’t go Cast Away style and talk to inanimate objects. How will the directors convey his story? It would seem practical to cast his monologues over the activities he’s performing. He could possibly record things live as he were doing them. It’d be difficult to have Damon introduce the monologue and then go into a flashback. You really need someone describing his plans. ot everyone is an expert on turning hydrazine into water. Things could get confusing.
One of the biggest fan concerns of the movie is the possibility they wrote a family into Watney’s life. This is a huge diversion from the book. Sorry if it’s a spoiler, but Watney has no wife and kids. It’s one of Weir’s great ideas. Without a big backstory, there’s less emotional drama to deal with. No whiny bitching. This is a hard-knocks tale of Frankenstein Martian botany, next-level MacGyver engineering skills, and chemistry pyrotechnics. Of course fans are fanatic. Through my research it seems to be up in the air if Watney will have a family in the movie. Some believe there was some creative cut skills to make the trailer. Some fans believe the family actually shown belongs to another astronaut, Martinez. Only time will really tell on that one.
As for the rest of the movie, there seems to be a strong cast. My only potential dings would be the casting of Chiwetel Ejiofor as Venkat Kapoor. How the hell are you going to use a British Nigerian for an Indian character? Meanwhile, Donald Glover has been cast as Rich Purnell, the socially inept yet aw-inspiring underdog kind of hero. This should be good. Glover has already proven his awkward , yet hilarious geeky goofy abilities in Community. Kate Mara plays the software ninja/hottie astronaut Johanssen. Kristen Wiig will fit perfectly into the bitchy, neurotic head of NASA’s media relations. I’m wary of Jessica Chastain playing Commander Lewis. I mean, this is a hardass traditional military background astronaut. I know she doesn’t have the skills, but I’d personally cast American Ninja Warrior Meagan Martin as Commander Lewis. The chick is totally badass and looks more capable of tipping a 200 pound man out of his bunk. Just sayin.
Nevertheless, The Martian was an incredible book. While Weir has said there won’t be a sequel in the works, he continues to write. Of course, after such an amazing start, people will continue to read. As far as the movie goes, they have an incredible cast and an amazing story to tell. I have high hopes for this one. Stay tuned as I’m sure I’ll be giving it one hell of a movie review. Until then, help us figure out how Aquaman can control whales. They’re mammals!