Book & Movie Review: The Martian by Andy Weir
Author: Andy Weir, Audiobook narrated by R.C. Bray
Publisher: Broadway Books, an imprint of Crown Publishing/Penguin Random House, Audiobook published by Podium Publishing, Movie produced by Twentieth Century Fox
Publication Date: 2014
Format/Source: Ebook and Audiobook and Movie/Purchased
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 & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he 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 isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him? (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
Warning: There are some slight, tiny spoilers in this review. Read on at your own risk.
Not As In Love As Everyone…
I went into The Martian (I read the book first) being super excited. Everyone was raving about the book! It was supposedly the best book in so long! And woohoo! It’s Science Fiction! And I ended up enjoying the book as a whole, but I did NOT love it like everyone else.
In fact, it made me wonder WHY everyone was loving it so much. So the setting is pretty awesome. Guy stuck on Mars? Yeah, that’s cool. And there were some kind of thrilling parts, but a lot of those parts were resolved in really weird, anti-climactic ways. I enjoyed the humor, but there wasn’t enough of it. (Especially in the movie! Where the heck did all the humor go in the movie?? My absolute favorite part in the book, when he says he’s going to write a consumer review for a computer not working on Mars, is left out of the movie! Plus several other funny parts! BOO.) I also was expecting him to come across an actual, real-life Martian in the book, and was highly disappointed when that didn’t happen. (Sorry for the semi-spoiler, but if you’re going into this book thinking that it’s anything more than a stranded-on-a-deserted-island book set on Mars, you’ll be disappointed.) I did like the theme of humanity coming together to save just one person.
Also, in the book, I liked the character of Watney and his humor, but occasionally, he was pretty sexist. He makes fun of “mama’s boys”, and makes some kind of rude Your Mama jokes: “Also, please tell them that each and every one of their mothers is a prostitute.” […] “P.S. Their sisters, too.” Then later he sent a letter to one of his crew mates, Johanssen (a woman), telling her that she was hot and that she was a nerd, and asked her how she could be a nerd when she’s so hot. He then tells her what to wear “to be more cool.” Then he gripes about how Commander Lewis (also female) told him not to hit on this Johanssen, and says that Lewis only said this because she has spent “a lifetime of commanding sailors.” Um, maybe it’s because Lewis wanted you to treat Johanssen as your equal, not as someone who is simply there to hit on? He also uses the term rape when he really shouldn’t have. I’m not saying the author is sexist or that Watney himself is a big sexist jerk but these are some pretty sexist things and they never really get condemned in the book.
I actually expected the movie to be better than the book. Simply because I thought there would be more action and more suspense, because, really, there isn’t a whole lot in the book. And unfortunately, the movie didn’t live up to my expectations. Some of the action and suspense from the book was left out of the movie, a whole lot of the humor was left out (like I mentioned above), and certain things were changed that seemed really unnecessary. Some of the changes were small and not a huge deal, but really, could we NOT find an Indian actor to play Venkat Kapoor??? I saw somewhere online that they originally wanted Irrfan Khan to play Venkat, but he wasn’t available, so they chose Chiwetel Ejiofor and changed the character’s first name to Vincent. Which, okay, I’m glad they didn’t choose a white guy instead, but REALLY? There wasn’t ONE OTHER Indian actor who was available to play an Indian character??? Come on. So I didn’t really love the movie, either.
I partially read the Ebook and partially listened to the audiobook, and I think that R.C. Bray did a good job with the narration. I kept hearing his voice, too, as I was watching the movie, thinking of how he said the lines instead of how Matt Damon said them. I think Damon did a good job with the part, too, but I think maybe I just like Bray’s sarcasm a bit better.
My rating for The Martian by Andy Weir (the book and audiobook and movie):
More like 3.5 stars. I enjoyed all three versions, but I did not love them like so many other people did.