Well, I did it! After months of talking about it, thinking about it and looking at it on my nightstand, I finally read The Martian. I’ve actually had the sample of it on my Kindle for years, but never bought the full version. When the movie came out, I finally made the jump and bought my husband (really, for my husband!) a copy so he could see what it was about before I dragged him to the theater. Yet still it sat, unread by me until now. After all that time, all I have to say is that I don’t know why I waited so long.
Astronaut Mark Watney is part of a six person crew to on a one month mission to Mars. A catastrophic sandstorm on day six, however, forces the team to make an emergency evacuation. The situation turns dire as Mark is impaled by flying debris and swept away into the storm. With his vital signs reading zero on the monitor and attempts to locate him unsuccessful, the crew has no choice but to leave him for dead and head back to Earth. Through a fortuitous series of events, however, Mark awakes the next day to find himself alive but alone on the desolate planet. With his communication array completely destroyed by the storm, Mark must find his own way to survive on Mars.
Arghhh…this is going to basically turn into a book vs. movie duel. Normally, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion; hands down, the book would win. This time, though, it’s not as simple as that. This book is fantastic. Read it. It is not some circa 1960s cheesy little green man story. And the movie! I loved the movie — absolutely LOVED the movie. Matt Damon was the perfect choice for the role. Humorous, likable and completely believable, Damon did a fantastic job bringing Mark Watney to life.
Director Ridley Scott was equally strong, staying largely true to the book and making choices that enhanced rather than changed the essence of the story. Not everything from a 400+ page book can be included in an under two hour movie, though, and I agree with the parts that were cut. The book is also much heavier on the technical descriptions. If you are interested in that (and they were very interesting and well-written) you will enjoy the heck out of the book. In the movie, the technical elements are also a significant part, but paraphrased in the interest of time and, well, interest of a larger audience.
One major area in which the movie and the book differed was in the ending. (I won’t spoil it, but I will speak generally about it.) The movie ending was more suited to a movie ending, and also answered questions that I had when I finished the book. I wonder, though, if I still would have had those questions had I read the book first. Hmm…I suppose I’ll never know!
So how about you — do you usually prefer the book or the movie? Tell me all about it in the comments below.
Until then, happy reading!
Little Book Reviews
Ooh, by the way — if you do decide the read The Martian, take a minute and read the blurb about the author. It explains so much.