Tag Archives: andy weir

Go see The Martian (Movie Review)

It was a given that Ms. Barrows and I were going to go see The Martian, Ridley Scott’s multi-million dollar blockbuster film that was released this past weekend.

See, Mr. Gette and myself have been captivated by Andy Weir’s novel since we read it over a year ago during the 2014 March break (as made evident by our texts during that short but exciting period in our reading lives). We proselytized for this book for months. We put it on display. We recommended it to everyone who so much as looked at the library. We did not shut up about it at the lunch table. We were insufferable.

When Bookriot announced The Martian was opted and being made into a film, we were ecstatic. When we saw the teaser trailer and found out Matt Damon would be playing the titular character, we ran victory laps on the lower level of the library, high-fived everyone in the vicinity, and threw books in the air while Queen’s We Are The Champions played in the background. It was, to say the least, a celebratory moment in our reading lives.

But we balked – we were hesitant. We should have been the ones who were first in line for the midnight showing. But we weren’t. We were…afraid. Book-to-movie adaptations are almost never successful. And when they are successful, book fans must respect the film enough to accept it as a different entity. But then the reviews started coming in (93% on Rotten Tomatoes!). By Saturday, we were both in the theater. And thus, here is our review.

IT’S SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD.

Ahem. But really, SO GOOD.

so-good

JG: They got the tone just right. One of the best parts of the book is how funny it is, and i was worried that would be lost in the pursuit of super-serious-suspenseful-space…movie. And it does have its serious moments, but the jokes are still there. I haven’t laughed this hard in a theater in a long time. And oh man, is it a beautiful movie. I give it five Martian Potatoes.

JB: To rip off the Wired review, the movie is the book with better editing. Those who read Weir’s book will remember the paragraphs upon paragraphs of science-y, engineer-y text. With the help of visuals and, well, better editing, those descriptions are pared down. When Matt Damon looks into the vlog and does describe science, it is always funny and fascinating. I didn’t expect the film to have moving and/or serious and/or touching moments. But it did. And they were, to be repetitive, SO GOOD. If you can, take the time/money to see The Martian in a 3D IMAX theater. It felt like you were on Mars with Mark Watney, harvesting martian potatoes and kicking science butt. I give it 5 stars (harhar, space joke).

If you need any more encouraging, watch this:

it's over

-Signing off, Steely-eyed rocket man (James Gette and Jenny Barrows)

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Zach Bloom’s Book Review

martian

Red Bliss

By Zachary Bloom

One part botanist and one part mechanical engineer, astronaut Mark Watney is ideally suited to attempt to survive in a climate utterly and remarkably unsuited to him. When he is mistakenly left for dead, alone, on Mars, Watney must use all of his intellect and perseverance with the extremely limited resources available to him in order to survive. His initial plan, to plant potatoes in the HAB (Martian Habitat), in order to survive until the next mission lands, four years later, gets many-a-time complicated. Such obstacles as creating a suitable climate for crops in a confined space, while providing them with the necessary nutrients for their survival threaten Watney along the way. His own fecal matter being one of the integral resources in this process, The Martian refuses to balk from the unglamorous.

Weir boldly writes a book with a single character, told in small episodes of retrospective narrative, as Watney writes log entries detailing his struggles. This boldness is apparent from the first sentence.

I’m pretty much f*****. That’s my considered opinion. F*****.

There being a single character, the book sometimes feels claustrophobic, and Weir occasionally departs from Mars to Earth, providing us with some much-desired human interaction. Despite this occasional claustrophobia, The Martian is a success, finding true suspense through its log entry style, the very essence of a first person narrative. Weir is also unfalteringly hilarious, punctuating the grim and nearly insurmountable obstacles of Watney with a sharp wit.

There is a seldom-explored gap in science fiction writing, somewhere in-between the examination of foreign things function in our systems (think aliens coming to earth) and how we survive in foreign systems (think people exploring other planets). Weir fills that void perfectly, exploring the viability of our systems in foreign places. The Martian strikes a perfect balance, being based in hard science —Weir researched orbital mechanics and astronomy in order to make the book consistent with existing technology — while still being exciting and fantastical at heart. This book has enough science and thought provoking challenges to be enjoyed by hardcore science fiction fans, while still being unpretentious and funny enough to entertain

In Mark Watney, Weir gives us a character who matches his humorous wit with astounding competence. Again and again, The Martian has the brilliance of presenting seemingly insurmountable challenges to Watney, who, through blood and sweat, brilliantly devises sensible solutions. Hilarious, smart, resilient, and utterly human, Watney’s character is the cement of the novel. When a reader picks up The Martian, he makes a commitment to spend 369 pages trapped on Mars. Weir, mercifully, has given us the perfect companion.