The Martian: Page vs Screen

Page versus Screen - The Martian

The Martian is one of those books that has been hyped a lot on the internet. I can remember hearing about it in a video, in which I also discovered the book would become a movie. Wow, that’s a lot of pressure for one book! It took me a couple of months to get to the book, but in September I finally read it. And now that I’ve also seen the movie I need the talk about it.

The book

The Martian is a science-fiction book (“Mars” in Dutch), with a heavy emphasis on the science part. But it’s also very humorous and optimistic. Which is quite a feat, considering the main character is stuck on Mars and has little chance of survival.

The book begins when the main character, Mark Watney, gets stuck on Mars. He and his crew are on a mission on Mars when they need to leave in a hurry. Mark gets hit by a communication antennae and when his bio-monitor flattens, his crew mates believe him dead. Mark isn’t dead of course and after discovering he’s the only man on Mars, he needs to figure out how to survive.

This could’ve been a very boring book, but it wasn’t! Mark is a very funny and upbeat character and he takes the reader with him on his quest of survival. He tackles the obstacles that come his way very good natured and even when he’s made terrible mistakes, he manages to make fun of them.

They way the book is written made the story seem very realistic to me. Partially because it’s just a good story, but also because there’s a lot of science in the book. I admit, sometimes my eyes glazed over when the author started talking chemistry, but these parts (and others scienc-y parts, it’s not just chemistry) made the book feel very real.

Actions had very real consequence. Not thinking thing through fully also had very real consequences. And sometimes, there’s just bad luck. Also explained very scientifically and in a way that made you realise something bad was going to happen and you could only keep your breath and cross your fingers and read on…

So yes, this book was worth it’s hype for me. I love reading it and I can only recommend it! You shouldn’t be nervous about it being a science-fiction book, it’s mostly a humorous survival book that happens to take place on Mars. It could’ve also been a desert island, but it happened to be giant red rock in space.

The Martian Movie

The Movie

I was quite disappointed with the Martian movie. Maybe this is one of those examples where you should first watch the movie and enjoy it, not knowing anything about the story. Then, afterwards you can read the book and be blown away by how much funnier and event-fuller it is. Which is my main complain with the movie. Not funny enough and not enough things happen.

I really enjoyed reading the Martian and I loved Mark Watney’s voice and sense of humour in the book. In the movie I found this lacking. There also happen so many things in the book, which aren’t in the movie. I was waiting for those things to happen and when they didn’t, I felt disappointed. The book made the whole living on Mars experience feel real and hard. It was survival. The movie made it look like it was a piece of cake.

I did liked the ending of the movie though, well most of it. Hollywood made it unnecessary long (you know that thing they do with uncertain movie endings where they put an “after the ending” part into a movie? To make sure everybody really really really understands this was a happy ending? They did this for Pride and Prejudice too, which I absolutely hated!) and they’d put a bit of unnecessary space antics in it, but it was also really thrilling and it made the movie a lot better.

As I’ve said: if you want to see the movie, do it before you read the book. It won’t make the book look boring or soft. If you’ve read the book, know that the movie in no way lives up to the story. If you’re okay with this, go watch it. Otherwise, just, you know, reread the book.

Has any of you read the book or seen the movie? Or both? What did you think?

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  • Reply Fab November 9, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    I’ve read the book in April I think? and I loved it, I gave it 5/5 on Goodreads! I agree with what you said about the writing style making the story feel very realistic (as I agree on skimming over the overly-scientific parts that I couldn’t fully understand :P).

    I also saw the movie and liked it enough. When I first heard of Matt Demon as Mark I was so unimpressed :/ Interstellar is still pretty recent and he also played an astronaut stranded on a planet.. so it sounded a bit redundant. I ended up liking his performance, but the overall movie was a tad underwhelming compared to the book.

    Although I overall enjoyed it, the ending was too cheesy for me, and by that I mean the part they completely made up, like you said, for making sure that everyone would get the ‘happy ending’ feeling. But what annoyed me the most is that it wasn’t Beck to pull Mark back up in the spaceship, but it was Lewis!! I get it that Jessica Chastain is more famous than Sebastian Stan but they already didn’t show a lot of the whole crew, so I was very disappointed that they changed this passage! It made Beck feel almost irrelevant to the whole thing, whereas in the book they’re more or less equally involved in everything that’s happening. But yeah, Hollywood!

    /Rant over 😛

    (I really enjoyed this blog post! ~hugs x)

    • Reply plutomeisje November 11, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      I had the same reaction when I heard Matt Damon was casted as Mark, but I do think it was a good choice. (One of the better in the movie, actually).

      Warning: Spoilers!

      I completely forgot about Lewis being the one catching Mark. It did annoy me when I was watching the movie. It makes her a bad captain, like all the Star Trek captains that want to go on all the missions and then almost get murdered. I also felt like they showed more of the inside of the ship than of the relations between the crew mates and how they felt.
      What irked me most about the ending was the Iron Man bit though. :p

  • Reply An November 10, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Ik las ook het boek eerst, vond ik echt geweldig met de humor, schrijfstijl en het realisme. En ik zag de film vorige week. Vond de film wel goed om het je wat beter te kunnen voorstellen en het nam me een beetje mee terug naar mijn reis door Wadi Rum in Jordanië, maar het boek was zoveel beter.
    Ik vond ook dat het in de film allemaal net iets te gemakkelijk ging en er was te weinig humor, want dat maakte het boek net zo goed.

    • Reply plutomeisje November 11, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      Awel, ik ben blij dat ik niet de enige ben die vindt dat het allemaal wat te gemakkelijk was, zeker aangezien iedereen de film ook keihard aanprijst. 🙂

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