After reading the book, The Martian, we planned on seeing the movie. Even though we went to see Star Wars in theatres, we usually do movie night at home. Movies are expensive and unless you know it’s going to be good, and even if it is, we choose not to spend our discretionary funds on it.
The Martian became available this week On Demand; we knew we’d watch it over Christmas break/staycation. Last night was the night and we cued it up to watch on VuDu. Super easy, it plays through our X-Box, and we never have to leave the house. It isn’t available on Redbox, and wasn’t available to rent (unfortunately!), so we now own it.
First, we read the book together for our family reading. Other than following the general storyline, it’s not the book. So many details left out, so many changes. One thing I tired of in the book was the constant f-bombs — they just seemed gratuitous — but in the movie they are all but absent. In the movie, I could better see justification for all the language. As my husband pointed out, with a PG-13 rating, they could probably only use it once (which they did).
I had read other on-line reviews which complained about the lack of strength in the female character, Annie, NASA Media Relations Director, had in the film. In the book, Annie, played by Saturday Night Live alum, Kristen Wiig, was a straight-talking, f-bomb dropping, hardened realist. She didn’t allow the men to override her, and she used a lot of 4-letter expletives to vent her frustration with the NASA director or feelings on the situation of Mark Watneys’ plight on Mars. To keep the PG-13 rating, I’m sure her role had to be minimized, as well as her vernacular. I think there could have been a way for her to still be a strong character, without sacrificing the generous PG-13 rating, but that was the call of the screenplay writer and director.
Second, after reading all the intricacies of the book, my boys decided (again) that the book was way better than the movie. I think the movie was great; it was exciting and action-packed, but it certainly was a different experience than the book. If you are concerned about f-bomb language, maybe the movie is a better way to experience this story. However, there is a scene in the beginning that shows Mark Watney, the main character left on Mars, sewing himself up from a projectile impaling him. There is also an F-bomb or two, but watching adults work together to save one person; underscoring how important one person is as both a symbol of human accomplishment, but also human compassion, was inspiring.
Third, I highly recommend this book as a family read-aloud — even with the language — we enjoyed hearing my husband read us The Martian. This story encouraged my children to learn more about the NASA program and we were able to revisit what we had learned from our visits to the Neil Armstrong Space Museum, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Museum, and Museum of Flight. All of these great museums have space suits, gear, food, and tools used on actual space expeditions.
The movie was fun, family-friendly, and worth the purchase as my husband and I plan to watch it again!
Have you seen The Martian? How did you like it?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”