• Published a book you want to tell us about? Uploaded a YouTube video you want to share?

    Normally you'll need 100 posts to self-promote, but with an upgraded membership you can do so with your first post.

    Find out more here: Become a Supporting Member

The Martian (Film: 2015)

cyprus7

Stories about life, reality & worlds unknown
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
97
Location
Tokyo, Japan
That is an excellent presentation from Weir. Interestingly the one other science complaint I had I dismissed as being something he'd probably researched better than me and that was the wind. I seemed to remember reading somewhere some time back that, because of the low density of the atmosphere, you'd hardly feel a 150kph wind on Mars. I figured maybe in a dust storm the inertia would be in the dust so breezed past that one of my complaints. And then Weir goes and says "yeah I knew about that, but I wanted an awesome start to the book..."
Yes, he was an entertaining presenter. The Martian wind and the radiation issues. Still, he had the science down well enough that keeping the entertainment value of these two, somewhat distorted, in the book turned out OK. I felt that mainstream readers can enjoy the SF aspect of the story while the science geeks can fantasize about some radiation-resistance mutant/cyborg or material that ends up taking humanity to Mars, one day.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,555
Location
Scottish Highlands
Yes, he was an entertaining presenter. The Martian wind and the radiation issues. Still, he had the science down well enough that keeping the entertainment value of these two, somewhat distorted, in the book turned out OK. I felt that mainstream readers can enjoy the SF aspect of the story while the science geeks can fantasize about some radiation-resistance mutant/cyborg or material that ends up taking humanity to Mars, one day.
The radiation one I'm prepared to accept - I think it's reasonable to assume we can and will eventually crack that particular problem. It's ridiculous to assume NASA will only send pensioners to Mars because of the radiation risk. Please! As I say reasonable to assume that a solution will be found for that one. Though maybe not quite in his hoped for timescale.

The wind one was a bit naughty and he admitted as much. Which was fine!

I liked the hydrazine mistake that would have raised the temperature of the hab by 400 degrees C. Oops! But had he figured that one himself it would have been pretty easy to come up with a solution Mars is after all, as Watney kept telling us, very cold. Loosing a bit of heat would not have been a show stopper.
 

Dennis E. Taylor

Formerly Bizmuth. Destroying Worlds Since {mumble}
Supporter
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Messages
438
Location
Vancouver, BC
Listen, if Spock can physically see his planet being eaten by red matter, when he was dropped off on a planet so far away that the Enterprise continued at warp for some period of time after dropping off Chris Pine, then I'd have to say that Weir's science glitches don't even tweak the meter.

At some point you just have to turn off the brain and go with the story.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,555
Location
Scottish Highlands
Ah but that depends on the story; this is very specifically hard SF and, in Weir's own words, it was to be written to be as scientifically accurate as possible. And he has achieved that to an astonishing degree and also hat's off to him that, where he has slipped up a little, he's very open about owning up to it. Also in this case the reality of the hard science is so much a part of the story. An example maybe of reality is sometimes stranger than fiction...
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,555
Location
Scottish Highlands
Well I've watched the film now and, no surprise, I much prefer the book. Visually it was great but so many subtle details were left out that I felt if I had not read the book I'd have been asking a lot of questions. For example:
in the book he clearly explains how he freeze dries the potatoes by simply putting them outside. This is not mentioned in the film and, indeed, after the hab blowout we see all his healthy looking potatoes inside the hab. So what's stopping him from planting some of those? In the book of course that wouldn't work because they were freeze dried. There were many other similar bits that were similarly incomplete and why, oh why, did the film have to thrown in actually doing the Ironman bit at the end, which in the book was treated as little more than a joke?

Visually great but so much was missing it was a much lesser story as a result.
 

Silas Wulf

You stay classy, Planet Earth
Joined
Jul 3, 2016
Messages
5
The movie is the basically the book, minus some stuff. One of the best book-to-film adaptations I've ever seen.
 

Dave

Custom title not found
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Jan 5, 2001
Messages
18,628
Location
Way on Down South, London Town
I haven't read the book but would recommend this.
I enjoyed it, but thought it was a "by the numbers" American movie...
I was hoping that the Astronaut wouldn't survive and that the rest of the movie would be about how America dealt with the loss.
It did have that annoying habit in modern movies of having just too many final twists. The odds of pulling off the mission were already astonomical, but by the end they were unbelievable.

When I watch this movie I thought "You can't live off potato's for years...
When I was a kid, a TV programme had someone who had only ever eaten baked beans! (It may have been Blue Peter.)

However, it can't be very healthy and when he shaved getting ready for Hermes, you could see that his body was covered in sores. I wasn't sure if that was his diet, or the explosion, or the radiation?

Incidentally the book also rather dodged the issue of radiation. It was discussed on the planet with a passage that said without radiation shielding on mars even your "cancers would have cancers." However very little time was spent discussing the issue on the Hermes.
Not due to the radiation then?

Oh that is annoying - he even makes the point in the book that he has many gods to pray to as he is a Hindu!
I know I'm coming very late to this, but I thought I'd point out that that line is in the film too. No idea why they needed to alter the forename though.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,555
Location
Scottish Highlands
It did have that annoying habit in modern movies of having just too many final twists. The odds of pulling off the mission were already astonomical, but by the end they were unbelievable.
One of the things that bugged me rather at the end of the film was using his space suit atmosphere as a propellant. This was something he considered in the book but rejected as being completely impractical, which I would agree with, but the film clearly decided a little more tension was required and went ahead and did it. An unnecessary and unrealistic twist that was rejected in the book.
 

Chris Before

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2016
Messages
6
Location
England
I agree, the number of "final twists" in films often seems excessive. However by the end of The Martian, i was so surprised by the constant ingenuity of Matt Damon's character that i went with the flow and thoroughly enjoyed the film. In contrast i have seen a number of films where there is only one final twist, and now, because of raised expectations, I feel let down, wondering, was that it? Surely they could have done more?
 

Justin Swanton

Loving the view from up here.
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
345
Location
Durban, South Africa
I read the book twice and saw the film several times and liked both very much. But one big niggler doesn't go away. John Braine in On Writing a Novel talks about the 'point of improbability' - sooner or later something in a novel won't be plausible for no other reason than a novel, being a story, is not real life. His advice was to disguise it, slip it past, so it doesn't get noticed.

The problem with The Martian is that the point of improbability is a huge elephant right up front and centre - the Martian storm that leaves Watney stranded in the first place. In a book where the fine points of space science are carefully presented and utilised, a storm on Mars that blows away the comm dish and nearly kills Watney is just too hard to swallow - it doesn't fit, in a world where scientific detail is meant to fit. I would have preferred it if Andy Weir had applied his undeniable ingenuity and found another plot device to leave Andy, suspected dead, on Mars.

For example: There is a marsquake and a crevice opens where the comm dish and Watney happen to be located. Both fall in. Watney's life support monitor is damaged and the crew think he might be dead. As they are organising themselves to rescue him they discover that the marsquake has damaged the MAV's fuel tanks, springing a leak which they don't have time to fix. The MAV must be used immediately to return to the Hermes and even then they will be taking a chance. There is a moment of angst whilst Commander Lewis weighs up staying longer to rescue Watney or leaving whilst they can. She leaves, convinced Mark is dead. And you're away...
 
Last edited:

REBerg

Registered Alien
Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
4,250
Location
Kepler-440b
I read the book twice and saw the film several times and liked both very much. But one big niggler doesn't go away. John Braine in On Writing a Novel talks about the 'point of improbability' - sooner or later something in a novel won't be plausible for no other reason than a novel, being a story, is not real life. His advice was to disguise it, slip it past, so it doesn't get noticed.

The problem with The Martian is that the point of improbability is a huge elephant right up front and centre - the Martian storm that leaves Watney stranded in the first place. In a book where the fine points of space science are carefully presented and utilised, a storm on Mars that blows away the comm dish and nearly kills Watney is just too hard to swallow - it doesn't fit, in a world where scientific detail is meant to fit. I would have preferred it if Andy Weir had applied his undeniable ingenuity and found another plot device to leave Andy, suspected dead, on Mars.

For example: There is a marsquake and a crevice opens where the comm dish and Watney happen to be located. Both fall in. Watney's life support monitor is damaged and the crew think he might be dead. As they are organising themselves to rescue him they discover that the marsquake has damaged the MAV's fuel tanks, springing a leak which they don't have time to fix. The MAV must be used immediately to return to the Hermes and even then they will be taking a chance. There is a moment of angst whilst Commander Lewis weighs up staying longer to rescue Watney or leaving whilst they can. She leaves, convinced Mark is dead. And you're away...
I agree. I just recently watched the movie and thought it was remarkable.
The idea of one sandstorm wiping out the whole mission, though, seemed improbable. Surely a multi-billion dollar expedition would be better prepared for Mars surface conditions than that.
 

Vertigo

Mad Mountain Man
Supporter
Joined
Jun 29, 2010
Messages
7,555
Location
Scottish Highlands
I read the book twice and saw the film several times and liked both very much. But one big niggler doesn't go away. John Braine in On Writing a Novel talks about the 'point of improbability' - sooner or later something in a novel won't be plausible for no other reason than a novel, being a story, is not real life. His advice was to disguise it, slip it past, so it doesn't get noticed.

The problem with The Martian is that the point of improbability is a huge elephant right up front and centre - the Martian storm that leaves Watney stranded in the first place. In a book where the fine points of space science are carefully presented and utilised, a storm on Mars that blows away the comm dish and nearly kills Watney is just too hard to swallow - it doesn't fit, in a world where scientific detail is meant to fit. I would have preferred it if Andy Weir had applied his undeniable ingenuity and found another plot device to leave Andy, suspected dead, on Mars.

For example: There is a marsquake and a crevice opens where the comm dish and Watney happen to be located. Both fall in. Watney's life support monitor is damaged and the crew think he might be dead. As they are organising themselves to rescue him they discover that the marsquake has damaged the MAV's fuel tanks, springing a leak which they don't have time to fix. The MAV must be used immediately to return to the Hermes and even then they will be taking a chance. There is a moment of angst whilst Commander Lewis weighs up staying longer to rescue Watney or leaving whilst they can. She leaves, convinced Mark is dead. And you're away...
I agree. I just recently watched the movie and thought it was remarkable.
The idea of one sandstorm wiping out the whole mission, though, seemed improbable. Surely a multi-billion dollar expedition would be better prepared for Mars surface conditions than that.
The point is that a Martian expedition wouldn't need to be prepared for anything like that because it couldn't happen. Because of the extremely low atmospheric pressure a 200mph wind would only feel like a breeze. For it to do as much damage as was presented in both the book and the film is pretty much impossible. It's actually doubly naughty since a Mars storm is presented later much more realistically when It takes Watney ages to realise that he is actually in the middle of a big dust storm. Can't remember whether that actually featured in the film or not but it is in the book.

A 'marsquake' wouldn't cut it either as Mars is not tectonically inactive.

Weir said in a presentation that he could have come up with other scenarios but he just couldn't figure one that would be caused by 'nature' and, since the whole book is essentially man versus nature, he really wanted to have nature get the first shot in for dramatic effect.

For myself I'm prepared to live with that one. But, in what is essentially very much hard SF, it was a little naughty! :)
 

Vince W

Towel Champion
Supporter
Joined
Sep 9, 2011
Messages
2,799
The point is that a Martian expedition wouldn't need to be prepared for anything like that because it couldn't happen. Because of the extremely low atmospheric pressure a 200mph wind would only feel like a breeze. For it to do as much damage as was presented in both the book and the film is pretty much impossible. It's actually doubly naughty since a Mars storm is presented later much more realistically when It takes Watney ages to realise that he is actually in the middle of a big dust storm. Can't remember whether that actually featured in the film or not but it is in the book.

A 'marsquake' wouldn't cut it either as Mars is not tectonically inactive.

Weir said in a presentation that he could have come up with other scenarios but he just couldn't figure one that would be caused by 'nature' and, since the whole book is essentially man versus nature, he really wanted to have nature get the first shot in for dramatic effect.

For myself I'm prepared to live with that one. But, in what is essentially very much hard SF, it was a little naughty! :)
I don't really consider The Martian to be sf, but rather a science-thriller.

The storm situation always bothered me a little, but I let it go as I enjoyed both the book and the film. I think a rogue meteor shower might have been a better option as a start to the story. They have to get the rocket off planet and out of harm's way or they'd all die. It's another stretch, but equally dramatic.
 

REBerg

Registered Alien
Supporter
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
4,250
Location
Kepler-440b
The storm situation always bothered me a little, but I let it go as I enjoyed both the book and the film. I think a rogue meteor shower might have been a better option as a start to the story. They have to get the rocket off planet and out of harm's way or they'd all die. It's another stretch, but equally dramatic.
That would work for me. Even smallish meteors would pack a big punch in the thinner Martian atmosphere.
One puts a hole in the MAV fuel tank, starting the takeoff timer. Another, takes Watney and his suit communications out, which forces the rest of the crew to conclude he's dead.
On the other hand, they could have gone with a Sharknado. :D
 

Justin Swanton

Loving the view from up here.
Joined
Aug 18, 2015
Messages
345
Location
Durban, South Africa
That's interesting, I really didn't know that one. but unfortunately they do go on to say: "Most of the marsquakes, if they do still occur, are likely relatively minor, the sort of thing that wouldn't rattle a shelf or a nerve in San Francisco."
But notice that faults on Mars may the kind that "produces large void space in the subsurface," Ferrill told SPACE.com. "Over time, the overlying surface material can collapse to create the pit chains." - and down goes Mark and comm dish. :(
 
Top