Well I suppose all of you have already guessed what this post is going to be about. It’s one of the most talked-about book (at least for me) these past few months, especially with its movie coming out and some news regarding a certain red planet. That’s right, after more than two weeks, I have finally finished The Martian by Andy Weir, and I am ready to talk about it!
Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Broadway Books
Date Published: 2011
Num of pages: 384
Date read: October 9th 2015
First of all, I would like to warn any of you who haven’t read the book for spoilers, and for those of you who have read the book but haven’t seen the movie as well, because I might be comparing the book with the movie on some parts of this review.
The Martian is a story with the main character, Mark Watney, an astronaut, was left behind by his crewmates in Mars without them knowing it. And the story revolves around his struggle to survive in the planet, try to make contact with the people at Earth, and hoping to come back home.
I have been very intrigued to read this book ever since it came into my radar not so long ago. I might have seen it a few times mentioned by people in their blogs, not to mention it also won the 2014 Goodreads Awards but only recently did I actually realize that this might be a novel I would like. And this book is certainly my kind of book, because I love books concerning a little bit of science woven around a fiction backdrop – or vice versa. But I only decided to read this book when the movie was about to come out and when my book club decided to read it for this month.
For me reading The Martian was a super fun experience. This book is filled with so many twists and turns and it just grips you from the start. I love how the narration was from Mark’s log entries of his days on the planet, which really shows how you can really get into his head and what he’s thinking or what he’s feeling.
Of course the premise itself is already intriguing from the beginning. But the execution was excellent. I love all the science-y facts that Mark put inside his stories, it was so fun to read because I’m a huge science geek. Although I do have to admit that there are some times when I’d think that the facts are way too much and readers who have no interest in chemistry or engineering or biology might be a little bored or confused.
But moving on to the characters in the story, obviously there’s Mark, the main character and most of the time, you’re stuck with reading about him. Which could be tricky for the author because if the readers dislike him, they’d probably be uninterested to continue reading the book. But I personally really like him. I like how optimistic he is and how funny he is about everything. It really lightens up the mood. But I think that he wasn’t very realistic in terms of his optimism – like if I was in his position, I’d curl up and cry and give up after some minor setbacks. But Mark was so optimistic, even when his hard work got crushed or things didn’t go out as planned. I thought that his attitude was a little too unrealistic, as if no human on earth would be as optimistic as he was if they were stuck in a planet all by themself.
Other than that, I don’t have any big complaints about the book. The plot was amazing, I love how there’s always something that really grips the readers into attention, and how everything was written with a lot of thrill in it that makes me hard to stop reading.
Now comparing the book to the movie, I still have mixed feelings about it. I regret not reading the book earlier. I watched the movie while I was still on page 100-something of the book, so during the movie I was blown away by the whole story and plot. And when I got home and read the same story, it kind of lost the thrill and magic in it a little, because I already knew what was going to happen. I’m sure I would’ve loved the book even more if I hadn’t watched the movie first, but anyways, the movie was fantastic for me. Thinking about it now, I love how it really stayed true to the book. It even kept a whole lot of the sentences and lines from the book, and not many of the major plotlines were changed.
I also loved the portrayal of the characters in the movie, especially Mark’s. Not to mention when Mark’s plants failed to grow because of the airlock explosion and when Matt Damon portrayed a very angry and frustrated Mark. I really loved that scene, because unlike in the book where most of the time Mark was optimistic and didn’t feel very down when his potatoes died, in the movie you can really relate to him and he really feels like a real person with real feelings and who gets his hope down sometimes. I would also think that the story would’ve been better if Mark had a relationship with someone on earth or with one of his crewmates. Not a romantic relationship in particular, but if he’d mention more about how much he misses his parents or maybe he close bond of friendship with Lewis or Martinez, it would really show his personality and humanness more.
And what I really liked about the movie is that it didn’t really show too many science facts from the book but enough to make the audience think, yet not get too bored. Also, the humour in the movies match the humour in the books, which is another plus point. Of course the action and the special effects in the film was also incredible, and the ending was actually much better than the book. When I reached the last page of the book and it just ended I thought, that’s it? What happens next? Did they go back to earth and live happily ever after? In the movie they did make a better closure and it was more satisfying than the book.
So all in all, I regretted watching the movie in the middle of reading the actual book. It really destroyed the nuance of the book for me, but for once I actually like the movie better than the book. It was more gripping and more fun. I’m not saying that the book was bad, I still really like it a lot. I just thought that a little too much optimism in a character such as Mark might be bad for the story.