The Martian - In Your Face, Neil Armstrong

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

The Martian - In Your Face, Neil Armstrong

The Martian is the best hard sci-fi space movie in years, and a return to form for director Ridley Scott.

Read Full Article

I read the book and am firmly in the "leave him there" camp. I'll likely check it out over the weekend to see if what I hated about the book is in the movie and to watch Matt Damon eat shit potatoes.

I enjoyed it as it kinda remind me of Castaway but at least the main character was able to communicate with other beings.
Also there is that bit of the plot I want to understand with as my level of science is low

So finally a good Ridley Scott movie again and on top of that a good Sci-Fi movie? Sold.

and it's even better than Moon.

Well, damn. Now I need to see if it is.

UberPubert:

and it's even better than Moon.

Well, damn. Now I need to see if it is.

That's really high praise indeed. Although I don't think similarities on a high-concept level can warrant such a comparison, but we'll see I guess.

Scarim Coral:
I enjoyed it as it kinda remind me of Castaway but at least the main character was able to communicate with other beings.
Also there is that bit of the plot I want to understand with as my level of science is low

this is going to be put in spoilers, in case you actually want the answer

valium:

this is going to be put in spoilers, in case you actually want the answer

I also think

OT: I guess that Watney regaining contact is not as big a deal as it was in the book, given that Marter mentioned it right off in this review; Weir did a great job setting it up in the book, I honestly thought that NASA was going to spend the entire time guessing Mark's plans based on orbital photos.

I remember when Andy Weir was writing webcomics that were getting featured on John Solomon's blog Your Webcomic Is Bad and You Should Feel Bad. How far that man has come.

Dang, you almost gave this movie five stars and never bothered looking at your watch. Talk about a movie that makes critics glued to the screen.

OT: Oh, this movie is directed by the same man whom directed Robin Hood. What a turn around I must say, and it's a clear message that anyone can make a great hit if they work hard enough after a few failures .. .. .. *stares at Shyamalan* .... ...

valium:

Scarim Coral:
I enjoyed it as it kinda remind me of Castaway but at least the main character was able to communicate with other beings.
Also there is that bit of the plot I want to understand with as my level of science is low

this is going to be put in spoilers, in case you actually want the answer

Adding to your explanation.

Also spoilered just in case.

Scarim Coral:
I enjoyed it as it kinda remind me of Castaway but at least the main character was able to communicate with other beings.
Also there is that bit of the plot I want to understand with as my level of science is low

On topic, I really liked the film. It certainly doesn't go into as much hard depth as the book (which I loved), but it pretty well captured the essence with the various problems they did choose to show.
Damon pulled off the character of Watney, and the supporting cast were great as well.

I am in great disagreement with the review. The jokes constantly fell flat and were grating at best, their casting choices and disingenuous attempts to foster diversity really annoyed me, none of the characters felt particularly interesting or engaging, and the soundtrack was completely unmemorable and annoying. There were also some strange cinematographic choices (moments of a camera panning around single subjects) which just looked awful, and the CG towards the end of the film screamed fake to me.

To call the film hard science fiction is baloney. The scientific and technical accuracy of this film is riddled with holes (which could easily have been plugged) which completely remove it from the tier something like Destination Moon - which despite being riddled with inaccuracies (owing to deficiencies in information at the time) tried to offer a scientific account of a space voyage. Although it may seem trivial, the geography of Acidalia is completely screwed up in this film (it is mostly flat lowland mostly interrupted with impact craters), no attempt (or acknowledgement is given) to the gravity of Mars and its physiological effects, and the dawn/dusk cycles are the wrong way round.

The technology is also retarded shit, too. Instead of trying to realistically depict what a Mars mission in the next 20 years will be like (as I was hoping at the beginning with the Mars Semi-Direct style Mars Ascent vehicle), instead they engage in huge techno-indulgence and place huge habitation facilities and make the Interplanetary Transit Vehicle a massive and complex facility with centrifuges and everything built in. This film, if anything, is going to be detrimental to Mars Missions by making the public think that Mars transportation and surface infrastructure has to be massive, elaborate, and convoluted; something which has made a Mars mission impossible for decades by placing the space programme in the hands of contractors who constantly push for mission infrastructure like that seen in the film - massive (requiring many launches), elaborate (susceptible to many failures), and making insufficient use of in-situ resources.

Read Zubrin's "The Case for Mars" for the realistic depiction of a Mars mission, which would also have been far more heroic and interesting to see in this film rather than all the techno flim-flam bullshit.

I have another problem with this film, in that it removes the nobility and awe from a Mars Mission. This is an aesthetic complaint with the film, but I think it's vital for those who want a film which inspires future generations for space and wants to instil the spirit of exploration. By having the characters swear and act petty so much, having the crew and the support staff at Mission Control so often be petty and pedestrian and stripping them of qualities which should make us admire and respect them, along with failing to really take advantage of showing and facilitating some awesome spectacle on the surface of Mars (soundtrack, good cinematography, having Watney be stoic whilst there are all out of the mix), the film descends into what feels to me like a pedestrian TV show. It lacks a timeless and epic value, and instead turns into some fag spouting Reddit-tier jokes with the lovely and arbitrarily diverse cast constantly.

It's mindless entertainment. I wasn't bored, but I felt constantly annoyed and tired by this film.

Caramel Frappe:
Dang, you almost gave this movie five stars and never bothered looking at your watch. Talk about a movie that makes critics glued to the screen.

OT: Oh, this movie is directed by the same man whom directed Robin Hood. What a turn around I must say, and it's a clear message that anyone can make a great hit if they work hard enough after a few failures .. .. .. *stares at Shyamalan* .... ...

Hey, he also made Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, and American Gangster. Just like every actor makes a bad movie once in a while, so does a director. The strength of the movie comes from the script and the actor's performances.

CosmicCommander:

To call the film hard science fiction is baloney. The scientific and technical accuracy of this film is riddled with holes (which could easily have been plugged)

Geez, you must probably scream in pain when watching Star Wars or other far less scientifically inaccurate science fiction titles. The author of the book never meant to write a scientific journal that also entertains, but he wanted to write an entertaining novel with as much scientific accuracy (and imagination) as he could, which obviously would never be perfect.

Also, being so upset about the "arbitrary" diverse cast... The book also depicts a diverse cast, comprised by Americans with different ethnicities and a German, for which you should redirect your complaint to Mark Wheir, the book author, if you find that totally absurd. After all the European and Russian space agencies and their constantly in space astronauts are also purely arbitrary in our real life context. Oh wait... What I would totally be in favor of complaining in this matter, is that they cast a Norwegian actor for the German astronaut, when there are lots of perfectly capable German actors for such roles, like Daniel Brühl, Til Schweiger or even Michael Fassbender (even if he is more American than German).

There's no problem in disagreeing with the review and thinking less of the movie, but damn, being bothered by scientific inaccuracies in a science FICTION movie and getting all upset about it is just a bit exaggerated. Chill, man.

Kotoriii:
There's no problem in disagreeing with the review and thinking less of the movie, but damn, being bothered by scientific inaccuracies in a science FICTION movie and getting all upset about it is just a bit exaggerated. Chill, man.

Pathologising a judgement by claiming it was made in a fit of rage is disingenuous. Attempts to appear magnanimous by claiming that one is even-headed and wants reconciliation and good feeling and the other party is not are transparent and also incredibly condescending.

On the actual substance of your response, though:

Geez, you must probably scream in pain when watching Star Wars or other far less scientifically inaccurate science fiction titles. The author of the book never meant to write a scientific journal that also entertains, but he wanted to write an entertaining novel with as much scientific accuracy (and imagination) as he could, which obviously would never be perfect.

Note that I was referring to hard science fiction, which the novel and film have advertised themselves as. The book was also deficient (and terribly written). Hard science fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction which attempts to make use of science which is within the boundaries of plausibility and known physical laws. It is a tradition in science fiction encompassing many works by Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and many other luminaries in the genre. Unlike Star Wars, Star Trek, or other similar works, hard science-fiction relies on technical accuracy being as close to perfect as is possible.

Since the film and the book were sold on the premise that they were in the realms of plausibility, it's expected that they try and retain this "hardness". The technical deficiencies I have pointed out could often be rectified without much harm to the film (the sunset and geography issues, for example). The purpose of this film outside of the monetary is to presumably tell people an interesting story, educate them about Mars and human space exploration, and inspire the public to support and strive towards the exploration of Mars. The technical failures of the film do not just do nothing for the second and third goals, they actively do harm to the second goal by selling misinformation about the infrastructure and technology required for Martian missions to the public and subsequently further deluding policymakers to bend over for the contractor's hard ramming.

Furthering the technical accuracy of the film and book would not have been to the detriment of its uninteresting and unlike-able characters and the Castaway/Destination Moon hybrid plot. It would have been easy for Weir to do (I don't even mind contrivances for unrealistic dust storms/debris, since it's clear that's for the service of plot), and it would have been just as easy for Scott to rectify. But they didn't.

Also, being so upset about the "arbitrary" diverse cast... The book also depicts a diverse cast, comprised by Americans with different ethnicities and a German, for which you should redirect your complaint to Mark Wheir, the book author, if you find that totally absurd.

And I do. The man is a hack who can't write good characters, a plot, or even do solid research on his subject. The fact that the JPL and the ranks of NASA are populated by so many blacks and women - despite the fact that the actual quantity of these groups in the space industry is very low - feels completely vapid and an open attempt to rub diversity in the reader and viewer's face. It clearly had a political agenda, and I very much dislike that.

A rewrite and different casting choices were possible for the film.

After all the European and Russian space agencies and their constantly in space astronauts are also purely arbitrary in our real life context.

I was complaining more about the amount of females in the space crew (despite it being far more preferable logistically to send a male rather than a female on a long-duration space mission), and the forced diversity of the cast in JPL and NASA itself. They could include people from other space agencies to their heart's content.

Scarim Coral:

Motherfucking SCIENCE!

OT: I haven't seen Interstellar yet, so I want to see that movie before I go see The Martian...

Other than that, kind not surprised there's humor in this movie... Those trailers really didn't want to hide that fact...

Neil deGrasse Tyson's take on it is hilarious but awesome. I'll just quote him in a spoiler because it kinda is:

CosmicCommander:
snip

Why does diversity inherently have to be political? There are a dozen reasons to have a diverse cast that have nothing to do with politics, and to only see it through that lens really paints your own perceptions as inherently political, methinks. Like okay, so NASA is predominantly older white dudes. What are we losing exactly by changing that dynamic in fiction? It seems like a really weird problem to have with something.

CosmicCommander:
snip

It must suck to watch movies being you :(

OT: I read the book already but i didnt knew if i could trust Scott on this one, but now it seems hes back. Is it really as good as Moon? because im in then. (Also will its CGI age as bad as the Moon CGI did?).

Glad to see Scott is, apparently, back to form. However, I still can't get over the fact that the trailers spoiled about 75% of the plot. I hate that trend. I'm glad I read the book so nothing was really spoiled for me personally, but it did teach me to no longer look up trailers for movies I'm excited about.

CosmicCommander:

To call the film hard science fiction is baloney.

It's not, seeing as the term hard sci-fi is mostly there to set it aside from other sci-fi. Despite its inaccuracies, it's not exactly hard to argue its different attitude towards the plausibility of the film's sci-fi compared to sci-fi Star Trek, Star Wars or the The Culture novels. The differences between "Mars' gravity isn't correctly portrayed." and "Turbo-lasers can't physically exist." are pretty damn big. What sets hard sci-fi apart is the general mindset regarding the science in its work, not whether it gets every minutia right. To argue that The Martian doesn't want to work within the boundaries of established science is a little silly. 100% Correct or not, the movie's sci-fi elements are still very grounded compared to sci-fi like Star Wars. And that's what makes it a legit hard sci-fi story.

As for NASA's diversity; it's still a sci-fi movie set in the future. Sure NASA right now might not look like that, but it might in the near future. And it seems that, by portraying future-NASA that way, that's what the writer hoped for. And you know what? So do I. I don't see what's wrong about that.

Cowabungaa:
As for NASA's diversity; it's still a sci-fi movie set in the future. Sure NASA right now might not look like that, but it might in the near future. And it seems that, by portraying future-NASA that way, that's what the writer hoped for. And you know what? So do I. I don't see what's wrong about that.

Norithics:
Like okay, so NASA is predominantly older white dudes. What are we losing exactly by changing that dynamic in fiction? It seems like a really weird problem to have with something.

I am resentful of the encroachment of this line of thinking. It strikes me as a deliberate attempt to make the cast more diverse in order to "empower" viewers to think that anyone can work at NASA. It may be a benign message, but I resent subtle propaganda like this being used to convey it. In the media, we're seeing disproportionate numbers of blacks, women, asians, and so on in roles; it does feel like a deliberate attempt by producers and studios to rub the public's face in diversity to make them accept their version of reality.

It's the same technique used by European governments (Germany, France, the UK, etc) who import migrants en masse to rub the face of the right in diversity and change the environment so opponents have to accept their version of reality. You simply import your desired demographics onto the screen, and then go with insinuations of racism or reactionaryism if a person feels as if the move is forced or has an agenda of normalising the disproportionate presence of minorities in higher tiers of media and industry.

It's not, seeing as the term hard sci-fi is mostly there to set it aside from other sci-fi. Despite its inaccuracies, it's not exactly hard to argue its different attitude towards the plausibility of the film's sci-fi compared to sci-fi Star Trek, Star Wars or the The Culture novels. The differences between "Mars' gravity isn't correctly portrayed." and "Turbo-lasers can't physically exist." are pretty damn big. What sets hard sci-fi apart is the general mindset regarding the science in its work, not whether it gets every minutia right. To argue that The Martian doesn't want to work within the boundaries of established science is a little silly. 100% Correct or not, the movie's sci-fi elements are still very grounded compared to sci-fi like Star Wars. And that's what makes it a legit hard sci-fi story.

It certainly tries to be hard science fiction, and is best set in the genre for expediency. It is a terrible example of hard science fiction, however. The fact that Weir and Scott made some fundamental mistakes (which weren't for plot expediency) which could have easily been discovered and corrected betrays the fact that The Martian is not a work made which aspires to the peaks of hardness.

The work does not attempt to awe us with Mars. It shies away from showing how truly difficult it would be to be a stranded astronaut (or even a normal crew). And I'll reiterate how harmful the depiction of the Mars mission in the book is to actually getting a Mars mission done.

Perhaps my complaints about its hardness are there because there is little else in the film I liked or cared about. The characters are all boring non-entities, the dialogue and humour is cringe-worthy, and the cinematography and soundtrack feel completely inappropriate.

CosmicCommander:

I am resentful of the encroachment of this line of thinking. It strikes me as a deliberate attempt to make the cast more diverse in order to "empower" viewers to think that anyone can work at NASA. It may be a benign message, but I resent subtle propaganda like this being used to convey it. In the media, we're seeing disproportionate numbers of blacks, women, asians, and so on in roles; it does feel like a deliberate attempt by producers and studios to rub the public's face in diversity to make them accept their version of reality.

I think a more accurate thing to say is that the message is that everyone should be able to work at NASA. And that I'd doubt is a message you'd disagree with. Besides, it even relatively lies within the expected demographic developments of the US population, seeing as how white people are expected to make up a (large) minority in about 30 years. You could argue it's exactly the thing you'd show in a hard sci-fi movie instead of the current status-quo as that'd be more unrealistic.

Calling it propaganda isn't exactly fair either. Yes, every work of fiction carries some sort of message. Big ones, small ones, conservative ones, progressive ones, nihilistic ones, bombastic ones, you name it. But not every message is propaganda, and I don't see why this would clarify as that. To simply show the current status-quo as the future situation in a sci-fi movie like this sends a message just as much, maybe intentional or unintentional, but it does.

It's the same technique used by European governments (Germany, France, the UK, etc) who import migrants en masse to rub the face of the right in diversity and change the environment so opponents have to accept their version of reality. You simply import your desired demographics onto the screen, and then go with insinuations of racism or reactionaryism if a person feels as if the move is forced or has an agenda of normalising the disproportionate presence of minorities in higher tiers of media and industry.

Excuse me? As someone living through the current European refugee crisis as a European; you could not be further from the truth here. Important migrants en masse, saywhatnow?!

It certainly tries to be hard science fiction, and is best set in the genre for expediency. It is a terrible example of hard science fiction, however. The fact that Weir and Scott made some fundamental mistakes (which weren't for plot expediency) which could have easily been discovered and corrected betrays the fact that The Martian is not a work made which aspires to the peaks of hardness.

The work does not attempt to awe us with Mars. It shies away from showing how truly difficult it would be to be a stranded astronaut (or even a normal crew). And I'll reiterate how harmful the depiction of the Mars mission in the book is to actually getting a Mars mission done.

Eh, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find hard sci-fi that doesn't make certain mistakes. Whether they'd be detrimental is quite the extrapolation to make. With the stalling of the whole MarsOne spiel I wouldn't be surprised if the interested public is well aware of the difficulty of a mission as this

I didn't watch the movie yet, honestly didn't even know about it until yesterday when I saw a commercial for it. I was kinda interested in the movie until the MC said something along the lines of "I'm gonna science the shit out of it." That was bad, just fucking bad. But then when he said In your face Neil Armstrong, I started laughing. That was so cringe worthy that I couldn't stop laughing at how bad it is.

I plan to watch it one day and hope it's not as bad as the commercial painted it.

I won't say much more. Just a response to:

Cowabungaa:
Excuse me? As someone living through the current European refugee crisis as a European; you could not be further from the truth here. Important migrants en masse, saywhatnow?!

I was referring less to the current crisis than the trend in the EU since the Schengen Area was established, which has resulted in a large increase in migration into western European countries over the past 20 years. Cynically, it could be said that the senior figures in the EU and some western governments have encouraged this change in order to put into place an alteration in demographics to force the political conversation to change in their respective countries.

A good example is in the New Labour Government of Blair. Peter Mandelson went on record that the government sent out search parties to recruit migrants to come to the UK - with the clear goal of forcing more conservative elements of the Tories and working class elements of the Labour party to be condemned to irrelevance by forcing the political dialogue to centre around questions of tolerance, multiculturalism, and anti-racism in regards to the quantities of migrants in the country.

Demographic change has been cynically employed to change the political landscape.

CosmicCommander:
In the media, we're seeing disproportionate numbers of blacks, women, asians, and so on in roles;

You're right, we do see these demographics disproportionately represented in the media. The thing is, this takes the form of underrepresentation rather than overrepresentation.

In fact, if one were to try to describe The Martian, it'd be "Interstellar crossed with Moon, with a little bit of Cast Away thrown in for good measure - but better than all three of those."

A faster way is "It's a remake of Robinson Crusoe On Mars, but without the silly aliens, monkey or Adam West in a brief cameo."

Not that I mind that RCOM has been remade. Of all the 60's sci-fi flicks, that one was one of the better ideas. Too bad they added a man Friday in the form of an alien guy and flying saucers and stuff. Sounds like the Martian is worth a look. Nice that Scott made a decent sci-fi movie after Prometheus.

MrFalconfly:

valium:

Scarim Coral:
I enjoyed it as it kinda remind me of Castaway but at least the main character was able to communicate with other beings.
Also there is that bit of the plot I want to understand with as my level of science is low

this is going to be put in spoilers, in case you actually want the answer

Adding to your explanation.

Also spoilered just in case.

OT: loved the film to pieces, can't really put a finger on anything I disliked about it, although I will still never understand critics fap worthy obsession with moon, one of the most mediocre and "is it done yet?" films I've watched in the past 5 years.

So, saw the film today. Gets a stamp of "okay" from me. Enjoyed it, but like the book more. Main issue for me is that I felt the attempts at humour didn't work that well, namely the use of montages and music. In the book, the humour was interwoven with the narrative, whereas in the film, it was more a case of "here's some music and wisecracks, now laugh until we get back to the serious stuff." It's certainly a step up from the likes of Interstellar and Prometheus, but falls short of other comparable films such as Gravity and Apollo 13.

Oh, and the ending sequence gave me flashbacks to Mission to Mars, which was a film I actually enjoyed. Make of that what you will.

Loved the film and by far I'd say the best joke there was 'Project Elrond'

and it's even better than Moon.

Well, of course it is. First, it's not just a satellite. Second, it has an actual atmosphere, thin yes, but that's still better than none. And NASA just discovered a liquid water on it's sur- oh you mean the movie?

Bold statement Marter, now i gotta watch it.

Scarim Coral:

Ok so he dug up that dying radiation thing to provide warmth during the night but why isn't he getting radiation posioning?

The radiation originates from the core of the heater, and is absorbed by the high-density material around it, which therefore heats up and provides warmth. No radiation reaches Mark.

CosmicCommander:
I was complaining more about the amount of females in the space crew (despite it being far more preferable logistically to send a male rather than a female on a long-duration space mission)

Wait, what? What possible difference does it make 'logistically' to send a man rather than a woman on a long-distance mission? I'm fascinated to see how you can possibly justify that statement.

Ylla:
Is it really as good as Moon?

I'd say it's better, although they're really not the same kind of films at all so they can't be directly compared. The Martian is essentially an action film, just with most of the action consisting of problem solving rather than punching robots or whatever. Moon is more a philosophical musing on the nature of personal identity. They have superficially similar settings, but they're just not the same kind of story.

Flatfrog:
Wait, what? What possible difference does it make 'logistically' to send a man rather than a woman on a long-distance mission? I'm fascinated to see how you can possibly justify that statement.

Actually, that's one of the few parts of his weird ranting that has some basis in reality. It comes down to simple biology - women have periods and can get pregnant, and those add all kinds of hygiene and medical complications into the mix. Reliance on drugs to control menstruation is a problem (what if their shelf life isn't long enough, or they get lost or damaged, what about the extra weight required to carry them, the possible interactions with other medical interventions, the effects on physiology, and so on), and anything other than eliminating them completely adds more complication to the already pretty tricky hygiene arrangements and yet more weight needed for supplies. And while you might hope the chance of anyone getting pregnant would be very low, expecting people not to be people on multi-year expeditions would be somewhat optimistic. And no matter how you try to prevent it, the consequences are so huge that even a tiny risk could be unacceptable. Of course, that issue could be prevented just as easily by an all-female expedition, so it's more an argument in favour of single gender rather than men specifically.

There may also be other biological considerations - men and women have different physiologies in many ways, including body fat, heat regulation, strength, fitness, and so on that could all contribute to one or the other being more suitable for experimental expeditions, although I don't know if that would actually come down in favour of men or women. Since you're dealing with a few selected individual, statistical differences aren't particularly relevant (ie. it doesn't matter that women are generally weaker as long as there are some who are strong enough), but something like a differing response to low gravity on bone growth might well be.

None of this should affect one's enjoyment of the film in any way, any more than the lack of explanation of how the engines worked should either. It's a technical problem which the film just assumes has been solved so it can get on with telling the actual story, and the only people likely to see it as a problem are the sorts who also get upset because NASA was portrayed as employing some of those dirty coloured people.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here