Print to Film

By: Ajay Verma, Hrishikesh Inamdar, Pranav Tetali

The Martian | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

Similarities:

  • Much of the science in the book remained the same, as the character still goes into detail in how he is going to survive
  • The plot of both the film and the book stayed the same
  • The setting was constant between both
  • The conflict as well was the same, as not many changes were done
  • The names of the characters were the same, as well as there personalities
  • the book and film were very similar as noting major was changed, and the things that did, they did not affect the story at all

Differences:

  • There was no epilogue in the novel, while in the film the story jumps up 8 months. Andy Weir did not feel it was necessary.
  • In the ending the main character does not poke a hole in his suit to return onto the Hermes
  • Commander Lewis does not grab Mark Watney, as another crew member does
  • In the novel Watney shorts out the Pathfinder rover, while in the film this does not happen
  • As Watney was heading to the landing site for Ares 4, there is a storm which he had to avoid with out the help of NASA, this part of the novel is not present in the film
  • the character Venkat Kapoor is changed to Vincent Kapoor
  • Watney's journey to the Schiaparelli crater, he goes through much hardship, but in the film this scene is not included
  • Mark Watney uses two rovers in the movie, but only one in the film
  • Watney uses the Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator to provide heat, this plays a very minor role in the film while, in the novel it is very important
  • The rovers have cranes in the film but not in the novel
  • When the Chinese allow for the use of there rockets, in the film it is shown as a gesture of good will, but in the book it depicts the trade deal between NASA and CNSA
  • The romance between Beck and Johannsen is present in the novel but not the film
  • In the film, the epilogue shows civilian life of the crew, while the novel ends with Mark Watney on the ship

What integral Scene in the novel was removed from the film? How does this affect meaning?

There is another storm in the book that occurred when Watney has already landed, and occurred while Watney was making his preparations to travel to the site. This whole moment was to show a very threatening time for Watney as it show cases yet another time where he had to think his way out of a hazardous situation, but this time he had to be on his feet to change the outcome.

This affects the meaning of in a lot of ways. Mainly because of how resourceful he was by himself in the face of adversity. NASA could not predict how big the storm would be, and Watney created a solution to measure the storm while keeping his essential resources intact. Watney did something that hundreds of people back at Earth couldn’t think of, and defied death once again using the ingenious of his ideas, and proves to us that he deserves to be rescued more than ever.


Why might the director have approached the film the way he did? Is it for the betterment of the work?

The director tries to make the events smoother and less confusing to the movie going audience by having specific transitions and chronology fixes throughout the movie. The most notable of these are the opening and the story and the journey of from the HAB to the Ares IV MAV.

The opening in the movie actually depicts the story before Watney is stranded on Mars, which we don’t find out about until much later in the book. Instead of flashbacks that occur in the middle of the movie, the director chose to put the events in chronological order so it would be less confusing and would give the full story of how Watney became stranded right away. An entire sequence of events which are not found in the book are put in the movie in Watney’s journey from the HAB to Ares IV MAV. The book jumps straight from one location to the other while the movie provides a nice, cinematic transition for the same thing, which also includes a major obstacle that he has to overcome.

The reality of movies that came from books is that they cater to a slightly different audience. Some people who will watch the movie (around half) will not have read the book at all and thus will have a harder time figuring out the story than those that have read it. Furthermore, some scenes that are explained beautifully in the book with pages of text may only be given a few seconds of screen time. Therefore it is harder to spot small details in the movie without pointing them out specifically. The director must make decisions like these to improve the viewing experience and provide more structural clarity for the movie’s audience.

Consider critical acclaim for both the novel and the film. How do outside sources feel about each individually? Both?

Both the movie and the book are rated very highly by critics with the movie getting an IMDb rating of 8.1/10 and the book getting 4 out of 5 stars (from Compass Book Reviews). Both reviewers were very pleased with what they had spent time in. The main concern the Compass Book Reviews had was that the book was far more “detailed in the science and math aspects” than the movie, which may disappoint some of the fans that are into the “geeky” aspect of the book. Overall, both were great and it is clear that the author and director both did an amazing job at making their works come to life.

Scientific accuracy of the film:

Science vs. Cinema: THE MARTIAN - Full Episode

Bibliography:

  • Weir, Andy. The Martian: A Novel. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
  • The Martian film adaption, by Ridley Scott, 2015