The Martian

Oct 5, 2015

Wanted to give some thoughts and commentary on The Martian but admittedly Twitter just doesn’t hold enough characters 😉 So I thought I would type up a quick blog since so many people asked what I thought.

Let me start with – I loved loved loved the book! My best friend recommended that I read it and admittedly, I have about ZERO time to read books (and haven’t for literally years and years – oh yeah, since about the time I started a company on my own! lol!) but when this was given to me about a year and a half ago something just told me I had to find the time to read it… and boy was I glad I did. I enjoyed every page of the book. As such, I had a little concern going into the movie… I mean we all have seen those movies where they stray too much from the book and we are disappointed. I certainly did not want this to be one of those cases.

Well let me tell you… I had nothing to worry about! The movie was fantastic! I disagree with an article by Wired that claims that this movie is so good you don’t need to read the book but I do have to say that this movie did not disappoint compared to the book. (If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you still do so. Even if you have seen the movie.) Admittedly – I really enjoyed being able to see this movie, and share it, with some of my favorite people on the planet. Some of them were space industry folks and some weren’t which having that mix made it that much more fun in my opinion.

I found the Martian to be a movie that anyone could enjoy wether you loved space or not. It’s a story of survival and human will. It’s a tale of a world coming together united by something greater than any single one of us. It’s irreverent and it is serious. The reactions of all in the movie are true to form of what I expect individuals would feel and express given that they were in the shoes of Mark Watney or the NASA Administrator or the NASA Flight Director of The Commander of the Hermes.

I don’t want to give too many details because I know many of you may not have seen it or read the book yet. I don’t think below contains any real spoilers but I am going to talk a bit more specific so just wanted to warn you in case you want to quit reading.

Admittedly, I would have started the movie differently. I would have started with Mark Watney and the first couple of lines in the book. I thought those were so compelling and so humanizing in the book that it was incredibly powerful. I would have then flashed back to what had happened to put him in his situation that left him to utter those words.

I thought the visuals were quite good. (It’s no wonder there was a seemingly endless list of Visual Effects artists at the end!) And I thought that overall they did a great job of staying true to science. Now before anyone jumps all over me and says BUT BUT such and such wasn’t accurate… I admit, there are some artistic liberties taken.. but overall I was okay with how that all went. I’m not saying I expect any of the folks in this movie to win an Academy Award but I thought the movie was well cast.

2 things that did frustrate me however: 1 – Wow did JSC & JPL get some serious upgrades and renovations to their facilities. I’m guessing Congress decided to do a heck of a lot more funding for space in the movie than they have ever done in real life 2 – TETHERS! Come on people… can we please have tethers on these EVA astronauts? (When the teenagers who are not space folks with me are saying “Shouldn’t he have something to tie him to the vehicle” that’s a clue that there needed to be tethers.

Something that was different about the movie than the book that I loved – the very end. (Nope not going to give you more details than that right now!)

From a STEM perspective, I think this movie could inspire many a student to study Engineering & Science. The movie shows how cool working in the space industry is!

I suspect perhaps I am not giving all of you enough detail to satiate your interests but I definitely don’t want to ruin it for folks who haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet.

Let me leave it at… I enjoyed it tremendously. I was entertained, I laugh, I cried (yes I did – more than once), I was on the edge of my seat (even though theoretically I knew how it was all going to turn out), I was moved… I felt the outpouring of a planet united for a common goal… and that alone is reason to go see this movie.



  1. Brett H says:

    Thanks a lot for your review Michelle! I haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet. Like you, I love to read, but also like you it is very rarely fiction novels. Movies are also very powerful to inspire and motivate us, and your positive review motivates me to see this movie. Do you think it can rank up there as one of the best movies about space and rocket science of all time? Movies are so powerful, that’s why I made them one of my 10 tips for how to be a rocket scientist. Another one of the best (IMHO) is October Sky, which I wrote about on my blog here: Thanks again for the review and for spreading the good word about an exciting space travel story!

  2. Kimiya says:

    Unfortunately, I`m one of those people who haven`t had the chance to watch or read either Martian or Gravity yet. last year when I was going back to Iran with Emirates airline, I just watched half of Interstellar, because it was a bit boring up to where I watched.

    In sci-fi movies I like Star Wars (haven`t watched!) Jurassic Park and ET, up to now!
    I think Martian would be interesting too! As U mentioned, it`s better to read first and then watch, to make it easier to understand, what`s going on in the movie!

    Which do U think is the best, Martian, Interstellar or Gravity?

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