We finally unpack our spaceship and the Ridley Scott film, “The Martian”. Will this film live up to the expectations of Alexander Winn & Lacey Hannan or will they too feel deserted in space as the air escapes their spacesuits, eating potatoes growing from their own poop?!
𝕋𝕙𝕖 𝕊𝕪𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕤𝕚𝕤 is a live talk show that aims to find the relationship between science and fiction in pop culture. We’ll discuss a book, movie, or show each week that’s science-focused and talk about just how realistic it is, where reality is cooler than fiction, and exactly where certain liberties were taken.
Hey guys, it’s Lacey, Alexander. And we are doing The Synthesis. welcome back today. And next week actually, we are going to be talking about the Martian the movie instead of the book, which we’ve been doing for weeks. Yep, it is exciting to move into a new medium. So this week, we’re going to be talking about the film as a film, we’re just going to be sort of responding to it the way we would if there was no book. We are also going to be talking about how it compares to the book. And then next week, we’re going to dive into more of the sort of nitty gritty details of the science of the production. We’re all going to we’re going to be talking about the movie as if there wasn’t a book, but we’re also going to be comparing it to the book. It’s exactly how he put it.
So next week, we’re going to be getting into the production details and the science details and all of that sort of more, more nitty gritty stuff. Yes. So let’s be like the movie and just jump right into the story. I know. Right? Yeah. Which is the first point of distinction between the movie and the book is we pick up in real time. We don’t flashback to the areas three crew, we pick up and they are doing their thing. And you’ve got Martinez, and Watney, just like joshing around, they are obviously the class clowns. Yes, this is it’s like it’s one of those things where it’s funny for the audience, but I imagine that for the rest of the crew, it’s a little obnoxious because like I was always that I was always that person that I could handle the class clowns for a good while, and then I’d get really annoyed. I feel like so so quite clearly. You are commander Lewis on this on this crew. There’s there’s no, I’m the redhead. Yeah, well, that’s part of it. Yeah, but but now I really I feel like the area’s three crew sort of breaks into three neat groups.
Okay, there’s what me and Martine is are the class clowns? Yes. And then back and your Hanson are the ones who sort of wish that they could be the class clowns who like laugh at the class clowns, but can’t actually keep up with the jokes as much. Okay. And then Lewis and Vogel are the ones that are like, Would you shut up or trying to work? Yeah, yeah. One of my favorite things right off the top is when Louis apologizes to Vogel for her country, man. Yeah. And I was just, and he accepts her apology. Like there’s like it’s not Oh, don’t worry. I think it’s funny. He’s like, yes, it’s, it’s fine.
Which, you know, this whole sequence just does an incredibly good job of establishing the characters and their camaraderie like yeah, I feel like you’re 30 seconds into the movie and you get the area’s three crew you do. I will say just a little off topic. I I would love to see more female class clowns just in the world. So if anybody is out there writing something just consider it. I don’t you don’t see that very often. I think if there are any female students out in the audience what she’s saying is you have edge works entertainments permission to get on your teachers nerves. That’s no no it’s that’s different to make your classmates laugh. And get on your teachers nerves. Yes. Okay, great. Not tonight. No, yes, it’s Yeah.
But I will say so then they turn off the radio, which this is a little bit you know, this is a little bit different from what happens in the book but your Hanson just likely turns off Martinez and yeah, she she says, I can do that. And lewis is like, Yes, please. Yeah.
So yes, I get it.
Yeah. Oh eemaan economist asks if Lacey is commander Lewis then which one is Alex? Oh, God.
Probably back. Yeah. Why? Because like, he’s super smart. And capable. And and he gets the girl.
He does get the girl but you’re just not the class clown. Yeah, and you’re also not Vogel? Yeah. Your vocals a little too? Yeah. I’ll take back Yeah, I’m sorry I’m he’s not the most intro he’s not as interesting as Louis but
sorry guys. Um, so pretty quickly because we’re, we’re moving right along through this movie. The storm happens. And as in the book, this is
unrealistic. This is not a storm that could possibly exist on Mars. There’s just not enough air. We’ve already been over this but it was spectacular. You know, this sequence in the in the movie I thought did an incredibly good job of establishing a scary storm. Like this goes for everybody laughing and joking to Whoa, scary really fast and the music everything really builds the tension. Well, and one of the other things is and I did not expect this is that Watney pressures Louis tonight
Leave. Yeah. And like right at the beginning of the storm when they’re talking about, okay, we have to go into emergency procedures or whatever. And we see Watney talking back and pressuring in. I, I wasn’t in love with this choice, because we don’t see this happen anywhere in the book. You know, in the book, the first thing that we see with the storm is Watney go being the solution guy. He’s like, Okay, well, if we do this, which, which you could argue is roughly the same. He’s he’s trying to figure out ways for them to stay on Mars. He’s the voice of we don’t have to leave yet. We can fix this, we can stay.
And you know that that moment in the movie where he says, Commander Lewis, please, let’s let’s not abort. That’s not in the book. But I feel like it’s in the same spirit of what he did in the book of trying to find a way for them to not abort. Yeah, I don’t know. I kind of disagree. I feel like he was too pushy for that. This is why you don’t make the class clown a leader. But you’re not putting it out there. Yeah. I wasn’t in love with the moment because to me, it felt too much. It was it was too much second guessing it didn’t feel like solution making. You know, there is actually although you know, giving, giving Watney his credit, I don’t think it’s fair to categorize it as second guessing because she hadn’t made a decision yet.
He was advocating his position. But as soon as she says we’re scrubbed, he got he got to work just like everybody. I don’t know, I felt it felt aggressive to me, or it was like, aggressive is not exactly the right word. But there’s something about aggressive or pushy, kind of not whining, because that that has a certain like, tone, but like the what pleading Yeah, questioning her that I didn’t think was appropriate to his character. Yeah, I feel. I mean, I definitely got a sense that he was pleading to stay like he was definitely making a case with passion. But I feel like, I never got the sense that he was going against her. She when he was making that case, she was still crossed arms thinking about options. And technically they were beyond the level at which she should abort. But she hadn’t said we’re going to yet so I think he was he was making he was advocating for what he wanted. But when she said abort, right, he went for it. Well, I mean, yeah, there is an interesting thing that we haven’t actually discussed, I think in this entire show about the Martian, which just occurred to me, which is in the end.
Well, no, I guess the math would have tipped, if they had stayed. What I was thinking was the hab wasn’t destroyed, they could have stayed in the hab, and they would have been fine. Except now because I’ve mapped poorly what I’ve typed because the only reason the map didn’t tip is because of Martinez. Yeah, that’s right. Okay. I didn’t notice an interesting thing about the storm as it is portrayed in the movie and also sort of in the book, but especially in the movie, which is that it was a surprisingly, not spacey sequence.
Like usually, well, usually in things like gravity, when they want to play up how scary space is. It’s all about like, running out of air, and like your hose gets ripped out. And, you know, you can look at sequences in the expanse where there are sequences where there are scenes, you know, in a battle where someone’s air hose gets ripped out, and they’re like, running out of air and all that kind of stuff. The sequence in the storm could have happened on Earth. Like they were all in spacesuits. But that’s that scene would have played out exactly the same way. If they had been
on like, in a hurricane in Louisiana, you know, it wasn’t a particularly spacey terrifying sequence. It was just a scary storm. The emergency was a rather normal emergency as compared to a space specific emergency. Exactly that like it’s not like a meteor storm or you know, a gamma cloud or anything like it’s just a storm. It’s it’s something that they could have experienced anywhere. And I think that the way that it’s framed in the movie is interesting in how that plays out. Right? Yeah.
I was a lot less annoyed with Louis for looking up. For what me? Yeah. And I don’t know why I can’t decide. It’s if I think it must be because everybody knows the stakes here. But we’re not, you know, it was pages of her looking for him. And I don’t mean like 10 pages, but two or three, it was still two or three, which takes a little while it takes longer to read it than to watch it and they couldn’t have dragged it out a whole lot longer. But it didn’t feel as long. So I think that I don’t know, there was something about it where I wasn’t upset with Louis and now that might be because of how I know the story ends because of the book. And the a lot of the leeway that I gave, you know, like when you learned, you know, what do you like don’t like somebody
Or you don’t like the decisions they make? And then you learn something new about them and you, like, sort of can’t hate them anymore. Yeah, like you kind of forgive everything that they’ve done because you’re like, Oh, I get it, you’re actually like a fully fleshed human being a villain. Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel. I mean, without her being an actual villain, that’s kind of how I feel about her is, I now that I see the amount of work she does, by the end to save him. That helps me feel better about the fact that she put the rest of our team in jeopardy up front. So it was a nice journey, it also seeing it in a movie really underlines the chaos that like, it’s, it’s easy to sort of, you know, say, Oh, she should have stuck to protocol when you’re reading it at your own pace.
Whereas when you’re watching it in a movie, and there’s like dust swirling around, and everybody’s kind of shouting over each other, and she’s, you know, she’s still sort of like right next to the map, she can go back whenever she wants. It’s not like she’s a long way away, but at the same time, she really wants to go find, you know, Mark and all this stuff it, it makes it a lot more sort of palpable and you kind of lose the ability to say you would have done otherwise. Yeah, absolutely. I will say that. You’re Hanson. Now. Okay, hold on. Johansen are yo Hanson? We’ve been saying Johansen from the book, but in the movie, I’m pretty sure they say Yo, handsome. Okay, fine.
So your Hanson looking at Watney seat that’s empty, is the first moment that it really hits that Oh, fit. He’s got Yeah. And it’s it’s just interesting to see two different mediums and how that moment how those moments differ.
And we don’t get that moment. Not really. I think we we know that your hands and cries. Yeah. And gently sobbing, I think. Yeah. And I remember that, like really getting to me. But then in the movie, she doesn’t gently cry. She just has this moment of, Oh, my God, you know, that happens. 1000 yard stare. Yeah. And I, I equally loved it. And it’s the first time that we’re really getting the full. Hey, guys, my phone is on. Sorry about that.
It’s the first time we get that.
That, like that hit of how it feels. In a similar vein, there’s a line that I really liked from the book, and it made it into the movie and it was delivered perfectly and it could have not been. It’s from back. And it’s when he tells commander Lewis, listen, I know you don’t want to hear this. But Mark is dead. You need to come in. And we need to go. And Martinez sort of worlds on him. It goes, man, what the hell are you doing? Are you know, what, what are you doing?
And Beck’s responses, my best friend just or my friend just died, I don’t want my commander to die to. And that is something that I’ve heard referred to before as an actor dependent line like that in the hands of another actor. That could have been a really bad line. But it was such a good line because he delivered it with professionalism. Yeah, it wasn’t he didn’t turn it into sort of a testosterone. Like don’t question me, kind of thing. It was, I’m trying to be rational. Louis isn’t being rational. We have to face facts. Let’s go. Yeah, you can tell that this is. This is one of those kids. That’s like the straight A’s takes all the AP classes kind of kid because to me, that’s what like that’s like a personality
facet of a lot of those people where it’s like, you just start to get that.
We we have we have things to do. And it’s not that I am being emotionally bereft, or something like that, you know? Yeah. But he’s also a doctor. So he’s sort of the one who’s used to calling it Yeah, yeah. Then we go on to NASA. Yeah. And we get Jeff Daniels Who? Perfect Oh, my God, Jeff Daniels as Teddy, who heads up NASA. Right. Well, he’s the director of the the director of NASA. Yeah, okay. He can do any part whenever he wants. Like, I’m pretty sure the Hollywood can cast him forever. And I will. He is one of the only people that I would accept Hollywood being like, Hey,
we know he’s dead. But we’re just going to recreate him forever. Please do because you want infinite Jeff Daniels? Yes, absolutely. Otherwise, I’m like no, give other artists a chance. Like there are other talented people. We don’t need to see Audrey Hepburn up there for the rest of everybody’s lives. But Jeff Daniels is an exception to that rule. Yeah, he just exudes command like he’s that
He’s so perfect in this role, because he’s never sort of loud. He never gets anybody’s face, but he just owns every room he walks into, he’s in charge. And nobody ever doubts that. Yeah. Which is I, I’m gonna say that about a bunch of the actors in this movie because they, they have such an extraordinary cast. It’s, it’s, it’s kind of weird. How extraordinary it is, because it’s definitely, you know, Matt Damon is the lead, but otherwise, it’s an ensemble piece. And when it’s when has Jessica chasteen not been front and center, you know, you’ve got all of these people that are just phenomenal. So anyway, I will be saying it a lot, because I could watch a lot of these actors. For forever. Yeah.
So then we get back to Mars. And Matt Damon, does an incredible job of portraying pain. Yeah, we’ve got a long sequence, he tries to stand up while he’s still impaled. And he lets out this shriek that is utterly just believable. And then he screams, he does this sort of quick breathing thing. And then he rips the piece out of his side. When he gets inside. He’s covered in cold sweat and pale and shaking and like just the whole sequence, a couple of things are a little bit different. It he was impaled by something that was attached to its its original piece, like whatever that communication satellite was, or whatever. And that’s different from the book. And so which I thought was really interesting, because to me,
if you’re going to if you’re still attached to the satellite, you probably did a lot more damage to your body.
It might also explain why he went flying, that he didn’t just get knocked. He got prey. Yeah, I mean, that’s true.
But did it seem like Watney was out longer in the movie than he was in the book? Like, I mean, we only see a short part of it. But I think that I don’t think there’s any reason to think that that is actually true. But that impression comes across because we cut away we cut to earth. And then we cut back and he acts up so it sort of implies that he was there for you know, a day and I suppose that it feels like we we went from night to day and we did it. It was daytime just on heads. Yeah, it gets really dark because of the dust storm.
And then we wake up to it having passed and it’s bright outside again. So it’s just later that afternoon. Yeah, okay. Okay. Okay.
So we get to the hab, which is interesting. This is one of those subtle things that differs from the book because this hab is definitely a building. Not attempt. This is not this is not a structure made of Canvas. No. This is Yeah. Oh, hold on. Before we go to that, I just want to say, I missed like, I, I will struggle like I loved this movie. upfront. I had not read the book.
Until this read through with you guys. But I loved the movie. And then this time, after reading the book, I don’t love the movie as much and it kind of it kind of bums me out. It’s a bummer. Because it’s it’s not because of the the acting or anything like that. No, no, or the directing. It’s purely because I love Andy Weir’s writing so much. And so, you know, one of the, they have to find different ways to up the stakes of the story. They have to, they have to play with different events to make things feel real to the audience or you know, whatever. But, you know, I feel like that’s probably why they attached
whatever, impaled him to the satellite. It’s another way to up the stakes. So
there’s that. But we’re not the big thing for me is we’re losing a lot of the science. Yeah, we don’t get to hear about his suit. back. What is it? What is it? What does he call it when
he like pressurizes. with nitrogen it he says backfilling. backfilling, like we don’t get all of the alarms and stuff like that, and we don’t get his thought processes. And so
I that’s going to be something that I try, I’m not going to I’m going to try not to harp on it too much. Because, you know, we all know that that’s how this is going to be we’re not going to be in his head. But part of the problem with that is we don’t get to see him dealing with it. We don’t get to see him later being a solution maker. any of that because, yeah, the movie is definitely still a celebration of science and of capability. But one of the first things that Lacey and I sort of noticed when we finished watching the movie
He was that this is a movie about someone implementing solutions, whereas the book is the story of someone coming up with solutions. And that is a fine distinction but an important distinction. And it is kind of a shame. You know, you never actually see Watney pretty much at any point in the movie, figuring out how to fix this. He just turns on the GoPro and says, This is what I’m doing. Or and sometimes I succeeded. Sometimes he fails. Like he does blow himself up, like in the book, but he’s never doing the math. He’s never, you know, I think I think I guess the one time in the movie that we do see that is the hexadecimal sequence. We see him coming up with how are we going to communicate with this camera. But in the meantime, we get this great moment where Damon comes into the airlock. This is when he’s been hit. He’s hurt. He’s going to deal with all of this stuff. We get to watch him do surgery on himself. loose, so gross. I mean, it’s not the glorious thing I’ve ever seen or anything like that. But it’s still like, yeah, I actually, I really like the restraint. I feel like that scene does a really good job of portraying this is a situation that sucks. He is in pain. He is bleeding. This is awful. But it’s also not a Tarantino film, like Yeah, he’s bleeding a little like he’s gonna you know, he’s in a lot of pain. Yeah, he’s in a lot of pain. But he’s not like passing out every two seconds. You know? Like, this is an amount of pain that you could handle. He’s he’s essentially been shot with an arrow. And that sucks. But you know, people who have been shot with arrows can like walk to go get help. He’s not just knocked on his ass. He’s, he’s handling it. So when he comes in through that airlock, and he starts taking off his suit, because he has to I David has some pretty sexy arms, you guys.
Yeah, that guy’s strong. Like we don’t see it. Like you know that the clients over the rest of the movie. This is the moment where we’re supposed to see sexy Matt Damon it’s right off the top and then they kind of let that go through the rest of the movie. You only need the one shot of the the act. Yeah, the action hero shot you only need at once and every movie. Thank God for those actors. But this is this is where we get it and I’m super into his arms. It is also it’s something that I was wondering is I wonder if he beefed up for the Martian just to get the contrast of strong mark to emaciated mark. Or if that’s just Matt Damon’s physique. Like I wonder if they just kept cast Matt Damon, and that’s where he keeps himself as a as an actor. And so that’s what he looks like, right? Or if he went out of his way to be strong at the beginning of this movie. And then they they phased him into it emaciated later. Well, I mean, there, we’ll get to that. I have some thoughts on it. But one, one of the first word he says after being left as fuck, yeah. And it’s who can blame the man?
The thing is, it’s like that first instance, that we really get into his personality of him alone. Yes. Which I that is going to also be something that I try not to harp on too much.
Which the the writers are definitely trying to give us his personality. And this is one of the ways is the profanity. Yeah. There is one very important distinction between the book and the movie that happens here. Not terribly consequential, but it does bear mentioning. He’s doing vlogs. Yeah, he’s not writing. In the book, we are told very specifically that these are written journals. He mentions, for example, when he rolls the rover, he says, I’m reaching up to the keyboard to type this.
And, you know, this was probably the easiest choice in the history of cinema. He’s not going to be writing, he’s going to be talking to the camera because of course he is. Well, and they don’t want to do voiceovers the entire time. Right. I mean, it’s one of the rules of, of writing a script is you want to keep those voiceovers to a minimum. And if you’re going to use them, you better use them better than other people have. They’re often considered a cliche, and they, I mean, that’s the way they come across. It’s not just script writers being jerks to each other. It truly often doesn’t work. So they do this the video logs but did you notice the interesting like, I wouldn’t, I don’t know if you want to call it pixelation. It’s more like a jumper pattern? No, no, the pattern filter that they put over his video blogs
versus the film itself? Yes, they definitely distinguish these are two different mediums that we’re watching. Yeah. And it was kind of weird, because that’s not how GoPros look. Yeah.
Although this is the 2030s maybe it will be. I mean, it could be but it’s not as No, it’s it’s like it’s not as good
Yeah, so But I mean, I get it, they have to, they have to find a way to differentiate and make it look like he’s not just looking straight into the camera, cuz that would get real like fourth wall. Weird. And that’s not the he the thing he’s not doing is breaking the fourth wall. Yeah, he is looking straight into the camera, but it’s not breaking the fourth wall. He is looking into a camera. He’s not talking to us. He’s talking to his Earth audience. And that’s as much as we are all on Earth. That’s not us. Yep. By the way, interesting acting challenge. Like, I don’t know how many of the people watching this or listening to this are actors. But I’ve done enough acting to know that it’s not the easiest thing in the world to just sit at a desk and act a scene. Like with no other actors with no anything, he has to convey a whole range of emotions, without reacting to anything. It’s all coming from him. And without reacting to other people. I mean, he’s got plenty to react to. I just mean, in the scene, like he’s got storybook story beats to react to but in the shot, it’s just him sitting at a desk, there’s nothing happening. I will admit that actually can be super hard. But I think this is a little bit easier. Because the the point isn’t that he’s
the How do I put this The point is specifically that he is talking to someone he just doesn’t know who it is which helps.
But not a whole lot. I mean, you’re right, it just doesn’t. It’s not quite the same. I think there is a line right here at this point in the film, that is a flub of Matt Damon’s I am. I am 99% sure that this was not a mistake in the script. This was a mistake of maths. And that is because I remember this line because it didn’t make sense in the movie. And I keep what I’ve watched the movie so many times. And every time I always bump on this line. And so when we were reading it, I watched out for it. And in the book, it’s correct. So I have a feeling that Matt Damon just memorized it wrong. And that is he’s talking about all the different ways that he could die, he could run out of food, the oxygenator could break. And then he says if the hat breaches I’m just gonna kind of implode.
And in the book, it says explode because if he were underwater, he would implode because the rushing water would crush him. But on Mars, the lack of atmosphere that hab is going to explode outward his body he wouldn’t actually explode in like a, you know, Halloween movie sense. But the pressure would be going out not in so the word would be explode like in the book rather than implode, which is what he says in the film. Wow. Yeah.
Also here, he says, I’m not going to die here. Yeah, I made a note of that. That is not a beat that we get in the book. No. And I I love that he
that we see him say that because, again, we’re getting so little of his personality, because a, the vlogs are just, at least to start with. Don’t show off his personality, the way that the logs in the book did. And so by saying I’m not going to die here we learn.
Like a lot about this guy. He’s, he is determined. He’s optimistic he is setting a goal for himself. Like I feel like there’s a lot to be said and confident. Yeah, like, it’s not just I don’t want to die here. It’s a declarative statement. I’m not gonna die here. This isn’t gonna happen. Yeah. And, you know,
in the book, this moment does happen. But it happens between chapters. If you remember, chapter one starts with I’m fucked. That’s my carefully considered opinion fucked, and it ends with, I’m really fucked. And then the next chapter starts and he goes, Okay, so I had I had a good night’s sleep, and I had some food and things aren’t looking as bad. And he goes off. So clearly he had that moment of shifting from fatalism to hope. But it’s so great to actually see it in on screen. That is a that is a beat that is good to have. I I wish that they had kept some of those lines like that that very first line that you’ve just said that we get of the I’m fucked. Yeah, that’s my carefully considered opinion. Yeah, that I wish that that stuff that they had brought a little bit more of those lines into the vlogs. Because this is, this is one area where you and I disagree. I feel like they do capture Mark’s personality. We don’t get as much of it. But it I think they do a really good job of capturing the same character. There’s so there’s a there’s sort of a, an ongoing conversation among anybody who gets really into movies, which is do deleted scenes count. Like when you when you cut a scene from the movie, did that scene happen in the story? Like not not does it count as part of the film but like if there was a scene where Mark
You know, did something, and then they cut it from the film. Did that happen in the story? And some people think, yes that it wasn’t portrayed, but you know, it still happened. And some people say no, if it’s not in the film, it didn’t happen. Another a great example of this for me as a Lord of the Rings fan is Tom bombadil. So Tom bombadil is a beloved character from Lord of the Rings the book, he does not appear in the movie, and everybody was really sad, but they didn’t change anything. Frodo and Sam could still have met Tom bombadil. In The Fellowship of the Ring, the film, it’s just not portrayed. There’s nothing in the film that says that that couldn’t have happened. Okay, so what I feel about Mark Watney is we don’t get a lot of the lines in the book that show his personality. But they didn’t change his personality like they did, he is still the same character, we just don’t get as much of it because it’s only two, I feel like it’s okay.
I need you to back me up here. Essentially, what I’m saying is take my side. But, but seriously, I want to know who you guys agree with, because I really like Mark Watney, his character in the movie, I just feel like it’s a muted version of what we get in the books, because he’s just so much funnier. And let’s see, he has those more. You know, the very next note that I have here about the movie is Mars will come to fear my botany powers, like he has those moments that are his character. He’s just doesn’t have pages and pages and pages and pages of monologue the way he does in the book to pepper them in i but i think that you can, there’s sort of, there’s like a economy that you work within when you’re writing, which is like, I have this many words that I can put into the scene before the timing and the pacing of the scene. no longer works. And you Okay, like, it’s not, obviously, it’s not a specific number. But go with me here, you’ve got an economy of words, and you have to put the words together to give as much meaning and to give as much personality, specificity specificity as possible. And I feel like that was just a little bit off here. And I feel like they got the story. That’s true. They, they just didn’t capture quite as much of
Watney is optimism, because we see a lot of his like, his fun and his The reason we talk about it in the book, The reason that you see Mark Watney here and not Martinez, or, or back or somebody else is because one he is the guy who can mentally handle this. And that’s the character we want to see. Go through it. You know, we don’t want us to see someone die. Sadly, because it got overwhelming. We want to see the guy who can manage it, who can who can keep his head above water, and we’re not
like this guy isn’t specific enough. As as specific as the guy in the book to me, just to me, I I still like Watney, this is not me getting down on Matt Damon’s performance. It’s not even me totally getting down on the writers little bit. But I really feel like they could have used a lot of a lot of the dialogue a little bit better to show him off. I leave it there. This is I think this is one thing that you and I are just going to do.
That being said, you know he he gets to work. And we pretty quickly move into you know, what is pretty undeniably the most famous sequence of the Martian, the book and the film, which is making water and planting potatoes. And we come to one of just a few
changes for the worse, changed like actual straight up mistakes, straight up things that they didn’t do right? In the movie, which is marks explosion. Mark Watney blows himself up in both the book and the movie, but it doesn’t make sense. In the movie, they changed the story, so that the reason he blew himself up is no longer a thing. So I have to explain that. Yeah. So in the book, when he’s making water, what he accidentally does is he realizes he’s been releasing a massive amount of hydrogen into the atmosphere. And so he sort of looks around and realizes I’m in a bomb. And the whole chapter starts when he’s in the rover because he’s freaking out because if he goes back into the airlock, a single Static Shock and blow up the whole hab, what he ultimately realizes is he can remove all the oxygen from the hab, and start slowly burning it off by releasing little bits of oxygen into the hab and burning it, and the hydrogen will burn with the oxygen but then it will use
Stop the oxygen and it’ll stop, because you can’t have an explosion without oxygen. And so he does that. And he’s it’s starting to work. And then all of a sudden the whole hab kind of blows up like it doesn’t pop, but it blows up. And his explanation after the fact is he’s wearing an oxygen mask. And he wasn’t accounting for the oxygen that he was breathing out that he had a little oxygen tank that he was releasing and burning, but he was also pouring oxygen into the room from his face, right? But that only makes sense. If he had removed all the oxygen from the room. And what happens in the movie is, he’s just making hype. He just making water from hydrogen in a room filled with oxygen. Yeah. And then it blows up. And he says, Oh, I forgot to account for the oxygen. I was exhaling. And it’s like, you were exhaling the room like that? You weren’t adding anything to the room that the oxygen was already in the room. Right? So that’s, that’s here, like you’re breathing in. you’re breathing in the air and you’re releasing more carbon dioxide. Yeah, you’re you’re a net negative into the sea, not a net positive. That’s true. It’s, you know, it’s one of those things that only the deep nerds are going to care about. But it is funny that they, they sort of they kept the story beat, but they changed the science and the story beat doesn’t make sense, right? I think that I didn’t like is that when we go to the blog, he’s still smoking. Oh, really? I loved that. Oh, that annoyed me. I was like, this is a little bit like he’s not is not like a muppet. But is there a little wisps of smoke? Yeah, it just felt. Yeah, if it felt a little much. And it, it felt like
they’re leaning on physical comedy, in a way that I didn’t think was necessary in that moment. But you know, whatever.
The other thing that we see here, as he’s putting together the potato farm, is, we see that the the packets of human waste are and analyzed. Oh, my God, it’s so weird. Oh, yeah. Why? Like, no, seriously? Why? It’s the
they weren’t going to get back in there. They weren’t going to get into those containers that wasn’t a part of their mission. No, good.
There are plenty of reasons to do that. I mean, first of all, so I only noticed it on this watch through but it it, it doesn’t just label them. When he when he uses the toilet, he reaches over and touches a panel. And when he touches what is effectively the flush button, the screen flashes up and it does a medical analysis. So it’s it’s not that fast, seriously, yeah. You know, takes a sample packages to the rest and starts processing the sample.
So that is part of it is it’s it’s not just packaging it up. It’s also analyzing it for any kind of danger signs. But the other reason, you know, remember, they’re only the third group of people to ever land on Mars. And so there are any number of reasons why you might want to go back, you know, for example, let’s find out let’s let’s say that maybe something in the Martian atmosphere starts causing liver failure. And they you know, one of one of the one of the crew starts getting really sick or something like that maybe the the finds the Martian dust get into their lungs, and it starts causing problems, you might want to go back and check what is effectively a stool sample archive, and see when did those symptoms first start showing up, I will tell you that my husband is is the very best at doing exactly what you just saw, which is something
someone points out either a flaw or a weird detail that you know, plot hole, whatever. And it kind of drives I had to learn how to get used to it. It drives a lot of our friends crazy. Because he’s not the guy that you watch bad movies with. He doesn’t want to hate movies. No, no, no. He doesn’t want there to be plot holes. So he’ll fill them in for like he’s the directors favorite kind of audience because if the director screws up, this guy’s got to help them out. I will just fill in any gap. If there if there is a reason why something doesn’t make sense. I will point out why Well, I mean, it could make sense like they did this two seasons ago. And so now they’re doing this it makes perfect sense. So long as so long as the director has gotten Alex on his side. That’s going to happen. There are a couple of directors out there that Alex is not going to put in the effort. But this so it’s not for everybody. But yeah, mostly I don’t like not liking movies, right. So I just just putting that out there. I don’t do that as much. I mean, unless I super love the movie. I feel like you know I was the person who was I really did that for the Harley Quinn movie. That’s fine. I was I loved it. I’m here to pray you defended the hell out I did. I really did. Don’t start with me.
is the moment where we have to take a moment to appreciate Harry Gregson Williams score for the Martian. This is one of my favorite movie scores of all time and this is coming from a guy who listens to basically nothing but movie scores. So, yeah.
Harry Gregson Williams score for the Martian. I have probably listened to
two or 300 times, like just on repeat. Eyes. Why make him wear headphones? Yes, yes, I will often start on the song making water, which is I think the third song in the album and I’ll just set it on repeat. It’s great music to work to. It’s very sort of like quietly upbeat, it’s not gonna, it’s not gonna wear you out, but it’s still, you know, makes you want to work. Also, this is all I’ll say because Lacey is already rolling her eyes at me. But one more thing I will say is, if you ever go read Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy, listen to the soundtrack to the Martian, as you do it, they pair perfectly. They are exactly the same vibe of sort of beautiful and fascinating and majestic, but also lonesome and solitary. I will say that on long drives, like when we drive cross country something the Martian is definitely on pretty frequently. And I enjoy it too. It’s like it’s a good thinking music. Yeah. And if we can just get a little bit of reaction from the audience. J Patel has weighed in and said, this is Jay gray has weighed in and said that he too basically only listens to movie scores. And I’ve got no I’ve got a I’ve got to say I think you need to stop giving Jay grapes such a hard time. Okay, like I just I he’s one of our dedicated listeners. I think you just need to stop hating on j grape. quite deep. J grape is good people like good taste in music. I think you just need to get off Jay grapes case. Anyway, so mango on Earth.
We you are in so much trouble. Listen.
I know you know. Oh, oh, yeah, we Alright, Lacey is gonna go away. I’m gonna finish this episode. And she’ll be back next week. I hope he won’t be.
So yeah, we then we finally cut back to Earth. And I’ve just got to say, I’m not sure that Lacey is with me. Oh, same thing. Oh, we have a thing you guys. We miss something. We, we, your Hanson’s poop her very odiferous poop. I’m going to murder you
don’t say that I’ve had
the the crops we get to see. Oh, yeah, the moment that well, it’s the first time you see green and the movie. Yeah. And I mean, seriously. And we’ll talk about that. We’ll talk more about the coloring of this movie at another time. But
this movie is bookended by green plants. I mean, little sprout? Yes. And so I just it to me, I think it’s a really important thing. Because I mean, a it’s important to him. But seeing that green I was I was a little shocked. Yeah, this, this movie is overwhelmingly orange, white and blue. Those are the colors of this movie. And then that shock of green is which is funny because like you don’t think of shock of something as ever being green. I mean, I guess maybe if you live in a desert, maybe you might, but coming up over the dune and seeing in a waste. Probably a shock of green imana economist tell us like living in Western Australia, right. Like there, there are some major. I mean, ochre is, I think of ochre. When I think of Australia, specifically because of a book that talks about colors, and what they mean to different groups and the dreaming and all of that stuff. So tell me,
I want to know what a shock of color would be to you as someone. And you know, I don’t know exactly where you live. You don’t have to tell us but
i think you know, like blue is can be a shock of color. We think of Oasis or something like that. But I guess it just depends on by on where you live, right? Just context. Yeah. So it was just kind of funny when he said it that I was like, green is not usually the thing that I think is shock of, but so unless you have anything else from ours, now we can move on. Alright, so we get back to Earth. And, you know, so there’s a conversation that we’re going to need to have today or next time about some of the characters are a little bit different. I still think that mark is pretty much Mark Watney. But there are a few characters specifically on earth that have shifted a little bit from their characterization in the book that being said, they’re all awesome. Like, you know, Mandy, Annie Vincent Teddy Bruce
long suffering Bruce. They’re they’re all done. So Well, they’ve got it’s it really is just sort of an all star cast. And it’s whoever is the the casting director for this movie. Just I think it’s Amina gold who, if I remember correctly, Nina gold does like Star Wars movies. I mean, she just I think she’s based out of the UK and she does some of the biggest stuff out there. Yeah. And she, if you know, if you enjoy Ray, you know, she’s the one who has who found all of these people from Star Wars. And I think she’s brilliant. So, and just, you know, it’s not it doesn’t feel like a movie, like these actors are all so good. It just it feels like a bunch of people working on NASA. And they’re just every one of these characters is so individualized. And they just, even when they change them, you know, Mindy is not quite as meek at the beginning. And she’s not quite as strong at the moment. She’s a little more of just sort of, kind of meek and snarky throughout the whole film. But even then, I feel like she still is Mindy, you know, like they they captured the spirit of most of these characters are really well, even if it’s sort of an alternative universe. Mindy. I disagree.
On the Monday front, I think I mean, I think the actress does a great job. I just don’t think that they capture it, because there’s no point at which she talks back to her superiors, which is absolutely what happens in the book. And I don’t mean and like, getting really angry or bitchy sort of way. No, no, we’re just pushing back pushing back or, you know, kind of telling her truth about being Papa Razzi, you know, that sort of thing. And I enjoyed that. And she, you know, there’s a point at which she could push back we get we get a moment later in the movie between her and Ben cat. And she just agrees with him because she’s supposed to because he’s her boss. Yeah. And I was just like, dang it, they had the opportunity to let her let her be this fully fleshed out character, and they held her back and that bummed me out.
But we also get, you know, we get Sean Bean. And he is awesome. He’s Mitch angry, angry, Mitch. Except, and this is one of those things that I would argue that Mitch is probably the biggest departure from book to movie. Because Mitch in the book is a just a bull in a china shop. He is he is alienating everyone, he is stubborn. He is angry. He is like, you know, they go to they go to China. And there may have been an eyeball in the soup because they hate you. Like he just nobody likes Mitch because he’s so just pigheaded and just yeah. And, man, I have never seen Sean Bean play a character this meek. Before he is just every scene he’s drawn in and his shoulders are kind of hunched. And he’s just, he’s very soft spoken. And even. Even when he is putting his foot down. He’s kind of
it’s like, he’s kind of bad at it. You know, there’s, there’s a moment where Teddy says, You’re saying this because Vincent isn’t here to defend himself and Sean beans. delivery is like, I shouldn’t have to argue with fincen like you’d like he’s kind of petulant, you know, but that’s kind of that’s kind of the Sean Bean thing. Because like, if you think of Game of Thrones, he gets pulled back to King’s Landing specifically, because he’s asked to and his wife is sitting there going up, please don’t like let’s not do this. And he’s like, Well, I have to put the kingdom Well, he’s usually sort of the honorable man, you know, he’s, he’s the, he’s the, you know, again, boromir. And Lord of the Rings. He’s, he’s, he’s never, you know, sort of angry, but he’s usually he just sort of projects a little more. He’s, he’s more of a leader, more of an authority figure a little more like Teddy in this movie, frankly. Whereas this character is very soft spoken. And just, I mean, I guess to me, it feels like a different facet of some of something that he plays relatively frequently, which is kind of the the quiet. The like, thinks before he speaks sort of, sort of character. Yes. I just I think that the the main difference is most of Sean Bean’s characters choose to be that way. Whereas I get the sense that Mitch from the Martian the film,
he’s the kind of guy who wishes that he could speak up more, right? Like he seems like the kind of guy who kind of hates how quiet he is and gets mad at himself. I should have said that in the in that meeting. I mean, I guess it’d probably be really hard for the director to pit Shawn being against Jeff Daniels and not just have every one of those scenes be a shouting match. You probably you have to give different levels. Which one of the things about reading a book is that you are already you are automatically doing it that your brain your brain pitches you ideas on how
Each character sound like the tone of voice and, and the emotional range and all of that. And so, but a movie takes away all of that imagination and gives it to you on a platter. So the director has to decide who has the power each time. And who gets to hold all of the energy. Yeah. And actors. You know, you have to go with it you have in and oftentimes you kind of figure it out. And Jeff Daniels is going to hold all of the power. I do wonder if this was a choice of Shawn beans or if this was a
choice of the directors or, you know, like, where in the process was it decided that Mitch was going to be quiet instead of loud? mangry? Right, right. Right. That would be an interesting thing to ask someone. Yeah.
We get. We get this moment here. Where they? We’ve got Let’s see here. It’s the ven cat. Right?
Yes, he talks about how it I think it’s him right, that says, you know, we, we have to get the money now for all of this because people forget, you know, we can’t ask for money from Congress and a year. We need it now. Like he’s when he’s asking for satellite images. Yeah. And Teddy’s like no, we’re not going to get satellite images of Marc’s body. Right. And it’s one of those moments that is just kind of horrifyingly true. In this movie, where we, we get Ben Katz, saying, like, hey,
this, this, there’s a major thing in human history is going to pass us by like, we should at least use it while we have it. Because humans are so desensitized things are changing so quickly, that like we’re living in the 1600s, and a thing happens. And that’s all anybody talks about for an entire year. That’s not the world we live in. As we can see by current events, like the number, people would roll out lists of like, Oh, this guy said all of these horrible things in the past couple of years. And you’re like, holy shit, I forgot about all of these. Because it’s already. Yeah. And so I it was one of those things that when I watched as just like, God, that is a compelling argument about how quickly people stop giving a shit. And it makes me really sad. And it’s not like we can hold it all in. Like we can’t hold everything at all times. We can’t be emotional about everything at all times. Like we have a limit. It makes sense. But it’s also simultaneously really sad. I thought it was great. It was it was a poignant moment, for sure. One thing that is worth mentioning, by the way, is we have changed Vin cat’s race. Yeah, as as you just indicated, the character from the book is Venkat. couture. The character in the book is Vincent couture. They did not cast an Indian character. And
then cat the entire time. Yeah, so bear with me, because, and notably, they did keep part of his heritage. He does mention in toward the second half of the film, he mentions that I think his mother was Hindu and his father was Baptists. Yeah. And so it explains Okay, clearly this guy has, has an Indian parent and, and a black parent. ciutadella. g4 is perfect in this movie as he is in most movies. So I don’t I doubt anyone can fault him. But it is interesting that they changed his race. And this might be on me. But the first time I read this book, Mindy Park was Asian in my head. I don’t know if that was the intention. But yeah, I mean, as we all know, she’s just Mindy, what’s her name from the office and my head? So bear, she’s Indian.
So pretty quickly, we move up to trying to figure out where is Mark going in the rover. Yeah. And they have this great moment, just like they do in the book where he where Vincent figures out where he’s going using the map in the in the cafeteria. It’s fun, and it’s fun. It’s so much fun.
And he does a good job by the way of sidestepping the tired old movie trope of not telling his scene partner what he’s thinking until the grand reveal. That’s something movies often do. And it’s often a little cliche, but he does a really good job of portraying like, No, he’s thinking it’s not that he’s like waiting for the grand reveal
about it. He’s He’s busy looking for a map and like, Where Where is this? So to me, it still felt like it was part of that cliche, poor communication as a way that directors like ratchet up tension. Yeah. And for all the great communicators out there, it’s like really frustrating but let’s be honest, if everybody on screen always had
Communication, we would not get decent stories. We would just get happiness all the time on screen. And how boring is that?
But I, you know, to me, it’s it’s one of those things again, where short, he might be thinking but you, you still people often still try to communicate even if they’re poorly do Oh, I agree he could have communicated it What I’m saying is the actor I thought did a really good job of portraying someone who was so busy trying to remember the exact topography of this region on Mars that he sort of couldn’t bring himself to talk, you know, like, there were even some lines along the way that he sort of didn’t finish the sentence because he was trying to think through this. And, and he just kept saying to himself, yeah, I know where he’s going, I know where he’s going. And so he finally reveals it, I say, there’s a, there needs to be a shout out to the editor. With this Pathfinder part, yeah, because I love that we see, we don’t know what most of us aren’t going to know what it is, when he goes to when they go to JPL. And they take the tarp off of the replica of Pathfinder.
And meanwhile, Mark is digging through the dust looking for he picks up a parachute. And he sort of follows the line forward. And then what we end up seeing is, we see the closed up pristine version of Pathfinder. And then we cut back to Mars, and we see it all laid out. And we see it in a different position. And it’s not as it’s not pristine, right. And so we get to see it’s two different, like in these two different phases or stages. And I don’t know, I thought it was a, it was super lovely. Because we, I think that it’s a great way of communicating without telling us exactly what’s happening. These are the same items, which they do, say, but it’s it would have been something easy to miss. And getting to see that it was like the flower in its open stage. You know, and I don’t know, there’s just something really pretty about it. There’s also a very beautiful moment from sort of a filmmaking and storytelling standpoint, finding Pathfinder is one of my favorite moments in any movie. And it’s kind of goofy to say, because it’s not that big a moment, you know, it’s not like, you know, everybody’s showing up at the end of Avengers, endgame or anything. But it’s really beautiful, the way the the music and the editing and these two characters come together. And the thing that is especially interesting from sort of a subliminal standpoint, is,
Pathfinder is how mark is going to communicate to Earth. and discovering Pathfinder is the first moment of connection that he has with someone on earth, He and Venkat. He and Vincent are sharing this moment. And it’s probably not happening at exactly the same moment in real life. But in the story in the editing of the film, he’s uncovering this machine, Vincent uncovers this machine. And then he gazes at it and says Pathfinder, and then it cuts to Vincent, gazing at it. And he says, Pathfinder, and it’s this great moment of, it’s like Mars and Earth have finally been bridged. Vincent and Mark are connected. They just haven’t sort of realized it. Yeah, they are sharing a moment, even though they haven’t gotten the radio working. And it’s just beautiful storytelling. We also get Nate the great hair. We did Nate the great. And if you guys haven’t seen Teddy lasso, Ted, Ted last, I don’t know why. Why don’t I just whatever, who cares? If you haven’t seen it, just go watch it find a way. It’s phenomenal. And there’s a character in it. called Nate the great. Yeah. And an actor plays Tim. He does play Tim, who, not because of the actor. I mean, probably a little bit, but it’s, again, the difference between your imagination and then seeing someone else do their version of the same thing. And it’s a lot easier in your imagination to give
a little bit of charm to someone who wasn’t necessarily written that way are supposed to be like, it’s easier to find someone charming. That is a noxious. And like, I mean, an example of this is okay, there’s Tim who is is an asshole.
And then you’ve got house and you get to see so much of obviously not in this movie house like the TV show, you get so much of his character, that if you only got a slice of it, you’d be like, this guy is just an asshole. But you get to see the charming funny parts of him too, even though he’s still kind of being an asshole almost the entire time. So you’re just just getting a slice of Tim. And you don’t get to see as much of him as you do in the book and you don’t get like the kind of funny lines so it’s
Not entirely on the actor. Again, it has a lot to do with what you can do with your imagination that can’t be put out on screen. Well, and I’m, I’m pretty sure he has one line in the entire movie. I think the only thing that Nate says aside from like, we’re getting a signal. I think the only real line he has is when he says,
you know, 26 minute round trip. This isn’t going to be an Algonquin Round Table of snappy wrap party. And then Vincent snaps at him. And then we just move on. So there is like, that’s, yeah, he we don’t get enough time. This good accent though. Yep. That is true.
I say so we are coming up on the hexadecimal sequence, which is probably going to have a fair bit of commentary. So I just as part of that.
I mean, yes, we do. We could, we could pause now. Do you want to? I think that’s probably a good stopping place. By my by my notes. We’ve gone about a third of the way through the movies so bad at this way. Yeah. Listen, we have words, we have lots of words, we really, we really enjoy stories. And we have a hard time not discussing every single detail. Believe it or not, this is us rushing. Yeah, we were skipping notes here to keep the time down. So we’re still working on our pacing, we will get there.
So next time, we’ll see we’ll see if we just go through more of the movie. Or if we do a little bit more of the Deep Dive stuff that we talked about. Because I want to get to that. Yes. Because we’re from the film industry. And this is like, he went to film school and I am a theater kid. There’s so much that we can talk about that is not just the science. Exactly. So I think it’s worth Yeah, worth using. Let’s use our degrees that we paid a lot for them. So those of you who are watching this or listening to this in the future, you can probably look at the episode list and see the 17 part series that is Lacey and Alex talk about the Martian the film, we will do better. We are not on this movie. I was so I was going to say at this rate, it’s probably going to be three episodes, but I feel like that’s a trap. because inevitably it’s gonna be nine. We’re just not gonna we’re just gonna say Tune in next week for the next installment of the Martian the film here on the synthesis. If you have questions about anything film industry wise or whatever, yes. Shout it out to us. We will find it eemaan economist I’m sorry. I got what part of Australia you are from incorrect. I cannot say that. I know Australian geography very well. And that was noted.
But yes, if you have any questions if you have anything you want us to talk about, in terms of filmmaking, in terms of adapting the book in terms of science? post in the comments and let us know and we will try to address it in the future. Yeah, we can do we can do a little bit of research. Why? Why make you do it? Right. Yeah. Okay, thank you guys. Have a good weekend. Oh, subscribe, but do all of the things. Yep. subscribe and hit the bell if you’re watching us on YouTube. And be sure to check out our firstname.lastname@example.org slash edge works entertainment, which helps us make this show and everything else we do. And it works. And, you know, you can follow us on Twitter or Instagram. So Alexander for the win, or Alex for the wins. Sorry, Alex for the win on Twitter, and I’m just plain old lacey hannan. And or you can find us settle the stars or edge works entertainment or edge works. We’re all gonna make this we gotta make this a little bit more streamlined, easier. Whatever. We’ll see you guys next week. Thanks for watching.