The Martian Movie Versus the Book

The Martian: The Movie Versus The Book

Don’t worry, this isn’t a rant. I really enjoyed the movie!

But I am going to make up for the missing expletives that were egregiously removed from the script. Please, pardon my language.

When I read a book, I often envision a known actor or actress playing character roles while reading. I did that HARD while reading The Martian by Andy Weir. For me, Watney was Jason Bateman. He oozes an adult playfulness that’s almost childlike, and this would have worked for him in Watney’s character as a genius botanist with a bit of an immature side and the determined resiliency of a child. It was almost immediate for me, beginning from the first chapter: Mark Watney was Jason Bateman.

The Martian by Andy Weir Book Review

When it was revealed that Damon had been cast, I raised a brow. No, I thought. This can’t be right. That’s not Mark fucking Watney. Oh for shame, Hollywood! This shall not do!

Little did I realize that actors do this thing called acting. It’s fucking amazing, really. And as I begrudgingly went to the theaters to see my beloved book hacked to pieces by Hollywood (World War Z, anyone?), I witnessed Matt Damon transform into the perfect Watney. He also moved me toward the end. I was more excited than anything while reading the book, ripping through pages at the climax. In the movie, even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, I was genuinely touched by Damon’s fear and desperation as he sat in the MAV, waiting to be catapulted into space with nothing but a fucking tarp above him.

In the book, there are a whole lot of F-bombs. Yet, the movie is PG-13. I knew they would have to alter some of the language, but really – they took out two of the best fucking moments.

In the opening pages of the book, Watney explains how he became stranded on Mars and how dire his current situation is. It sets the tone for the entire book.

“So that’s the situation.  I’m stranded on Mars.  I have no way to communicate with Hermes or Earth.  Everyone thinks I’m dead.  I’m in Hab designed to last thirty-one days.  If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate.  If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst.  If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode.  If none of these things happens, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death.  So yeah, I’m fucked.”

As soon as Damon-Watney began this speech, I waited for it. It wasn’t that I was thrilled to hear the F-bomb, but it was a part of the book I remembered nearly word for word. It was the hook, the reason so many readers became vested. You all know when you read it you immediately thought, “Well, this is going to be good.” And then – Damon ends with, “So, yeah. Yeah.” What the fuck? No! Get rid of the other F-bombs, not this one! It was essential! Surely one wouldn’t have thrown the movie out of PG status.

And who can forget the boobs omission? After Watney learns that his crewmates have not been informed that he’s still alive, he lets forth a stream of expletives. NASA control informs him that his typed broadcast is public and they ask him to tone it down a bit to which he replies:

“WATNEY: Look! A pair of boobs! -> (.Y.).”

It’s implied that he wrote something naughty with the looks of shock on the faces in NASA control. But come on – I wanted to see it! It was an epic moment of hilarity in the book, something that made you laugh out loud, as childish as it was. The levity was needed, and it’s a part of Watney’s character.

Perhaps there will be extras in the DVD, or an extended version.

My issues are minor even though the omissions made me growl a bit.  A lot of Watney’s scientific lectures and trials from his Sol diary were missing which is understandable. There is some hardcore science that probably wouldn’t translate well in the movies. But they knocked it down to the basics and Watney still came off as MacGyver in space. In all, it stayed pretty true to the book.

I loved it and I’m so FUCKING happy.

Hollywood Didn't Fuck It Up

My Rating

Five Stars

Some missing F-bombs (I'm making up for that in this review) but overall, the movie was a great tribute to an incredible book and Damon made an excellent Watney,

Rebecca Skane is the editor-in-chief for the Portsmouth Review. She holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree from Lawrence University in Wisconsin and resides in Portsmouth, NH with her husband and two children. She is the founder of The Portsmouth Book Club which boasts over 1,000 members. She also doubles as a professional escapist. Her genres are scifi and fantasy, both adult and young adult - but she often reads outside of her preferred genres. You can follow her on GoodReads. Aside from her love of good books, she is a professional website developer, content editor, and SEO expert. You can visit her web design and development site at

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