For the handful of you that follow me here, you likely saw my recent review of the book The Martian by Andy Weir. Well, they made it into a movie starring Matt Damon, and I saw that shit last night. Now keep in mind that I nitpick the fuck outta stuff, and it’s difficult for me to be objective about something I have strong feelings about. This book is definitely something I have strong feelings about, since I really loved it. Ok, enough bullshitting, let’s get down to some reviewing.
As far as the story goes, the movie doesn’t really deviate in any significant way from the book. Of course, they left shit out, because if they didn’t the movie would be insanely long. The stuff they left out wasn’t really mission critical, and I’m mostly ok with it. The characters are also mostly on point. Only a small number of them weren’t really the same. The acting in the movie was great, and the plot moved along well with some great pacing and suspense. The special effects were absolutely first rate, and there are some really great visuals and scenes.
Now, my nitpicking. SPOILERS!!!! The character interactions weren’t really fleshed out as well as I’d have liked. There was a lot of book crammed into the movie, but a lot of the relationships between characters just wasn’t really dug into in the movie, so those who didn’t read the book wouldn’t know or feel as deep of a connection. Also, the characters themselves weren’t as well developed. It felt a little like many of them were kinda shallow, due to only a lack of screen time and dialogue. All are great actors, but only Watney and Lewis were really dug into. The rest played their parts, but they seemed more like plot devices than actual relatable characters. The book did NOT suffer from these problems at all. Some of the changes they made didn’t seem to make much sense, either. For instance (SPOILER) when Mitch sends the coded message to the Hermes crew with the course settings, and Teddy confronts him about it, he doesn’t cop to it, and Teddy doesn’t demand his resignation. This seemed like a pointless change, as I don’t feel it did anything to further plot or character development. The actor they originally had for Venkat Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, could not do the movie due to scheduling conflicts, and I think he’d have been absolutely fantastic. He was in Jurassic World, and he was fucking great in that. Chiwetel Ejiofor did a good job, but my imagining of Irrfan in that role gave him tough shoes to fill. Also, they really underused Annie, played by Kristen Wiig. She was an awesome and hilarious character, and Kristen is both awesome and hilarious. Seemed like a win-win, but she just didn’t have the lines or screen time to really shine. Those scenes where she did, she did it well, but I’d have liked to have had more. Apart from that, I’d have done the movie more like the book, where Watney was recounting what happened during the day, and acted it out with a voiceover instead of long scenes of him doing stuff with no dialogue. During many of those, I kept thinking how much time was being wasted that could’ve been used for his excellent comedic delivery. They also let most of the science take a back seat, where it was fully in the foreground of the book through the entire journey.
Now, I know you’re probably taking this as a negative review, but keep in mind that I’d have wanted a movie that would’ve either not come off well for those who didn’t read the book, or would’ve been impossible to make. All in all, the movie really is fantastic, and if you’re a fan of science fiction, you do yourself a disservice by not seeing it. I’m just having issues getting past the fact that I built it up insanely high in my head, to a level that would be extremely improbable to deliver, and it didn’t deliver as I’d hoped. It’s ok, though. I still have the movie, and the book, I just wish there was more movie. Maybe a director’s cut.
TL:DR It was good, left out some stuff, and you should go watch it.
There’s an app coming out soon called Peeple. Best way to think of this is to call it Yelp for people. You rate individuals with this app, and can also leave reviews about them as well. While some may think this is great, and it’ll lead to people either feeling empowered and affirmed, or feeling good about the constructive criticisms for self betterment, I tend to be far less optimistic. Perhaps it’s because I’m an asshole. No, it’s cool, I can admit it, I really am an asshole. While this knowledge is no surprise to me, and even though I freely admit it, that doesn’t mean it would make me feel affirmed or empowered to read other people going off about how much of a jerk I am. Confused? I’ll explain.
I tend to come off a certain way to people. I say horrible things, create awkward situations, and am generally a jerk. Aside from that, however, I try to be helpful, supportive, and caring. I know, it sounds weird. My problem, at least the way I see it, is that I have impulse control issues. Truth be told, I feel that I’m actually a good person deep down, but I can’t help myself from saying and doing horrible things. All area the result of the childhood I had, and the mark some shit from back then left on me. Yes, I’ve been to therapy, and it did help. Believe it or not, I was WAY worse before. Some things, however, are too deeply rooted to be dealt with, aside from a lobotomy. So yes, I know I’m an asshole, and I’m aware that it prevents me from being who I could’ve been, but it’s not something I’ve been able to resolve. It gives me grief, and keeps old wounds fresh, and the LAST fucking thing I need is for people to have an open forum to publicly shame me. That won’t help me, or make me feel great, and it won’t help the kids in school whose peers will do the same for stupid petty reasons. This WILL be an avenue for bullying, I guarantee it.
See, more people deal with depression, anxiety, social anxiety, impostor syndrome, and other disorders on a daily basis. These aren’t simple things to cope with, and they make every day a fight. I am one of those people. I fight an unending war inside every day, and seldom does an hour go by where I don’t hate myself or feel worthless and shitty for one reason or another. Now I’ll basically have a wikipedia page with a comments section, where I’ll have a mix of nice comments (those written by the Lish) and awful comments (those written by most others). What makes this even worse, you ask? Employment. That’s right, see, you can’t opt out of being rated and reviewed, and it’s all public information, so potential employers can also look you up and see what kind of person other people think you are. Shit like this will become a staple of background checks. Also, how do you think gay or trans people will fare, especially when they’re in school? The bullying of them is bad enough on Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat. Do we really need a more permanent avenue?
While on the surface, the Polyanna folks running this shit may feel this is a great idea, I don’t share the sentiment. Sure, there will be people who will be uplifted by what their close friends and family may write about them, but this is the real world. For anyone considered “different” or “weird”, this is a nightmare of an idea. I was ridiculed enough throughout my entire life to make me honestly feel like a worthless and terrible person, regardless of any achievements or encouragement or affirmations of the opposite by those around me. I doubt I’ll ever feel differently, even though the logical part of my brain can see that sometimes it’s completely unwarranted. If this was a thing when I was a kid, things may have gone a very different path, and I can see that it would’ve been far worse. Who knows, perhaps this will be a wonderful thing, full of sunshine and rainbows and other cool goody goody shit. Maybe I’m just being paranoid, a paranoia brought on by my cynicism, a cynicism born from years of being put down and treated like shit. It’s certainly a possibility, but I honestly doubt it…
When this atrocity does launch, if you want, send me your name and I’ll post a phenomenal review of you, about how you saved babies and kittens and old people from a burning ship on the ocean, and swam them all to safety while formulating a cure for cancer and writing a hit pop song.