Many people have survived near-death situations because things have happened. One thing, however, that had a part in every instance of survival was the will to survive. The Martian, originally written by Adam Weir and adapted into a movie by Ridley Scott, deals majorly with this theme. Adam Weir shows that the key to survival is believing that you can survive, regardless of your actual situation. Weir keeps the audience clamoring for more by first recalling the history of the North American Space Administration (NASA) and then the events of what led up to his “death” and abandonment.
From then on, the readers must endure a rollercoaster of events, all connected and intertwined with pathos and logos. Weir shows that no matter how bad a situation may seem (such as survival on Mars), keeping a level head is the best way out. Andy Weir is an American novelist who is best known for his debut book, The Martian. Before he became a novelist, Weir worked as a computer programmer for Sandia National Laboratories, helping to develop the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons. In 2011, Weir released The Martian, which soon became critically acclaimed.
In writing The Martian, Weir researched many sources and even went to NASA to make his book as scientifically accurate as possible. Ridley Scott, director of the movie adaption of The Martian, started his film career in 1962, when he joined the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) as a trainee set designer. In the 1970s, Scott worked alongside producer David Puttnam to develop ideas for future movies. After the success of his first sci-fi movie Alien, Ridley Scott was cemented as one of the greats in the film industry.
He has gone on to direct many other great movies, including Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, and the topic of this essay, The Martian. Ridley Scott is a very credible source, as he has been around the film industry for over five decades. Weir begins his book by throwing readers into the aftermath of a disaster. The first sentence, in fact, is astronaut Mark Watney’s reaction to surviving his near death experience, in which he says, “I’m pretty much f*cked” (Weir 1). This appeal to pathos draws readers in immediately, as it akes them ask the important question, “What happened? ” From then on, Weir appeals to logos immensely, using statistics and factual evidence to make the present time (2035) seem reasonable and true. Regardless of the book being set in the future (as evidenced by NASA launching manned missions to Mars), Weir researched many technical aspects of rocket launches and manned missions to make the Ares missions seem as real as possible. For example, when Mark Watney is describing ion engines, Weir writes, “Hermes is powered by ion engines.
They throw argon out the back of the ship really fast to get a tiny amount of acceleration. The thing is, it doesn’t take much reactant mass, so a little argon…let us accelerate constantly the whole way there” (Weir 2). The amount of technicality in his speech should not be considered unusual, as Mark Watney is a botanist, engineer, and astronaut. Thus, he would know the terms that he was speaking of. Unlike the book, the movie version of The Martian starts the story off during the Ares 3 mission. There is no background on NASA’s Mars missions, no history of Watney, etc.
In the beginning of the film, the Ares 3 crew is exploring the Martian surface during Sol 18, which is similar to a day on Earth. Unlike the book, the film starts twelve sols after the book. In the book, Mark Watney “dies” on Sol 6, whereas in the movie, he dies on Sol 18. This is a minor difference between the movie adaption and the book. Characters In the main part of the movie, there are not many differences, as director Ridley Scott did a nice job sticking to the book. The differences that do exist, are somewhat profound.
First and foremost was the casting issue. In the book, Mars Mission Director Venkat Kapoor was described as being a middle aged Indian man. In the film adaption, Kapoor’s first name was changed to Vincent and the character was portrayed not by an Indian man, but by an African-American man. This caused a controversy among people across the world, as it seemed as if the movie was excluding Asian-Americans from The Martian. This casting choice also, to myself and possibly others, limits the ethnicities to Caucasian, African-American, and Chinese.
The book, however, shows the ethnicity range being broader, with Indian people and others being involved. Another casting difference was Mindy Park, the woman who worked in SatCon (NASA Satellite Control) discovered that Watney was still alive. In the movie, instead of being a Korean-American, she was a fully-Caucasian woman. This added more fuel to the issue of not encompassing enough ethnicities, and also just plain wrong casting choices in the movie. Besides the casting choices, there were also several plot changes in the film adaption of The Martian.
For example, on the way to the Ares 4 landing site, Mark Watney never encounters the massive dust storm that complicates his trip severely. In the book, Watney drives the rover into a gigantic dust storm that slows him down. The dust and Martian soil that is dropped creates a layer on the solar panels that decreases its power output efficiency. Another change was how Watney’s rover rolled down a hill. These two scenes were not shown in the film adaptation, as Ridley Scott probably thought that they were not as interesting to show in a movie as to read in a book.
The endings were very different, possibly to have a happier one for audiences to enjoy. The ending of the book was of Mark Watney explaining what happened soon after he was brought back to the Hermes. The crew complains of his smell, they embrace and talk, etc. The last two sentences of the novel are of Watney saying, “I smell like a skunk took a shit on some sweat socks. This is the happiest day of my life” (Weir 369). This would have been a less interesting yet possibly funnier ending if shown on-screen, but Ridley Scott decided against it.
The movie ending is radically different. While the book ends with the whole crew of Ares 3 back together again on the Hermes, the movie shows what happened once Watney and the rest of the crew returned to the surface. The crew of Ares 3 separate and do whatever they please: Watney stays at NASA and teaches new recruits about survival on Mars, Lewis and Vogel stay on the planet, Beck and Johanssen have a baby, and Martinez returns to the vast reaches of space. Rescue Attempt Another difference was the rescue by the crew of the Hermes.
In the book, Watney suggests popping a hole in his suit glove to propel him forward, but Commander Lewis orders him to not do that. Thus, he stays in his capsule and waits to get picked up. In the book, Beck is the astronaut who picks up Watney and takes him back. Another thing that happened in the novel was an explosion that the crew intentionally set off to slow down the Hermes. This did not happen in the movie, unfortunately, as it would have looked great on the big screen. The movie had several differences than the book.
In the film adaption, Mark Watney goes through with his “Iron Man” plan, creating a hole in his suit to release air pressure and propel him forward to the Hermes. Another difference between the book and the film was who rescued Watney. In the book, it is Beck who rescues him, but in the film, it is Commander Lewis. This was changed in the movie script probably to have a happier ending, as Lewis felt as if she left Watney on the planet, and so would want to rescue him herself. Besides the technical speech to give the feeling of an actual Mars mission, Weir includes pathos in his book.
This would be very important in connecting with readers, as astronaut Mark Watney is the only person on Mars. In short, he survived a near-death experience, was thought to be dead by the rest of the world, and has to survive approximately four hundred days all on his own. Chapters in The Martian are set up as “mission logs,” where Watney would record his daily events. As a result, Weir includes personal feelings and thoughts that Watney would have. One of the most appealing quotes from the book was when Watney thinks of home by saying, “I wonder if they’ll ever find out what really happened.
I’ve been so busy staying alive I never thought of what this must be like for my parents. Right now, they’re suffering the worst pain anyone can endure. I’d give anything just to let them know I’m still alive” (Weir 16). This quote creates sympathy for Watney, and also connects to the readers. On the other side of the spectrum, however, is a quote at the end of the book when Watney says, “This is the happiest day of my life” (Weir 369). This quote creates happiness in the minds of readers, and as the last line in the book, ends the book on a happy note.
A third quote that Weir writes is after the rescue is completed, where Watney proudly exclaims, “But really, they did it because every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out… And because of that, I had billions of people on my side” (Weir 368). This creates the sense of the good that human kind can do in times of crisis. Mark Watney was stranded on another planet, and human kind as a whole banded together to bring him home. The thought of seven to eight billion people supporting him would keep him in a positive mindset, eventually leading to his survival.
In the middle of all of the tension, Weir adds humor to show how Watney keeps a positive and happy mindset in midst of his dire situation. The portion of the story that is presented from Mars is given in the form of “mission logs”. Since Mark Watney is telling his own personal story, his feelings and thoughts would, of course, be included. Weir uses this to his advantage by easing tension immediately with a humorous or weird thought. For example, after Theodore Sander (NASA Administrator) says, “I wonder what he’s thinking right now,” Weir puts the next chapter as a short thought, with Watney only saying, “How come Aquaman can control whales?
They’re mammals! Makes no sense” (Pg 64). After reading the question by Sander, readers would think that a tense situation would follow. Instead, Weir does the exact opposite, injecting a humorous thought to relieve the suspected tension. Some of the humor that Weir writes comes from Watney’s mind. This humor would keep Mark Watney happy even though he is stranded alone on Mars. Overall, the book (and movie) follows a repetitive path, with tension and humor taking turns at their respective times in the story.