Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Martian

The Martian
(2015) Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Sean Bean, Kristen Wiig, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis

martian

So I went to see The Martian at the cinema tonight. I was hopeful yet wary at the same time. The book was so amazing, and I know how Hollywood loves to change things up, so I was a little scared. I also was iffy about the casting of Matt Damon. I thought he might be too “big” for the role, too good looking. Mark Watney was described as being a little geeky, and Matt’s not the first name to come to mind when I hear “geeky”. But my fears were all unfounded, this was a great piece of film. Matt easily pulled off Mark’s geeky charm and sense of humour, but was also there when he needed to be serious and more dramatic. There was a lot missing from the film that was in the book, but that’s to be expected, there’s no way to fit everything, but everything important was there, and they didn’t add any useless Hollywoodized crap. There was just one thing that pissed me off a little, and that was that they changed a character’s race and first name. In the book, one of the NASA people is called Venket Kapoor, and he’s Indian. In the film they made him black and changed his name to Vincent. The rest of the racially diverse cast is right, so why change that one? It’s ridiculous. But that’s really the only bad thing I have to say about the film. Everything was great, good acting all round, great story, nice visuals, even the usually annoying 3D was alright. And so it gets an almost perfect 9.5/10 from me!

M.

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Mel’s 10 Things About… Space Odyssey

Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets
(2004) Martin McDougall, Joanne McQuinn, Rad Lazar, Mark Dexter, Michelle Joseph, Mark Tandy, Hélène Mahieu, Lourdes Faberes, John Schwab, Colin Stinton, David Suchet (v.o.)

Space Odyssey Voyage to the Planets

1. The CGI was simply breathtaking.
2. Acting was good all round.
3. The the mix of film and faux-documentary style. Sometimes that can go horribly wrong, in this case it went very, very right.
4. The science, as far as I can tell, is really good. It lines up with other shows I’ve watched and books I’ve read on the subject. Some things are out-dated, but the film was made in 2004 after all.
5. There are some good, tense scenes here and there, and one really sad one that made me bawl like a baby the first time round.
6. This still falls into the realm of science fiction, but for how long, I wonder? I certainly hope I live long enough to see our explorations of other planets and moons.
7. Everything was mostly believable except maybe putting humans on Venus and Io. Would a titanium suit really protect us from the awesome pressures and heat from Venus?
8. I was really hoping, while hovering around Jupiter and Saturn that they’d land on, or at least mention, the moons Titan and Europa. The latter, with its under-ice ocean, is tremendously exciting. (Another very good film on the subject is Europa Report, about what might be swimming around in that deep, dark ocean.)
9. That one dude who was more interested in the science than in the safety of the astronauts really pissed me off, and I’d like to say that that would never happen in real life, but really now, who am I kidding?
10. I was kinda pissed that the “weak one” was a woman. Why not a man? Or, even better, why have a weak one at all? Having a full team of great astronauts isn’t that far a stretch.

Great little film by the BBC. I’d recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in space travel.

9.5/10

 

M.

Mel’s 5 Second Audiobook Review: The Martian

The Martian
Written by: Andy Weir
Read by: RC Bray

The-Martian

“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 those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.”

(Questions from Audible’s reviews form)

Would you listen to The Martian again? Why?
I probably wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s very, very rare that I’ll ever re-read a book. It’s happened only a small handful of times in my adult life. I have so much in my to-read list that I don’t spend time re-reading books, no matter how awesome they were (and this one was awesome).

Who was your favorite character and why?
Definitely the main character, Mark Watney. Along with the obvious heroic stuff, he’s got a killer sense of humour that just brings the character to a whole other level. Venket Kapour, a NASA administrator, is also a wonderful character.

What about RC Bray’s performance did you like?
Everything! He’s an awesome reader! Every character has his own unique voice and accent, even the women, without sounding silly. His voice is pretty much perfect. He was born to read audiobooks.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I laughed out loud a good few times. I never cried, but I did get really tense a few times. Near the end, I actually had trouble sitting still while listening!

Any additional comments?
This is a practically perfect sci-fi story. And it’s not so out there that I couldn’t picture something like this actually happening. It’s futuristic, but not very far into the future. 50, 100 years, tops. The writing was simple, but very good, and all the characters were engaging. I’d recommend it to anyone even remotely interested in sci-fi. It gets a perfect score from me, 10/10.

Mel’s 5 Second Review: The Last Days on Mars

The Last Days on Mars
(2013) Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Romola Garai, Olivia Williams, Johnny Harris, Goran Kostic, and Tom Cullen

last-days-of-mars

I’m not the biggest fan of indie sci-fi, but I’d been pleasantly surprised by Europa Report, so I decided to go ahead and give this one a try. What an awful, awful mistake that was. The film starts, and already everyone is on edge and acting strange. One of the leads keeps getting weird flashbacks, another is a mega-bitch who doesn’t even blink when the first body is found, asking instead if they will announce their findings. After 31 minutes of having characters telling each other to fuck off, still having no explanation as to how this crack team got to Mars in the first place (guess they went to the same Academy as the Prometheus crew), and a ridiculous amount of heavy breathing, I couldn’t do it anymore. I don’t often stop movies before they’re done, but I really couldn’t subject my brain to any more of this crap. 0/10.

This movie is currently streaming on Netflix, but do yourself a favour and don’t bother. Watch Europa Report instead. I’m not even going to go look for a trailer :-p

M.