The Best Space Movie? OR…

The BEST Space Movie?

For only about the third or fourth time in my entire life I went to the cinema to watch a new release movie. All of the other movies that I’ve watched have been on either my TV set or on a computer monitor. Literally, these are the movies that I’ve watched in the cinema –

  • Look Who’s Talking Too (this one I’m questionable about)
  • The Santa Clause 2
  • Avatar
  • And now…

The Martian. If you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is –

The premise is quite simple – it’s the 3rd manned mission to Mars under NASA’s Ares program, and the crew is forced to abort the mission due to an extremely severe storm. When leaving, they lose signal with one of their party – Mark Watney – and are forced to leave him assuming that he had died from whatever cause the loss of signal.

It turns out that he isn’t dead…and that’s where we begin.

I won’t get into the whole story, and I apologize for not having screenshots, since it’s a movie still in cinemas, you should watch it yourself as well as read the original book by Andy Weir.

Immediately after the movie ended, I opened my phone and started creating a list of observations (while texting back and forth with Snoskred who was going into her theater simultaneously as I was leaving mine…something which didn’t click for me until she mentioned that it would end at 4:06pm, or about 3 hours after it finished for me). I’ll get back to the list in a moment ๐Ÿ™‚

My initial impression? Wow, that was an awesome movie! After Snoskred and her other half had watched it, she asked me a question –

“Best space movie ever?”

I said right away that I thought it was equal with Apollo 13 (incidentally, the only movie I own on both DVD and Blu-Ray), but thinking about it more, I am thinking that The Martian might just have a slight lead over Apollo 13. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m so glad that I went to see it in the cinemas on opening day.ย Why is that? Firstly, the room was fullย so you could hear when people’s reactions throughout the movie. Second – I could have gone to the nearest theater to me and seen it in either 2D or 3D with good seating; however, I chose to drive further afield (to what is, probably, the most affluent suburb in the area) where they have something called “UltraScreen DLX”, meaning that this is the seat that you are in –


And there isn’t another row of seats just inches in front of you – in fact, you have 7 feet (2m) of legroom in front of you – enough to fully recline the chair, which reclined like one of those airline lie flat seats you get in first class. BUT to the best of my knowledge, you don’t pay a penny more for this experience than you do if you take normal seating. In fact, my ticket cost me a total of $10.60 (of which I had prepaid $7.60).

The snacks I purchased – 1 litre of water and a small popcorn – cost more than the ticket itself!

I got to the cinema at about 7:32 for the 7:30 showing – I managed to get what I will say is the best seat in the house –


Just about dead centre of the theatre and not at the back or the front – thought I almost wound up in the front row since I thought it was displayed with the back at the top of the screen and the front at the bottom when I picked my seat!

Anyway, I make my way to the theatre just in time for the final three trailers, and the movie starts.

When Mark says one of “those” words, there was an audible chuckle from the audience, and that is the reaction throughout the whole movie. ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the point where I’m going to put in the more tag as there will be spoilers

So, the list that I made has 24 numbered points, and then some general notes. I’m going to just leave them here in the order of their numbering. Feel free to discuss in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I seriously doubt that the messages from the rover to JPL and Houston would have been written “f— you.” Surely it would have been written in their unexpurgated form.
  2. Two major events from the book were removed from the movie –
    1. The drill incident where Mark was working on the rover modification project and lay the drill against something and created a short circuit, killing off Pathfinder again
    2. Almost the entire journey to the Schiaparelli Crater – we saw him take off, and updates on the trip, along with some amazing CG shots of the storm and tornadoes in the background. However, in the movie, Mark arrives with the rover in perfect shape and it seems like he never flipped it on the entry to the crater.
  3. Vogel didn’t have as heavy of a German accent as I would have expected.
  4. I liked that they added the bit where we see Mark presenting a survival course to cadet astronauts. In the book, he gets captured by Beck and the last we hear is Mark has a long time left on his mission on the way back to Earth.
  5. I don’t remember Lewis going out to get Mark when he launched the MAV. (Turns out, I was right, it was Beck)
  6. I want potatoes!
  7. Will potato sales increase? (Side note – I was at the grocery store today, and they were selling 5lb/2ish kg of potatoes for 79c – 12c/lb, 24c/kg)
  8. I love the shot after the failed Iris launch when we see Mark mouth the word “fuck”, that was funny ๐Ÿ™‚
  9. We got to see Matt Damon’s rear, but they couldn’t give us Kristin Wiig’s front? Maybe not the best move ๐Ÿ˜‰ (but who cares about nudity, it’s a freaking space movie!)
  10. When Mark gets back to the Hermes, they remark on his smell (as in the book), and he says that he hadn’t showered in a year…didn’t he take a shower just before he left the Hab? Sure it was a long time since a shower, but not a year…
  11. It’s obvious that Mark would have taken the video logs along with him
  12. There was little product placement – you had Cisco for the video links from NASA to JPL, and then the cameras hanging about were GoPros (but the ones on the helmets looked to be Sony Action Cams)
  13. Thank you for using proper news graphics from CNN and Sky (though I thought for a bit that the Sky graphics were BBC graphics)
  14. Based on how it was described in the book, I had the image of a Chevy Astro in my head for the rover, not what they came up with – which looked like this.
  15. Even though Mark did the modifications to the second rover in the movie, he didn’t take it with him – which makes the scene of the modifications somewhat pointless (though maybe when we see the balloon explode, that rendered the idea fruitless).
  16. I was a bit surprised at the look of the RTG in the movie being so similar to the one in Kerbal Space Program…then again, I hadn’t ever looked to see what one looks like in real life
  17. Playing KSP helped me understand things like the Hohmann Transfer, even though the book does give a basic discussion of it.
  18. Why did the MAV have what looked to be a heat shield on it? That part of the vehicle wasn’t intended for re-entry.
  19. Best space movie ever or BEST space movie ever?
  20. I saw the snacks drawer and thought Kerbal, since those things are so very much hungry all the time…if you listen to the Kerbalcast, you’ll also appreciate Kerbal Krispies.
  21. I like that when they were getting Pathfinder up and running, they used CRTs and then moved to LCDs when communicating real-time with the rover.
  22. I’m glad they didn’t get bogged down in the numbers
  23. Except for the pirate-ninja! (kWh/Sol)
  24. When mixing the freeze dried poo, I liked the use of the ear plugs as nose plugs…even though they didn’t seem to do much!
  25. 3D note – the detail they made when the had the flag pop while going to Mark early into the movie was a shot that I noticed.
  26. I wonder where they got the footage of the launches from, they looked a bit like the ULA or SpaceX launches
  27. Have I ever read the book and seen the movie before? Probably, but I can’t think of when…
  28. Have I ever had this many thoughts about anything entertainment related?

Also, I noticed that my neighbors to the left couldn’t be bothered to clean up after themselves…admittedly, I think that I may have left the wrapper for my 3D glasses there…. Plus, clapping at the end of the movie? That seems like something you’d do when you’re in school…not when you’re an adult.

But seriously, go and see the movie. And read the book. Don’t wait for it to come out on Blu Ray or on Netflix to see it. Go to the cinema!

2 thoughts on “The Best Space Movie? OR…

  1. What about that Nespresso product placement – in fact it was purely the noise of it that made me say “Is that a Nespresso?” to the other half.

    We saw it in 2d and it was awesome that way.. maybe we will go back for 3d, because unfortunately we had someone – clearly not a bright bulb – who was talking next to us for a lot of the movie. I’d like to see it both ways.

  2. I thought that coffee maker looked familiar! I knew it wasn’t a Keurig but something that I’d seen before. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Also too – piffle to them for blabbing through the movie. The neighbours who couldn’t be bothered cleaning up after themselves said a few words just as the movie started but that was literally it. I am also thinking to go back and see it in 2D at some point in time

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