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YMMV / The Martian

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  • Adorkable:
    • Mark Watney wonders about Aquaman being able to control whales (whales are mammals, not fish), played Dungeons & Dragons while in school, and when asked to pose for a photograph, decides to do so as The Fonz.
    • Mindy Park. Her glasses, her intelligence about latitude and longitude even the scene when Vincent asked Mindy about the context of Mark Watney's response of "Are you fucking kidding me?".
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • All of Mark's crewmates to some extent but especially Commander Lewis. Dr. Beck is also exceptionally popular, likely because he’s portrayed by Sebastian Stan.
    • Of the NASA higher-ups, there's probably Mitch Henderson.
    • Zhu Tao, the Chinese scientist who comes up with the idea that can save Watney despite the personal cost of it.
  • Iron Woobie: In spite of all of the problems that keep getting in his way, Mark Watney absolutely refuses to let the Red Planet kill him.
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: Mark compares the stripped-down MAV to "launching me to space in a convertible". In February 2018, SpaceX launched an actual convertible, a Tesla Roadster, into a solar orbit for the maiden launch of their Falcon Heavy rocket.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Mark Watney/Mindy Park has a surprisingly large following, considering that they never interacted with one another at any point (outside of Park tracking Watney’s movements with satellites.) Part of this likely stems from the fact that neither character has a canonical love interest, making it a case of Pair the Spares. However, they are both science geeks who work for NASA, so it wouldn’t be terribly implausible for them to get together.
  • Unconventional Learning Experience: There's a lot of hard science wrapped up inside this Robinsonade, especially the book. So much so that Andy Weir wrote a bowdlerized version (mainly cutting out the language) for use in schools.
    Remember those old math questions you had in algebra class? Where water is entering a container at a certain rate and leaving at a different rate and you need to figure out when it'll be empty? Well, that concept is critical to the "Mark Watney doesn't die" project I'm working on.


  • Crazy Is Cool: Most of what Mark, the Ares III crew, and the people at NASA do over the course of the book qualify for this trope, but the craziest of them all was the first proposed plan to rescue Mark: The Ares IV crew, when they reached Mars, would land their Mars Descent Vehicle (MDV) near Mark's hab, pick him up, and then use the MDV for an overland flight to the Ares IV landing site 3,200km away. Rockets used for overland flights on Earth are more commonly known as missiles, which have a tendency of, y'know, exploding when 'landing', and these maniacs wanted to use one like they were picking Mark up from daycare. Teddy vetoes this plan immediately (partly due to the insanity, partly because Mark would need to survive 4 years for Ares IV to reach him), which bums out the Ares IV astronauts and JPL techies (though he does tell them to keep working on it and find a way to subtract some of the crazy).
  • Fandom Rivalry: Pretty much encouraged in the "Questions and Topics for Discussion" at the end of the book.
    Where would you place The Martian in the canon of classic space exploration films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apollo 13, and Gravity?
  • Franchise Original Sin: Andy Weir's follow-up novel Artemis features much more of characters talking with each other, which in The Martian was mostly limited to dry science talk. Many critics found it comes off as horribly stilted and tin-eared, and suspected Weir deliberately came up with a story that would minimize this area he has trouble with for his first book.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Watney going on about how "Live Another Sol" sounds like an awesome title for a James Bond film and if he was cast for the movie he would be a better Q than a Bond is pretty chuckle-worthy considering that the actor that portrays him in the movie played Jason Bourne.
    • At one point Venkat promises another employee some Star Wars merchandise out of gratitude for a breakthrough and the guy says he doesn't want anything that isn't from the original trilogy, to which Venkat says "of course." This was just a couple of years before the announcement of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, which proved as divisive to fans of the original movies as the prequel trilogy.
    • When Mark is rescued, he says: "If this were a movie, everyone would have been in the airlock, and there would have been high fives all around." Guess what happened in the movie?
      • The reason the crew isn't there to welcome him is because they have stuff to do as they slingshot around Mars. Also, Mark stinks to high heaven, so they don't want to be near him until he gets cleaned up. Both are ignored (except for a brief joke from Mark about how he "hasn't had a shower for a year") in the film.

The film adaptation:

  • Award Snub:
    • Some saw this with director Ridley Scott being passed over for a Best Director nomination at the Oscars. If it helps soften the blow, he did receive a nomination for Best Picture anyway by acting as a producer for the film.
    • To a lesser extent, many feel that Matt Damon should have won Best Actor. It's also partly due to Leonardo Di Caprio winning for The Revenant — which caused a slight backlash of fans who wished he would have been recognised for a different role.
    • A lot of people (both critics and moviegoers) feel that this should have easily won for Best Visual Effects. Not that Ex Machina's effects aren't also stellar (especially when one considers the differences in their respective budgets, which partially explains the Academy's decision), but most people felt that The Martian had more going for it.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Fan Nickname: Russian-speaking watchers immediately dubbed Mark himself and the movie in general The Belorusian, because of all the potatoes.note 
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • There's more than a few debates on which is better — this or Interstellar given they're both sci-fi films starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain.
    • Another debate has ensued with Gravity, another film about an astronaut trying to survive near impossible odds.
    • It's also not uncommon to hear people compare this movie to The Revenant, another movie about a person left in an inhospitable environment, forging their way to survival. Though both do so on very different terms, The Martian being more optimistic and hopeful, while The Revenant is more pessimistic and brutal. Also, while The Revenant relies on its direction and cinematography to relay its story, The Martian focuses more on its writing and acting.
  • Friendly Fandoms: But of course, there's also the much more positive community that's happy to see so many space-set films on the (relatively) harder end of the Science Fiction scale being so successful.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This movie fared better in territories outside of the US. Japan in particular, loves this movie enough that it reached top box office numbers during its theatrical run.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: David Bowie's death a few months after the film's release adds a lot of poignancy to the rescue being scored with "Starman".
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Sebastian Stan and Kate Mara's characters getting married in the ending becomes this knowing that they have played characters with the same surname before: Bucky and Zoe Barnes. With the help of a third, namely Troy. And all three of those roles are their respective actors' most well-known.
    • Plus, we're seeing Bucky Barnes and Sue Storm together.
    • Did anyone notice that Luis was part of the crew too?
    • There's also the fact that Mark references Iron Man when he and his team are figuring out how to get him back on the ship. Although he wouldn't meet Tony Stark, Matt Damon would later make his MCU debut where he would play as an actor for Loki in Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Not only that, but Murph actually rescues Dr. Mann in this film.
    • Then Vincent and Bruce went on to become sorcerers.
    • Finally, Mark's reference to Iron Man eventually paid off after it was announced that Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr. would star together in the film Oppenheimer.
    • In the Japanese dub of the film, Watney is voiced by Nobutoshi Canna, who previously voiced Basara Nekki, a rock singer who wants everyone in the space to listen to his songs. In this film, he voices an astronaut stranded in Mars having to listen other people's songs, and that music turns to be disco, of all things.
    • During the Ares 3 farewell segment, it's implied that the Chicago Cubs still haven't won the World Series as of 2035. If only the filmmakers waited another year...
  • Memetic Mutation: "I'm going to have to science the shit out of this."
    • The film's bizarre and inexplicable nomination and win for the Best Comedy Film Golden Globe. You can probably expect people to go out of their way to sarcastically call it a comedy for a while now.
  • Nausea Fuel: A humorous example, but Watney visibly retching at the smell of his own crewmates' freeze-dried and rehydrated shit is pretty stomach-churning.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Just after Mark got left behind on Mars, still relatively early in the film, he discovered that he has been impaled by a metal rod from the antenna, and was forced to do a self-surgery, which is shown in very graphic detail. Mark's agonized screams after each painful procedure don't help matters. The rest of the movie is a cakewalk compared to this one scene. He perfectly summed it up after he finished:
      Mark: Fuck!
    • The airlock scene. Proof that, despite all our technological advances and safety features, space travel is still very, very, very dangerous.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Moviegoers often assume the "China saves the day by offering their unsolicited assistance" was original to the movie to pander to the powerful Chinese market. Nope, it was in the book.
    • In the book, while NASA's Chinese counterparts do offer their booster out of altruism when they had no reason to, they do smooth things over with their government by asking for a taikonaut in a future Ares mission in exchange, and mentioning that the move allows China to show up the Americans on the international stage.
    • An example of what was thought to be Actor Allusion is when the character Dr. Beck compares catching the MAV at a relative velocity of 10 m/s to jumping onto a moving train. That line was actually in the book. That the movie cast Sebastian Stan, who is best known for playing Bucky Barnes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe where he jumped onto a moving train and subsequently fell off said train, was completely coincidental.
  • Sci Fi Ghetto: Despite the positive critical reviews and commercial success, the film still fell headlong into this. It was pigeonholed into the 'Musical or Comedy' categories at the Golden Globes, and Ridley Scott even raised his eyebrows and said "Comedy?!" as he accepted the award. While the film is fairly light-hearted and has more than a few funny moments, it was marketed as a drama.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Apollo 13, which is also about a disaster in space, and how the ingenuity of NASA scientists saves the day after a few very close calls.
  • Trailer Joke Decay: "In your face, Neil Armstrong" was probably funny the first two times you heard it. But it was in every trailer.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: A given, considering the director. Special mention must be given to the sequences in space, which brings to mind the aforementioned Gravity.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
  • Woolseyism: "I'm going to have to science the shit out of this." isn't directly translatable into several other languages, so the translators reworked the line:
    • In the French translation: "I'll have to shit out a lot of science to get out of this." ("Je vais devoir en chier, de la science, pour m'en sortir.")
    • In the Russian translation: "Only science can pull me out of this shit."