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Critical Notes on ‘The Martian’ Script: Unhelpful Nonsense


Negatives from the script (available online as a PDF):
  • appearance of Mars compared to a “blast furnace”
  • protagonist’s first word is “Fuck” [unimaginative use, no problem with word]
  • multi-paragraph undramatic expositive dialogue
  • dumbed down unintelligent boring main character
  • cheesy dated dialogue “our bad”, “shitstorm”, “I’m going to have to
    science the shit out of it”
  • crucifix sole combustible at base
  • overriding obvious question: why doesn’t he fix the damn antennae???!
  • astronauts from military backgrounds
  • inability to launch during sandstorm due to “wind”
  • wind so severe they need to lean into it “forces the doors closed against the wind”
  • “We’ve never had a manned ship controlled remotely before.”
  • Drug glorification “I’m dipping this potato in Vicodin and there’s nothing
    anyone can do about it.”
  • Mark holds up his middle finger. Fuck you Mars.” [emphasis original]
Constant corny hierarchical conflicts:
  • “We’ll do our best.” “Mark dies if you don’t.”
    “We discussed this.” “You discussed this.”
  • “I’m sorry commander you need to verbally–” “Launch!”
  • This even afflicts CNSA: “Are you kidding?” “Have you ever known me to kid, sir?”
  • “Bullshit it should be Commander Lewis’ call.” “We need to make this decision. It’s a matter of life and death.” “She’s the mission commander. Life and death decisions are her damn job.”…”You goddamn coward.”
  • “We’re talking about mutiny which is not a word I use lightly.”
  • “Easy, cowboy. You and I are military. There’s a good chance we’d be court martialed when we get home.”
  • “When this is over I’ll expect your resignation.” “I understand.”
  • “You’re sending him to space under a tarp?” “Yes. Can I go on?” “I’m not sure I want you to, but okay.”
  • “…I feel obliged to mention that setting off an explosive device on a spacecraft is a terrible, terrible idea.” “Copy that. Can you do it?” [thinks, then] “Ja.”
  • “Oh wait a minute. Yep. I’m looking at my shoulder patch and it turns out I’m commander. So shut up.”

Sole Positive:

  • blue sunrise

Jim Byrkit: “Mission to Mars”

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“Before it was a Brian De Palma project, “Mission to Mars” was going to be Gore’s second film. We worked on it for months at the Disney lot. My favorite part was researching space suits and designing one that had more mobility and potential for head movement. I drew these and several full storyboarded sequences before the project changed hands.” Jim Byrkit