Regardless of his age, director Ridley Scott continues to be very productive. Normally, he churns out a new movie every two years in the recent past. In doing so, Scott is versatile as he doesn’t just develop own material (e.g. Alien) but does also like to adapt stories from others (e.g. The Counselor by author Cormac McCarthy). After he got fans riled up with his announcement to helm Alien: Covenant himself, not a small number of people looked a bit impatiently at a project he wanted to realize first. The Martian almost looked like an uninvited guest to them.
But after watching the film adaptation of any Weir’s best-selling book, some of them will probably retracted their antipathy. Matt Damon is in the lead role as the astronaut Mark Watney who is accidentally abandoned on Mars and has to organize his survival with the help of his botanic knowledge until a rescue mission can reach him. The Martian is a true delight because it is a light-hearted and interesting entry of the sub-genre of space-themed films that so heavy on fear, suspense and horror. Of course, there are high risks and one mistake could kill Watney but the film evades the seriousness by allowing wit and irony into the mix quite a lot and thus serves as the direct opposite of Gravity. If awarding it with the Golden Globe for the “comedy” category is debatable but there are several instances that invite the viewer to smile when Watney tries to make the best out of his situation and cheers himself up with a little humor.
The version history of the film was a bit confusing at first but eventually turned out to be a typical one for Ridley Scott. He has a faible for longer cuts of his films but seems to follow an almost expectable rhythm. A movie with extended cut is followed by a title that doesn’t get that treatment. The film after that then has one again. According to this logic, it was to be expected pretty early on that The Martian would get a longer version on home video. And indeed, Scott confirmed such considerations even before the theatrical release date. However, when the Blu-ray came out, only the theatrical cut was included and the promise seemed to be unfulfilled. But now, five months later, the US finally got the Extended Edition which features 10 minutes of new material.
The additional scenes of the Extended Cut fit in seamlessly into the tone of the movie. There are more light-hearted moments with a variety of characters. You won’t find anything substantial but if you liked the theatrical version, the extended version won’t worsen your opinion. An interesting side note is that Scott apparently used the release of the longer cut to potentially restore some PG-13 censorship as some dialogue extensions deal with a vulgar term that – if you look it up – would be a clear taboo for the rating.
Compared are the Theatrical Version (PG-13) and the Extended Cut (Unrated) (both included on the US Blu-ray by 20th Century Fox).
18 differences, consisting of
8 additional scenes
8 extended scenes
1 extended scene with alternate material
1 extended scene in the theatrical version
The Extended Cut runs 563.72 sec. or approx. 9 minutes 24 seconds longer than the theatrical version.
0:19:33: Mark slowly gets out of his bed, his wound is still hurting him in his movements.
0:21:14: Short shot of Mark holding the sealed potatoes towards the camera triumphantly while reciting their name in Latin.
0:36:42: Mark draws the crater onto the map. After that, we see him sitting in the rover as he shortly falls asleep before he catches consciousness again. He says: "Almost went down.". Another Mars panorama follows before the theatrical version sets in again.
0:40:27: After the press conference, Annie says to Vincent that it’s problematic to announce that they want to bring back Mark alive. It would remind the people that he could actually die and that’s an issue for a PR person like Annie. Then she mockingly says that she needs the job because she has to give money to her two ex-husbands she divorced and that equal rights didn’t quite work out in her favor.
0:49:38: The technician says something with a sarcastic undertone and irritates Vincent who is eagerly waiting for the first pictures of Mark from Mars. Bruce takes the edge off the situation by saying that his colleague is well-known for his “humor” and then glances strongly at him.
0:58:07: After Mark’s angry written reply, Bruce asks: "What's a felcher?".
Extended Scene in the Theatrical Cut
0:58:15: In the theatrical version, Teddy tells the president on the phone that Mark didn’t mean his words. It make sense to take that scene out of the Extended Cut is this term is subject of another extension that follows shortly after.
+ 2.32 sec.
0:58:18: In the EX, Teddy recites once more what Mark wrote in his anger: "I just had to explain to the President of the United States what a bureaucratic felcher is."
Extended Scene mit alternativem Bildmaterial
0:58:26: Mitch adds that he made the mistake of searching "felcher" via Google and shamefully looks at Annie saying: “Don’t.”. When he then says to Teddy that it’s time to inform the crew, both versions show that from a different camera perspective.
The EX runs 7.2 sec. longer
1:13:41: Mark uses smoke to test the foil for air leaks which he then closes up with a special glue.
1:16:25: In the EX, Teddy introduces the meeting by leading to the $200 million question just to stop himself while confusedly looking at his note, asking if that number at the beginning was supposed to be a 2 or a 5. Bruce tends towards the 5.
1:17:42: Mark explains that he adds a potato to every portion of meat loaf and begins to hate them with the force of a thousand suns.
1:18:36: In the control center, Mike hears that the satellite repositionings have not yet been done. Since that is the task of Rich, Mike angrily goes to Rich’s office where he absently stares at his computer and asks Mike to arrange for time at the NASA super computer. Mike asks him when he has slept the last time but Rich only says that it’s very important. Mike says that he’ll see to it and exits the office.
1:30:01: Mark has a lot of time on Mars and has to make use o fit somehow. After the NASA observes his movements on the Mars surface, they recognize that he seems to finish the experiments he and his colleagues could not fulfill. And indeed, that’s what he does. He talks to his colleagues via the recording log and leaves them funny messages.
1:37:24: The Hermes crew sends Mark the news that they’ll come and get him. Mark asks himself how they want to accomplish that.
1:53:23: Mark blows air into a tent where we see him undressed and considerably thinner than before. He eats his rationed meal and buries a little bag that contains his feces and adds a hand-written note saying “Sorry”. Then we see him continuing his trip.
1:58:27: The Hermes crew trains via simulator how to catch Mark in space. Not everything works out yet.
1:59:34: A part of Melissa’s rundown of the mission and everyone’s role in it can be heard in the theatrical version while the Hermes is seen floating in space. In the EX, we see her saying these words within a larger dialogue scene among the crew members who discuss the rescue mission. There’s a lot of technical talk and one colleague says that Mark could be in a bad physical shape.