But, I was seriously disappointing in the film. Not due to the book, since I have not read it. But because it gave the impression it was going to have some sort of scientifically-accurate veneer on it.
But as the story unfolded, I immediately started to shake my head and smack my forehead in disbelief at the blatant nonsense of the film from a science standpoint.
It would take an immense post to cover all of the things that wrong both scientifically, practically or procedurally. For those interested, I'll cover as many as I can before fatigue sets in. This is based on the film, not the book.
Launching a space-ship in a violent storm. So violent that it is pushing the dang thing over. Obviously one could argue it was designed for that, but I see no reason to believe it was from the movie.
Watney is hit by debris and whisked away. An astronaut asks how long he could survive if his suit was breached (or something like that). A) That question would not be asked, they would know. B) The answer is not whatever they said (1 minute or something) but rather 3 minutes (max, which is what they'd be concerned with).
Watney is in left on the surface, and wakes up the next.... day, I guess. O2 is low, apparently, but otherwise in pretty good sleep. Suit or no, he would have faced freezing to death. Quite often the film deals with cold one moment and then ignores it the next.
Funny thing... he used a normal Hero camera to do his vlogging... yet the results as shown were 3D. :)
Watney talks about the awful things that can go wrong. The final one he says something like, "... and if the hab fails... I'll implode!" Implode? You don't implode in a thin atmosphere! Or even zero-atmosphere. Your bowels and bladder would evacuate. You'd lose consciousness pretty quick, and die in 3. If you held your breath your lungs would rupture. But you don't frikin implode. He must be thinking of... the bottom of the sea or something? Mr. science astronaut guy would never say anything so lame-brained.
Hollywood's rediculous portrayal of computers, even the kind everyday people use, is on full display. Sure, some of us appreciate the shoe-horned in nod to Zork 2 and Leather Goddesses of Phobos (especially, given it's Mars), but takes nothing away form everything else shown. When Watney goes around talking about "Hex-Y-Decimal" spoken like someone who's never picked a color for a web page before, I just cringed.
It wasn't clear, but it also looks like he tried to point the communication dish at Earth? It is true Pathfinder had the ability to communicate directly to earth through both a low and high gain antenna, but the way it would work is the low-gain is omnidirecitonal, and once signal is received then they remotely determine how to orient the high-gain which is more focused. That is more of a quibble.
Some basic of Mars are wrong, like gravity. Sure, hard to get right.... but still wrong.
There were many scenes on the Hermes where EVA was treated very poorly. I was really amused when the one guy pop'd the hatch to watch the docking operation. Maybe he was going to help out instead of what was really happening.... putting himself and the mission in ridiculous danger. The whole EVA crawling around the space station was just shy of Gravity-level ridiculousness.
Basics of space wrong: There is no sound in the vacuum of space. Sure some sounds could be heard in the suits from things happening to the suit (things dinking off the helmet or whatnot) but there was way more sound than that going on.
The Hermes itself was not believable. It had these parts with gigantic glass picture windows. That's not a likely design feature. Needing a bomb to open a hatch... okay maybe, but mostly just seemed a way to try and figure out how to "science up a bomb" on screen than anything.
I'm sorry to disappoint, but poking a hole in your glove does not make you Iron Man. How do I know? Because this has happened before. Know what really happens? Your skin seals the hole, ,without much notice, and you get a little red welt that goes away later. Very non-dramatic.
Now I think the worst part for me had to be where they introduce the supposed astro-navigation socially-inept genius. Everything about that was absurd.
First, the idea of a sling-shot gravity assist to get back to Mars is not some genius plan. It is basic space vessel navigation. The idea he had to dumb it down so the head of NASA could understand it was so laughable I almost fell out of my seat. Bad plot device... BAD.
Seeing him sit in a data center with his laptop jacked into some server so it could tell him "Calculations Correct" was a laugh-out-loud moment. Guessing those servers were not on any network, huh? And, um, why would Mathmatica not run the same on both computers? :)
Nothing to do with science, but watching them try and lift every cool line they could form Apollo 13 made my eyes roll each time. They WERE cool in Apollo 13, but here they sounded desperate in an Armageddon-sort-of-way.
I didn't read the book, and it wasn't mentioned, but it looked like Watney might have had scurvy at the end there. If so, that part was a nice touch. I assume his vitamins must have run out at some point.
I must be forgetting as many gaffs as I remember.
Getting things right wouldn't make this story worse, it would have made it better. It didn't look like there was decisions made to skimp on the accuracy so much as a lack of caring. From what I understand, the opposite of the book.