When an exploratory mission to Mars is interrupted by a major storm, the crew is forced to evacuate and make their long journey back to earth, leaving behind their thought to be dead botanist (Matt Damon). Miraculously making his way back to base, the hopeful and self-reliant scientist must either find a way to sustain himself on the lifeless planet for four years when the mission will resume or devise a plan to signal NASA to prompt rescue efforts. With his treatment of Andy Weir's The Martian, Ridley Scott demonstrates his acuity in assembling a sci-fi picture, offering awe inspiring photography and occasionally breathless moments, in a studio film that has absolutely no faith in its material. While treating its audience like adults with a highly scientific and technical screenplay, it alternately panders to the masses with its corny screenplay and empty blockbuster cliches which would feel right at home in a Roland Emmerich production. Damon's character is strangely given no background (along with the rest of the cast) and, though there are no misgivings with his performance, his unrelenting optimism and almost total neglect to explore any of the other caveats of being stranded alone 250 miles from humanity winds up being a real drag.
** 1/2 out of ****