on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 10:30 AM
Based on an excellent sci-fi book that is far more science than fiction, Ridley Scott’s The Martian wins a Close But No Cigar award. There isn’t anything about it that’s bad, from the performances to the stunning vistas of Mars, but it strikes the wrong tone. During a manned mission to the red planet, astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead by his crew during an evacuation. But he lived, and is forced to make a go of it by himself for several years until NASA can rescue him. The book, truly, is a terrific read, one that relies less on traditional American sci-fi heroism than hacking and trial and error. At one point, Watney refers to himself as a space pirate. That’s the mood and personality the film misses. It’s too pristine, with no hints of duct tape holding it together.