The Martian 

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4 stars
Great adaptation that falls a little short of being amazing

I didn’t think Ridley Scott had another great movie in him, but he proved me wrong. The Martian turned out to be visually powerful, well-paced and well-acted, and will likely be remembered as one of the best sci-fi movies of this decade.

Matt Damon does a great job with a challenging lead role, conveying both the desperation and witty resourcefulness that define Mark Watney. Among the support cast, Kate Mara shines and lets us experience the emotional journey of one of Watney’s fellow crew members.

The movie lacked suspense in its last third, which in my view is because part of the story arc from the book has been omitted in favor of greater focus on the supporting characters. A bolder choice might have been to go the opposite route: to focus almost completely on Watney’s isolation.

We’re left with a movie that conveys optimism in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, and enthusiasm for scientific exploration, while being highly entertaining. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it.