Special to the AmNews

When an otherwise successful NASA mission to Mars is overtaken by an unexpected and severe storm, the astronauts take off for home, leaving behind a presumed-dead crew member, Mark Watney (Matt Damon). But Watney is merely injured and unconscious and awakens to find himself alone with limited resources. Fortunately, there is a command station and some food and water. From the station, he develops a survival plan and ultimately re-establishes communications with NASA.

“The Martian” gets a “rent it” rating. This 3-D, sci-fi film lacks the substance and compelling conflicts to make it worth seeing at a theater. There are no true villains, and every hurdle is quickly overcome by someone with a bright—and successful—idea. The characters, from the lead through the vast supporting cast, are one-dimensional and, frankly, not very interesting.

Even the special effects are very ordinary by today’s standards. And at more than two hours long, “The Martian” is really much ado about nothing.

One bright spot, however, is the diverse cast. “The Martian” gets an A- for cast diversity. Major roles include Michael Pena as astronaut Rick Martinez and Chiwetel Ejiofor as NASA official Venkat Kapoor.

“The Martian” is rated PG-13 (for some strong language, injury images and brief nudity) and has a running time of 2 hours and 14 minutes.