Matt Damon has never been more likable onscreen than as The Martian.

Director Ridley ("Alien," "Blade Runner") Scott's latest trip to outer space tells the story of American astronaut Mark Watney, who is accidentally left behind by the NASA exploration team he's been working with on the planet. The futuristic film is part comedy, part rescue thriller and all sci-fi wonder, as Watney finds a way to survive on the Red Planet while the whole world joins in to try to bring him safely back home. The special effects are grand, the cast is first rate (including Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sean Bean) and most importantly, the story is so compelling that you're on the edge of your seat throughout most of the 150-minute movie.