I was ten years old when the U.S. national hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the semi-finals of the 1980 Winter Olympics. That event became known as the “Miracle on Ice,” and was dramatized in the movie Miracle (2004), among others. I’ve never wondered how the Soviet players felt about the game.

The problem is that Lewis’ real-life characters are so unbelievably colorful, and their story is packed with so much “I can’t believe it happened that way” serendipity, that it overshadows the sobering examination of the financial crisis McKay also wants to tell.

The failure of the movie isn’t technical – it’s spiritual. Charlie Brown’s fundamental sadness was never a problem for those who loved the strip, including children. The writers don’t have faith in their material or the audience.

When I heard Ridley Scott was directing the movie adaptation, I thought he was a brilliant choice; of course, I though Sarah Palin was a great vice-presidential pick by John McCain. Like Palin, Scott quickly shows his weaknesses and doubles down – he’s a visual technician whose images hold little wonder (they’re not awe-inspiring), and he’s not interested in what’s going on in Watney’s head, either.