Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Guest Review: Mission to Mars (2000) vs. Red Planet (2000)

By ScottDS
With Mars in the news once again, I thought it might be a good time to take a look back at the two Mars films that graced the silver screen in the year 2000: Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars and Antony Hoffman’s Red Planet. Neither film is very good but Mission to Mars is the bigger disappointment, having set its sights far higher. One thing is certain: the definitive Mars movie has yet to be made. Let’s start with Mission.

In the year 2020. . . when the first manned Mars mission goes wrong, a rescue attempt is made. The rescuers include Blake (Tim Robbins), McConnell (Gary Sinise), Fisher (Connie Nielsen), and Ohlmyer (Jerry O’Connell). Unfortunately, during the rescue, the ship is damaged and the crew must abandon ship and make their way to the resupply module orbiting the planet. Blake overshoots his approach and floats away. Knowing he can't jeopardize the mission and the crew, he removes his helmet and dies instantly. The rest of the crew arrives on Mars and finds the stranded astronaut, Graham (Don Cheadle), who has been living in a makeshift greenhouse.

He explains that a weird noise his crew had heard was actually a map of human DNA using XYZ coordinates, but it’s missing a pair of chromosomes. They transmit the information at which time a mysterious opening appears in the side of a large structure. They venture inside where a Martian appears and (silently) reveals that Mars was once covered with water but was hit by an asteroid. The Martians evacuated but one craft went to Earth where it deposited a strand of DNA in the ocean. Over millions of years, the DNA evolved into fish, then land mammals, and eventually humans who one day would voyage to Mars and be recognized as its descendants. An invitation is offered to follow the Martians to their new home. McConnell volunteers and as the others return to Earth, McConnell’s spaceship sets sail for points unknown.

[sigh] Oh, this movie. . . so much potential wasted. 2001, Apollo 13, Contact. . . these are just some of the superior movies you might be thinking of as you watch Mission to Mars. I give De Palma and his crew credit for thinking big and for trying to make a serious film and not a simple shoot ’em up. But it’s an overall unsatisfying experience. But before I go into detail, let’s now look at Red Planet.

In the year 2056. . . Earth has been ravaged by eco disasters. Automated missions have been seeding Mars with algae as part of a terraforming operation, but the amount of oxygen produced by the algae has dropped so a crew is sent to investigate: mission commander Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss), Gallagher (Val Kilmer), Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), Chantillas (Terence Stamp), Santen (Benjamin Bratt), and Pettengill (Simon Baker). Their ship is damaged on arrival by a solar flare so the crew abandons ship while Bowman stays behind. The crew is tasked with locating a habitat that had been set up earlier but their landing craft is damaged during descent. Chantillas suffers a ruptured spleen and stays behind and they’ve also lost track of AMEE, their robot assistant.

They find the habitat destroyed. Pettengill and Santen wander off where the former accidentally kills the latter during an argument. With their oxygen running out, Gallagher removes his helmet but is surprised to find the air breathable. They’re reunited with a damaged AMEE, who now perceives them as a threat. It cripples Burchenal before retreating. Bowman instructs them to use an old Russian probe to launch into orbit, except it can only hold two people. Pettengill later flees with the radio but is killed by AMEE. Gallagher and Burchenal discover a field of algae, along with indigenous insects. It’s revealed that these “nematodes” were dormant until the algae growth: they consume algae and excrete oxygen. The nematodes attack Burchenal, who promptly sets himself and the creatures on fire. Gallagher reaches the Russian probe and uses AMEE’s guts for a power source. Bowman recovers the probe and they set sail for home.
Unlike De Palma’s film, Hoffman’s film (this is his only feature credit) doesn’t set its sights so high and the crew has a more natural camaraderie, such as it is. Compare the meal scene in this film with the opening barbecue in Mission to Mars. The former comes off as natural (if somewhat stilted) while the latter reeks of artificiality: an alien’s idea of what a backyard barbecue is like. Robbins, Sinise, and Cheadle have almost no chemistry, whereas Carrie-Anne Moss – who has a wonderful air of authority and no-nonsense vibe – fits in perfectly with Kilmer and Sizemore’s shenanigans. Red Planet has characters who are actually funny and pleasant whereas Mission has one comic relief character but Jerry O’Connell comes off as an unqualified manchild. His Mission co-stars Cheadle and Nielsen are fine, Sinise is his usual likeable self, Robbins overacts (to the point where I can't even take him seriously), and Armin Mueller-Stahl plays the head of the Mars program like an old Jewish uncle! And in Red Planet, Kilmer keeps his weirdness in check, Sizemore is great as usual, Baker and Bratt don’t really register, and Stamp is entertaining as always (but terribly underused).

Mission to Mars also has some horrible exposition. It’s never a good sign when one of your lead actors has an entire paragraph of dialogue laced with “Remember when. . .” and “If X hadn’t happened. . .” etc. At least Moss’ opening voice-over in Red Planet is quick and painless. Mission comes off as much smaller than it should, but maybe that was the idea: for the first manned mission to Mars, there’s absolutely no fanfare, no sense that this is a momentous event, no reaction from the world. We’re on Earth, then we’re on Mars. Done deal. Red Planet doesn’t have that “small” vibe. In Mission, they make a big deal about training and simulations and we briefly see the astronauts’ families but it’s all so self-contained. Red Planet is nothing but self-contained. There are no other characters you wish you could see since they’re never introduced in the first place. It’s all business. Mission also has an abundance of obvious clichés and when Tim Robbins says, “Let’s work the problem!”, you think to yourself, Did he just say that with a straight face?
The story of Mission has been done before and I’m not a fan of the Chariots of the Gods? concept that early human civilization was influenced by extraterrestrial beings. Personally, I think it’s pseudo-scientific crap and I feel it does a disservice to our accomplishments as a species. To quote Gene Roddenberry: “. . .ancient astronauts did not build the pyramids – human beings built them because they're clever and they work hard.” Regarding Red Planet, I used to think the inclusion of AMEE was gratuitous. A mission to another planet wasn’t dramatic enough so they had to throw in a killer robot, too? But it works. There are also a couple of interesting discussions about faith but they don’t amount to much. Terence Stamp has a nice scene with Kilmer where he says, “Who knows, I may pick up a rock and it'll say underneath, ‘Made by God.’ The universe is full of surprises.” I’m not a religious man but I really wish the film had dealt with more of this. It’s referenced a couple of times but never pays off in any meaningful way. We also don’t get to explore Pettengill’s guilt as much as I would’ve liked. It’s hinted that the others are suspicious of him but I was waiting for a big showdown that never happened.

Graeme Revell’s score to Red Planet barely registered with me, except when it was bad. I’m not an expert on the famous film composer Ennio Morricone but his score for Mission to Mars doesn’t quite work, to the point where I’m taken out of the film because I’m actually noticing the music, and that I don’t like what I’m noticing. I’m not saying he should’ve taken the Williams/Goldsmith/Horner route and maybe I should applaud him for doing something different. But different doesn’t always = good. And this leads to what I think are some of the biggest arguments among film music fans: Should film scores be noticeable? Should they blend in? Should they only serve the story? Should they also work as a standalone experience? I can't answer these questions.
The art direction and costume design in Mission are top-notch. The spacecraft and spacesuits all look like believable extrapolations of what we have today. The visual effects (by ILM and the late Dream Quest Images) still hold up, but the CGI Martian looks like a videogame character. Per usual for a De Palma film, the cinematography is excellent and, not surprisingly, there are some visual nods to Kubrick but I’ll let it slide! As for Red Planet, the production design is also top-notch but some of the effects don’t hold up. Ironically, the CGI AMEE animation is perfect but simpler things like the Martian surface haven’t aged well. I could be wrong but, watching Red Planet, one gets the impression that there was a lot of footage left on the cutting-room floor. The crew’s introduction is rather rushed and a couple of times during the film, we flashback to earlier conversations (along with snippets we missed the first time around). I wonder if this was intentional, or if the filmmakers were trying to save their own asses.

Like I said above, I believe the definitive Mars movie has yet to be made. But it will be made one day, by a filmmaker with a singular vision. (If it’s James Cameron, I hope he brings in a co-writer!) And hopefully, unlike Mission to Mars, it will give humans a little more credit and, unlike Red Planet, more humans will actually survive the trip!

“F--- this planet!”

60 comments:

Outlaw13 said...

The astronaut removing his helmet to die sort of reminds me of a scene in the film Marooned from the 70's. I enjoyed it back then but I have a sneaking suspicion that if I watched it today it wouldn't be very good at all.

It was based on a book by Martin Caidin (who also wrote the book Cyborg, that The 6 Million Dollar Man was based on).

shawn said...

No disagreement from me on either of these. Good review.

Commander Max said...

The Martian Chronicles wasn't the definitive Mars movie(LOL)?

I find the comparison hilarious.
I saw Mission to Mars in the theater.
I didn't see Red Planet till years after it came out(blame Mission to Mars).

The only comparison I can make.
Red Planet was very watchable(entertaining, had a good flow, production design was beautiful, it worked as a film(I didn't say it was a great film)).
Watching Mission to Mars was like chewing rocks(perhaps Martian rocks). I put it in on my list of top 10 bad films. I only wish I walked out and got my money back.

ScottDS said...

Outlaw -

I've heard of Marooned but I've never seen it.

Speaking of removing helmets, I remember at the time Mission to Mars was released, people wondered, "Why doesn't Gary Sinise put his helmet on when the ship starts to lose oxygen?" It's completely unmotivated and unprofessional. He says there's no time but there obviously is. My theory is that his character secretly has some kind of death wish - his wife died and he's still in a bit of a funk. But I don't think this is the case; it's just another sign of awful writing!

Thankfully, writer Graham Yost rebounded after this film. He worked on Band of Brothers and created Justified, among other things.

ScottDS said...

shawn -

Thanks! I literally decided to review these last week. I watched Red Planet for the first time on Amazon Prime and Mission to Mars just happened to air on TV a couple days later!

ScottDS said...

Max -

I assume you're referring to the Martian Chronicles miniseries? I've never seen it but, your LOL notwithstanding, I'd have to say no. :-)

What I'm talking about is this: James Cameron did Titanic. For better or worse, that is the definitive Titanic movie of my generation and any subsequent Titanic movie will always be compared to it.

Mars deserves similar treatment.

And like you, I saw the former in theaters while I saw the latter much later (last week, actually!). Many of the same people who worked on The Matrix (including the costume designer and the production designer) also worked on Red Planet - I imagine because they were both shot in Australia.

I've never asked for my money back for a bad movie - the way I see it, I'm taking the risk and it'll either pay off or it won't.

Outlaw13 said...

Get your ass to Mars!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Excellent comparison, I will be back with more comments in a few minutes. :)

ScottDS said...

Outlaw -

Would you believe I originally opened with that line in my rough draft? :-)

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

As usual, no rush!

(And this might be a first - two articles, one on each site, both influenced by me, one more than the other, of course.) :-)

tryanmax said...

"[T]he definitive Mars movie has yet to be made."

Uh, excuse me? Did you forget about Robinson Crusoe on Mars starring Adam West and a monkey? I rest my case.

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

No, I haven't forgotten about that one, though I don't know how many non-film people remember it. :-)

Like I said above with my Titanic example, when I say "definitive," I mean the one film that stops other filmmakers from even attempting another one, at least for a long time.

tryanmax said...

Scott, I get what you meant. I was just having a bit of fun. Though, in truth, Crusoe on Mars is better than the sum of its parts.

ScottDS said...

tryanmax -

I only saw the movie once years ago when the Criterion DVD was released but I remember liking it (and Adam West is always appreciated!). It's another one of those movies I'm surprised hasn't been remade yet.

I suppose there are plenty of reasons why we haven't seen an epic Mars movie lately... maybe it's just our collective cynicism and the fact that we don't dream big anymore. Why make a movie (presumably an optimistic one) about Mars when you could make a much cheaper movie about... well, anything else.

Not to mention sci-fi, while considered "cool" by some people, still seems to have a negative stigma attached to it, despite what Hollywood says as it courts the geek demographic.

Joel Farnham said...

Scott,

The only movie that comes close to good is the first Total Recall. And I didn't like the ending. An Alien machine creates oxygen and saves our heroes? It felt like deus ex machina.

ScottDS said...

Joel -

I haven't seen Total Recall in a while but I never thought of the machine as a deus ex machina. The idea that it could create a breathable atmosphere in seconds? Yeah, that's a cheat.

And lest we forget, it may have all been just a dream. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think you are absolutely right that the definitive Mars film has not been made. I had high hopes that one of these would be it, but they both disappointed me. In the end, I'm not sure either film really understood what was supposed to happen to make a trip to Mars so interesting, so they fell back on gimmicks.

In truth, I'm not sure how to make a Mars movie all the interesting unless you were making a film of the first attempt to create a human settlement. That is where I would concentrate.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel and Scott, Total Recall is probably still the best "Mars" film, though it's ultimately pure fantasy.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

You're probably right. I imagine the "definitive" Mars movie would be almost like a western, with the whole frontier/expansion thing going on... with a dash of Apollo 13 or The Abyss, too.

As I mentioned in the review, I hated what Mission to Mars did with the Erich von Däniken stuff. I just don't buy it. (And I say that as someone who believes in UFOs!)

Forget aliens, I imagine there's enough drama inherent in just getting to Mars and settling. But I can imagine all the cliches: the kid who doesn't want to go, the crazy military guy who wants to nuke the planet from orbit (that's a slight exaggeration!), the scientist who gets killed after doing something foolish, etc.


Joel Farnham said...

Scott,

I can almost see you doing a cliched Mars movie. The more cliches the better. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Here's my Mars movie...

1. There is an orbiting space station.

2. We've been dropping materials to the planet surface.

3. A crew is dropped in a lander vehicle to construct the base.

4. They need to assemble the materials to build the shelter before they run out of air and supplies because their lander malfunctions and can't return to the station.

5. They struggle to get the thing built.

6. The whole film "feels" like Apollo 13, with constant talk between NASA HQ where they work on solutions and the space station relaying messages and considering a rescue mission, while the guys on the ground are working to build the shelter.

That's how I would approach it.

ScottDS said...

Joel -

When we're done with our cliched train disaster parody (which was discussed in the Unstoppable comments), we'll move on to Mars! :-)

BIG MO said...

Very nice, ScottD - I've seen both films ... once. That was enough. I love good space adventures that attempt to be serious (a la Apollo 13), but these two were duds.

Andrew - Kim Stanley Robinson's celebrated Mars trilogy could be made into a movie or two. The trilogy covers the first colonists, terraforming the planet and building a thriving civilization.

Personally, my favorite Mars movie is "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians," mainly because I received this wretched turd 2 years in a row from the same person as a white elephant gift. ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I have not forgotten the train film, I've just been buried in stuff. I will have time once I get the conservative film guide finished. :)

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Yeah, something does have to happen. Whether it's a lander malfunction or an alien influence... I guess the problem is, how do you decide what to use? The more dramatic plot device may not be the more satisfying.

I was reading an article in the latest Popular Science about NASA wanting to set up radio communications on the far side of the moon and there's something to be said about simply seeing smart people trying to solve a problem. No aliens, no fireworks... just numbers, and intelligence, and a bit of mystery.

AndrewPrice said...

Big Mo, When I was young (1980s) I saw The Martian Chronicles. I don't know if it was a film or miniseries or what, but I saw it. I remember everyone talking about how this was "the definitive story" of man going to Mars. I was completely underwhelmed. It struck me more as the Waltons meet some people with yellow eyes.

ScottDS said...

Big Mo -

Thanks for the kind words. I haven't read Robinson's books though I am familiar with them. Believe me, I've got a whole list of books to read... I just need to finish two Star Trek novels and Edmund Morris' three-part Teddy Roosevelt biography first!

I haven't seen Santa Claus Conquers the Martians... I know of it, I just haven't gotten to it yet. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think the lander malfunction makes a lot of sense because (1) it's easy to believe, (2) it doesn't change the plot so much as gives you a ticking time bomb and lets you put all the characters into high-function mode where they all need to struggle to maximize their best skills to get through it. What you end up with is the same film you would have seen only not as dull because it's suddenly frenetic.

I would avoid the aliens because that changes the nature of the story from being about landing on Mars to being about "fantasy" science fiction.

BIG MO said...

Andrew - yeah, the Martin Chronicles is kind of "eh." Bradbury's stories are much better. (Someone made a graphic novel version of his tales some years ago, which is quite good.)

AndrewPrice said...

Big Mo, I just recall it being really uninspired.

ScottDS said...

Off to school... be back later!

T-Rav said...

Nice review, Scott. I saw Red Planet on TV last year and then Mission to Mars this summer. I didn't dislike either one, but I wasn't impressed by them either.

The one thing about Mission to Mars that took me out of the movie was when they found Cheadle's character, and he was living on the surface--in a tent. Now granted, Mars kinda has an atmosphere, but it's a very thin one, with virtually no oxygen. I don't care if it was some special NASA tent, it couldn't have sealed perfectly, and anyone living in there would have lost their breathable air pretty darn quick.

Maybe that's nitpicky, but it just really bothers me.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, You're just anti-scouting. ;)

T-Rav said...

Hey, hey, hey--just because I washed out of the BSA and was never any good at getting merit badges doesn't mean I'm anti-scouting. Blowing up my scoutmaster's car means I'm anti-scouting.

AndrewPrice said...

I didn't know you could wash out of BSA? I guess blowing up your scoutmaster's car would do it. ... or more accurately, getting caught blowing up your scoutmaster's car would do it.... no Stealthy Assassination badge for you!

Doc Whoa said...

Scott, Excellent article. I saw both years ago and have occasionally seen them on television since and I always hope for more than they give. For all the talent involved, they should have been more interesting.

ScottDS said...

T-Rav -

Thanks. Believe it or not, I noticed the same thing back when I saw this film in the theater. I was still in high school at the time. If I recall, they don't even go through a tunnel or airlock - they literally open a thin flap, and the oxygen's just fine.

I think if it pulled you right out of the movie, then it's not nitpicky. Nitpicky would be something that isn't obvious - something you'd notice after multiple viewings (IMHO).

ScottDS said...

Andrew (and T-Rav)

My brother was a scout for a little while but when we were younger, he and I were Tiger Cubs. I don't even remember how we got involved with it or how long it lasted (it wasn't long)... all I remember is an organized camping trip with dad. It was an actual campsite and the tents were already made so we didn't have to do much from scratch! There's a home movie of us on the trip and some photos... other than that, I have no recollection.

ScottDS said...

Doc -

Thanks! Like I mentioned above, I only saw Red Planet for the first time last week and Mission to Mars just happened to come on TV this weekend. I guess both are entertaining enough to keep on in the background but Mission in particular is a disappointment considering the talent involved, and I think De Palma might've been out of his element. I can't blame a guy for trying something new but the script needed a lot more work!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I was never a scout. I'm not a "joiner" so I don't join organizations. I'm not a fan of camping either. I don't see the point. Mankind took millions of years to develop beds, why do I want to sleep on the ground... even on Mars?

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Considering I had to be only 7 or 8, I obviously didn't have much say in the matter!

I'm all for camping, though I've never really gone on a traditional camping trip. I'd jump at the chance if invited but I'm not rushing to go myself.

And yeah, I was never a joiner either. I was in my high school's marketing club (DECA chapter) because I just happened to be placed in marketing class (if you were in the class, you were in the chapter). I made the most of it and actually enjoyed it quite a bit - the only trophy I have to my name is for a senior class project on the merits of - wait for it - the free enterprise system.

In middle school, I joined yearbook club but the teacher was a bit of a flake and she hired an outside helper to do all the typing - I wanted to do the typing! She literally gave everyone except me and some girl specific tasks and she told us, "I'll send for you guys if I need you."

I never saw this teacher again. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, "I'd jump at the chance"... sounds like serial killer bait! ;)

I was forced to join various groups to pad my college application, but I did it under protest and I wasn't happy about it. I hear kids today need to join half a dozen groups. Blech.

ScottDS said...

Whenever anyone asks me why I'm an Independent voter, I give them the old Groucho Marx line: "I'd never belong to a club that would have me as a member!"

Serial killer bait? Not at all. :-) I've never been on any kind of trip like that but that's what I get for having friends who are more broke than I am.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I just have this vision of you climbing into the back of a VW Minibus because some creepy guy with a tick pulls up and offers to take you camping! ;)

That's a great line by Groucho. I think you're just an independent because my brainwashing hasn't kicked in yet! :)

LL said...

Of the two, I preferred Red Planet. Neither one blew my hair back, but of the two, definitely Red Planet.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

You guys get your own house in order before you start inviting guests! :-)

(Seriously, when you wrote that Obama is not a Socialist, my first thought was, "Now all you need to do is go to every other conservative website and say the same thing. See ya next year!")

ScottDS said...

LL -

At the end of the day, I prefer neither of them but Red Planet satisfies slightly more simply by virtue of how badly they screwed up the other one!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's a tall order to get our house in order. How about we just build a new one?

As for the two films, I go with Red Planet as well by a hair, and what I liked best was Tom Sizemore and AMEE (though you correctly note that was just a gimmick).

ScottDS said...

The funny thing is, I would talk to my friend about this movie and I'd tell him the same thing about AMEE that I mentioned above, and my friend would just say, "Watch the movie, then judge!"

But it worked. It's a bit predictable but in this film, with the downer vibe they were going for (intentionally or not), it seemed to fit in.

On the other hand, it's like doing Jaws with, not just a shark, but an oil spill going on as well. And what's a big reason we admire Jaws? Narrative efficiency.

AndrewPrice said...

True, but Jaws is an elegantly written film with a strong story. Neither of these films can say that. Indeed, there were too many characters, too many subplots, too many attempts to latch onto anything to make the story interesting. And because of that, the AMEE subplot comes through as the strongest because it's the most consistent, it runs the longest, it provides the most action and drama, and it's the most visually compelling.

T-Rav said...

Hey now, camping is fun, and I don't care what anyone says. I haven't gotten to do any in a long time, though. I kinda miss it.

shawn said...

A train movie and a mars movie? Carpenter already did it with Ghosts of Mars. It wasn't very good.

obiwan2009 said...

I recently decided to read Out of the Silent Planet, to which I realized, "Wow! C.S. Lewis actually wrote sci-fi books about space travel and colonization!

Other than that, my girlfriend was considering that we see the unedited four-hour extended edition of Dune, by Frank Herbert. Any reviews on that? Does anyone think it's worth it to see the version not cut to about 1 hour and 45 minutes?

obiwan2009 said...

Andrew, I recall being part of a several groups during my time as an undergraduate. I will admit, there were more, but these were the four biggest ones: Intramural Volleyball, the University's Environmental Club, and the programmer's group (Two of them: Java and C++) Anyways, the reason I bring up the four as the biggest, was because from these four that I really got the hang of skills and social connections that carried on afterwards.

T-Rav, your scouting stories are pretty funny. I was a lapsed scout, I messed around and enjoyed all the camping trips, but slacked off on actually making Eagle till high school graduation and the deadline were coming around the corner, then I finally made the small effort to finish it. Yeah, those were the days, and yes, I saw some crazy scoutmasters that most liberals would sue if they found out their kid had such people as a leader.

AndrewPrice said...

Shawn, LOL! Nice reference! :) I wanted to like Ghosts of Mars sooooo much, and just couldn't.

AndrewPrice said...

obwiwan, I love the longer version of Dune (not the miniseries, but the film). And the longer version is much better than the shorter version, even though they gave it an "Alan Smithee."

BUT...

It's an acquired taste. Most people hate it. And I think you probably need to be somewhat familiar with the book for it to work for you.

AndrewPrice said...

obiwan, I'm instinctively not a joiner. I'm know it helps for networking, but it's just not me.

msousa said...

I don't understand all the hate this movie is getting. I thought Don Cheadle was great, and I thought Tim Robbins was also great. His death scene really stayed with me for years.

I've heard alot of chatter about how it ripped alot of movies, and there are so many cliches, but seriously the cliches are way worse in red planet. Also, all the proposed Mars movie ideas I've read on the comments section are full of way more cliched ideas. A landing failure? Give me a break. How do you have the stones to suggest that, while simultaneously dissing Mission.

I understand it's not for everyone, but I found it was able to capture a sense of wonder that many science fiction films lack as of late.

I guess I'm just disappointed, maybe I saw something else in the film that most haven't. Or maybe I'm being selectively blind.

In my opinion preferring Red Planet over Mission, is like preferring The Illusionist over The Prestige.

Thanks for writing the article though, it's one of the better bad reviews for this film I've read. Most are generic, and don't give it justice.

ScottDS said...

msousa -

Glad to be of service, though I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

I'll give this film credit for having Big Ideas (even if they're cliched) and a sense of discovery but I think it's all a little perfunctory. For a mission to Mars, there doesn't seem to be much fanfare.

Cheadle was good but his dialogue at the beginning is just cringe-inducing. And I think Robbins overacts.

This film set its sights high and missed whereas Red Planet set its sights lower and passed. At the end of the day, which is the better scenario? :-)

tonyon said...

Mission to Mars, fantastic movie with spectacular scene astronauts in Mars orbit searching an orbital ship for go inside.

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