Mission To Mars [retro review]

You’re just not man enough to wear jewellery.”

The Scoop: PG 2000, directed by Brian De Palma and starring Tim Robbins, Gary Sinise and Connie Nielsen.

Tagline: For centuries we’ve been looking for the origin of life on earth. We’ve been looking on the wrong planet.

Summary Capsule: A rescue mission to Mars uncovers the secrets of Life, the Universe and M&Ms


Poolman’s Rating: You know, if Kubrick’s 2001 had never been made, this could have been one hell of a movie.

Poolman’s Review: Sadly, the moviemaking community appears to have hit its zenith. Sometimes intentionally (Austin Powers), sometime not (name a flick made this year…) Hollywood is slowly cannibalizing on itself. That’s not exactly that big a revelation, I know, and I’m hardly the first to make it, but a movie like the one I just saw really brings it screaming to the foreground.

If there had never been a movie about the mysterious monolith, Mission to Mars might have been one of the biggest films ever. Instead, it’s relegated to the status of bastard cousin. And not because it’s bad, but because it’s just not as incredible as a classic piece of sci fi. So how would one review such a flick without immediately being comparative? I’ll just have to find a way. =)

MTM is a slooooow movie. It’s deliberately set at a low key, dragging pace. This will probably infuriate most people, especially those who remember the action-filled trailers with giant aliens and attacking tornadoes. There are spurts of action, but most of the movie is spent in a lower key. There is a great sequence during the rescue team’s approach to Mars where they have to figure out how to reach the crewman floating away from them with low fuel and limited cabling… the resolution may surprise you (confused the hell out of me). It’s tense, and it works.

So why go on a Mission to Mars? The plot runs something like this. One mission is to continue colonization/exploration of Mars, and the second mission is set up to rescue the first team when they go missing. But things finally get going when the second team touches down and begins solving the mystery of Mars… and of life on Earth itself.

And the ending… well, you’ll either buy in or you won’t. It’s a concept that’s been done before, but I like the presentation. Overall, this movie made me think, but not too hard. I’ll tell you this, though… it beats the hell out of Red Planet. Not that that’s speaking volumes in MTM‘s favour, mind you, but it’s a start.

I liked Mission to Mars. I’ve always found Gary Sinise to be a damn cool actor, and I liked him here.Tim Robbins usually makes me break out in hives, but I’ll live. At least you don’t have to put up with him for the whole movie… Tell you what. I know most critics panned this movie. But what do we always say about the “other” critics here at the MRFH? That’s right, they can lick me today! So go give this a rent. If you like it, then good for you. If you don’t, well, what’s a couple of hours out of your life?

If you're wondering who this actress is, here's a clue: Incest Togas!

Intermission:

  • The famous M&M/DNA scene… while the M&M’s could float in space, they’d never spin around each other like that
  • Once again, exposing your body in space apparently means instant death. That character should have lived for at least a little while…
  • Is it just me, or did you come up with about seven plans to save Woody too?
  • While looking at a DNA sequence Jim McConnell says that the last two chromosomes are missing. What is missing is actually the last two nucleotides. DNA does not have chromosomes.
  • When the crew tries to fire the retro rockets to slow the spacecraft for Mars orbit,  the engines explode instead. They then leave the spacecraft to try and match the orbit of the supply ship. Since the engines of their spacecraft never slowed their approach speed (what force was applied by the explosion would be too small) they would be going too fast to make Mars orbit and would shoot off into interplanetary space instead.
  • In the weightless scene inside the space station, Woody’s watch slips down his arm, indicating the presence of gravity.
  • Shortly after Woody dies, a cameraman can be seen reflected in the face shield of his wife’s helmet.
  • Gary Sinise is sure getting the hang of playing astronauts who get scrubbed from missions only to play a later, integral part in the mission’s success! (Apollo 13)
  • Most of the music was fine backgroundy stuff, but what the HELL was up with the Castlevania music during the leak patching scene? Honestly, I felt like going for Simon Belmont’s whip!

Groovy Dialogue:

Jim McConnell: There’s pressure in here.
Terri Fisher: Above Mars atmospheric? That’s impossible.
Jim McConnell: We’re millions of miles from Earth inside a giant white face. What’s impossible?

Terri Fisher: The genetic difference between men and apes is only three percent. But that three percent gave us Einstein, Mozart…
Phil Ohlmyer: …Jack The Ripper.

Woody Blake: You’re just not man enough to wear jewellery.

If you enjoyed Mission To Mars, try:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Red Planet
  • Contact
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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: Total Recall [retro review] « Mutant Reviewers From Hell

  2. Pingback: John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars | Mutant Reviewers From Hell

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