Retro Review: Mission to Mars

Veteran director Brian DePalma ventures into outer space on a quest to discover the mysteries surrounding the Red Planet. But the real question maybe, was this film rushed to finish first in Hollywood’s race to make a film about Mars? The other entry being “The Red Planet” starring Val Kilmer, due later this year.

Mission to Mars’ story is quite simple. The first mission to Mars is disastrous and leaves an astronaut either dead or marooned on Mars. It’s up to veteran astronaut’s Gary Sinise and Tim Robbins to save or bury their friend. This begs the question, would NASA send another manned mission if the other one failed so horribly? No, it would be a public relations nightmare.

With nearly 2 ½ months left before the summer movie season, Touchstone Pictures hopes to make a killing off this film before the real competition comes calling. But from seeing this film I begin to wonder if this film is such a force to be reckoned with. Mission is full of ridiculous dialogue and a lot of dead space. Not to mention a plot that begs the question, how much reality is actually here?

Feeding off sci-fi monsters like “Close Encounters” and “2001”, Mission tries to center itself in a reality type atmosphere of what would happen if we actually did the journey. But it gets bogged down in the subplot of the failed mission and the “Force” on the planet. A Mars movie like this should have been done like “Apollo 13” with the idea of actually seeing the brilliance of what the Red Planet is.

Is there any greatness in this film? The visuals and look of the film are as great as any sci-fi film out there. The Hollywood effects houses are brilliant every time we want a science fiction film. There are some moments which fascinated me. Such as the mystery of the FACE on Mars which so many of us outer space buffs wonder about. But these were hard to enjoy when a character named Luke is talking about the Force and I am trying to enjoy a film grounded some what in reality.

To conclude, I hope “Red Planet” is the Mars film all science fiction fans yearn for. Because this is just a waste of space!

(2.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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