Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Mission to Mars (2000)

Director: Brian De Palma

Starring: Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, Connie Nielsen, Jerry O'Connell, Peter Outerbridge, Kavan Smith, Jill Teed, Elise Neal

More info: IMDb

Tagline: For centuries, we've searched for the origin of life on Earth...We've been looking on the wrong planet.

Plot: When a mysterious storm kills all but one crew member of the first manned mission to mars, a rescue mission is launched. Once on the red planet, the crew finds the sole survivor of the first mission who informs them that this was no ordinary storm. It was meant to protect something. But what?

My rating:7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

When I saw this in the theater I left disgusted.  The alien mess was terrible.  13 years later I watch it again and now I really dig it.  Is it because we now live in a post-PROMETHEUS (2012) world where sci-fi horseshit can come from the likes of Ridley Scott?  I'm not sure but there are some similarities between the two films (regarding the alien business).  The first hour of MARS is fantastic.  The actors bring life to the characters in a real and serious way.  I especially liked Cheadle who brought a lot of genuine weight to the picture.  I also loved the relationship between Blake (Robbins) and Fisher (Nielsen).  They felt like a real couple that loved each other.  It makes the separation scene even more powerful.  And about that scene, it's handled exceptionally well.  What a punch to the chest that was. For the most part, it felt like De Palma was trying hard to get the science right which is more than you can say for most movies like this.

Now the second half begins and we get to where the science leaves the room and the fiction comes in.  At this point until the end I was constantly reminded of PROMETHEUS but in a positive way.  When the characters take off their helmuts while inside the alien craft, they handle it in a much better way.  They at least have that 'this could be dangerous but fuck it, we'll do it anyway' attitude which makes a lot more sense than how PROMETHEUS handled it.  The alien stuff looks fantastic.  This part of the story feels a little cheesy but then it's just a sci-fi movie that knows it's going off the rails a bit.  Now that I've seen it again I feel much better about the ending.  I still think PROMETHEUS is ridiculous but I really admire how well De Palma handled the material.  Ennio Morricone's score is fantastic.  I'll definitely watch this again.

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