Mission to Mars - Brian De Palma, Tim Robbins, Gary Sinise, Kim Delaney
Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities
Let there be life.
When the first manned mission to Mars meets with a catastrophic and mysterious disaster, a rescue mission is launched to investigate the tragedy and bring back any survivors. Exciting and realistic, Mission to Mars is the inspirational story of the astronauts of the hurried Mars recovery mission, the almost insurmountable dangers that confront the heroic crew on their journey through space and the amazing discovery they make when they finally reach the red planet.
Starring Tim Robbins as Woody Blake, Gary Sinise as Jim McConnell, Kim Delaney as Maggie McConnell, Don Cheadle as Luc Goddard, Jerry O'Connell as Phil Ohlmyer, Peter Outerbridge as Sergei Kirov, Kavan Smith as Nicholas Willis, Jill Teed as Renée Coté and Elise Neal as Debra Graham. Written by Jim Thomas from a story by Lowell Cannon, directed by Brian De Palma.
Special Agent Matti
A nice piece of classic science fiction. Heroes, adversity, strange planets, rocket ships, alien races, new technologies: it's all there.
There are some big boo-boos (eg the centrifuge is too slow to produce the level of "artificial gravity" displayed and too small not to drain the blood from the astronauts' heads to their feet) and some big clichés (like meteorite storms in the middle of space to spice things up) but apart from that, it's very easy to sink into the film and let it carry you along.
If you're a science fiction buff you'll be overly familiar with the "ancient civilisation on Mars discovered by astronauts" theme - it's practically a genre of its own - and Mission to Mars is a surprisingly decent addition to the canon. There are enough effects to please anyone with a brain, there's more than enough astrobabble and there's plenty of hardware to look at and dream about. Hey, it's even a conceivably real story (real within the terms of the current spatio-temporal frame of reference), which is more than I can say for some films. Fortunately, this one has an adequate budget and sufficient acting ability to pull it off. The only question in my mind is what did they do to Gary's face: it looks like the back of his head was caught in a spin dryer.
The Martian holosuite is well done (that's one of the joys of quality CGI), to the point where it almost beats out the Enterprise-D's map room from Star trek: Generations. Almost. Interactivity will always win out.
Mission to Mars is the kind of film you'll enjoy because you always enjoy that sort of film, if that makes sense. if you aren't a sci-fi buff you'll still enjoy it for the action and mystery elements. It's not Star wars, but what is?
Ummm... I can think of nothing more to say. Well, nothing intelligent, anyway. So... the end.
Security censorship classification
M (Adult themes)
114 minutes (1:54 hours)
Not for public release in Australia before date
Film: 4 April 2001