Mission to Mars Movie Review

Mission to Mars starts out with so much promise, it's hard to believe it could be anything but successful. The film has already taken a lot of flack for appearing to be a ripoff of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but maybe, I thought, it would transcend Kubrick's early sci-fi drama and put a new spin on things. Maybe blend it with a little Armageddon - you know, do the space movie right for once.

In 2020, the first manned mission to Mars is about to launch. Under the command of Luke Graham (Don Cheadle), the craft lands without a hitch, and within days they've made a startling discovery. A little radar probing turns up a strange metal just under the surface of Mars, and a mysterious disaster quickly wipes out the crew.

Enter Commander Woody Blake (Tim Robbins), his wife Terri (Connie Nielsen), co-pilot Jim McConnell (Gary Sinise), and goofy scientist Phil Ohlmyer (Jerry O'Connell), and it's rescue time: Armageddon, full throttle.

Uh-oh, problems on the rescue ship. Now it's time for some Apollo 13 action. Tense drama ensues, which isn't half bad. But things don't turn out so hot, and just as quickly we're thrown into a space Robinson Crusoe.

With a handful of survivors on the red planet, they figure they'll do a bit of investigating since, you know, they're there and all. In a matter of hours, McConnell's got the secrets figured out and wham! we're into Close Encounters of the Third Kind. (Here's a hint straight from the movie's dialogue: "They are us. We are them." Yes, I'm serious.)

Which takes us straight into Contact, and from there we degenerate into every bad Disney movie ever made. From the god-awful organ soundtrack alone, you'll think you've landed dead smack in the middle of The Little Mermaid. But in space.

If my rampant sarcasm hasn't clued you in yet, Mission to Mars is so unredeemably bad it drew ribald laughter during its Seriously Dramatic Moments and horrendous booing over the closing credits. The acting is so wooden it might as well have been performed by marionettes. The script is so awful I have trouble believing it was not written by actual Martians.

The unintentional humor in Mission to Mars can certainly make for a lively time at the movie theater, but it's hardly a reason to pay money to watch this disaster on celluloid. If Disney wanted to make this a comedy, they should have taken this advice: Try casting Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Janeane Garofalo, and Jason Alexander as our space heroes. Now that would be a mission to Mars.

The cast and crew of Mission to Mars are actually deported to the red planet and forced to make a new home there.


Comments

Mission to Mars Rating

" Unbearable "

Rating: PG, 2000

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