Mission to Mars

March 10th, 2000







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more trailers Mission to Mars

Still of Gary Sinise and Jerry O'Connell in Mission to MarsMission to MarsTim Robbins at event of Mission to MarsTim Robbins and Connie Nielsen in Mission to MarsMission to MarsStill of Don Cheadle in Mission to Mars

Plot
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.

Release Year: 2000

Rating: 5.3/10 (38,479 voted)

Critic's Score: 34/100

Director: Brian De Palma

Stars: Tim Robbins, Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle

Storyline
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?

Writers: Lowell Cannon, Jim Thomas

Cast:
Gary Sinise - Jim McConnell
Tim Robbins - Woody Blake
Don Cheadle - Luke Graham
Connie Nielsen - Terri Fisher
Jerry O'Connell - Phil Ohlmyer
Peter Outerbridge - Sergei Kirov
Kavan Smith - Nicholas Willis
Jill Teed - Reneé Coté
Elise Neal - Debra Graham
Kim Delaney - Maggie McConnell
Marilyn Norry - NASA Wife
Freda Perry - NASA Wife
Lynda Boyd - NASA Wife
Patricia Harras - NASA Wife
Robert Bailey Jr. - Bobby Graham

Taglines: Let There Be Life.



Details

Official Website: Cinopsis [Belgium] (French) |

Release Date: 10 March 2000

Filming Locations: Jordan

Box Office Details

Budget: $90,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $22,855,247 (USA) (12 March 2000) (3054 Screens)

Gross: $60,874,615 (USA) (16 July 2000)



Technical Specs

Runtime:



Did You Know?

Trivia:
The communication viewscreen on Mars Recovery was built by Silicon Graphics (hence the abbreviation logo of SGI).

Goofs:
Factual errors: The walls of the tent should be fully inflated by the much higher pressure inside, compared to the low atmospheric pressure of Mars.

Quotes:
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?



User Review

A difficult derivative sci-fi film

Rating: 5/10

After a second viewing, I can say that I am still not sure what to make of this film. Many will see this as something of a remake of 2001. And yes, the film is visually almost plagiaristic of the Kubrick masterpiece. The two biggest problems are a lack in originality and thoughtfulness. From my rating, you can see that I did not despise this film. It's visually nice, and the performances are all good. However, I am not sure I can recommend it.

I'm a sci-fi fan, and a scientist, so I was initially intrigued by the notion of a big-name dramatic film-maker doing a sci fi epic, which appeared, at least initially, to be hardcore sci-fi. By hardcore sci-fi, I mean fiction based on scientific reality, not fantasy with a tiny bit of science thrown in for decoration. An example, also using Mars as a vehicle, is Ben Bova's novel "Mars" - which focuses on the very edge of plausibility, only occasionally overstepping the bounds of scientific possibility. Film has rarely achieved this - a few interesting exceptions are Alien (the original), Outland and Silent Running. Hardcore sci-fi, which, I argue, this film could and should have been, is careful about that boundary. And 3/4ths of the way through Mission to Mars, it's still a hardcore sci-fi flick. Then suddenly, it's something else. I will leave that something else for you to discover, and stay focused on what the director and screenwriter were trying to do here.

What we have here is not really a single plot, but a pastiche of plots that have been strung together into one long, mysterious and grandiose story line. The film starts out with a couple of scenes which might have been lost in Appollo 13 - providing a little bit of character development and letting us know that we are about to witness the first manned space flight to Mars. That flight ends pretty quickly, as virtually everything goes wrong. And as a rescue mission begins, the question then becomes, why is everything going wrong? Up to the point where the rescue mission enters Martian orbit, this central question is sustained and developed skillfully, but then , in my opinion, things start to go wrong with the film itself.

There are major problems with what could have been the best aspects of this film. The spaceships are remarkably flimsy and poorly designed, but they look great! The safety protocols for the mission, about which we hear so much, are either not followed or incredibly naive. The heroes are not particularly clever about heroism, and seem to forget, at times, what the actual possibilities are for mobility in space (why not use the tether three times - twice out to Woody and once to get back after you run out of fuel, Terry?). The guy who authored the safety protocols does not appear particularly concerned with safety, or even protocols. The evolutionary biologist on the crew is amazingly poorly informed about the Paleozoic period of earth history and the evolution of species. I could go on.

The film is broadly derivative of 2001 A Space Oddyssey, The Abyss, Star Gate, Event Horizon, Fifth Element, Contact, and a few dozen other somewhat entertaining but not particularly believable space / sci-fi adventures, but while it resembles, and in fact pays homage to these films (especially 2001), it never entertains quite as well. Why? Because these films do not pretend to be based on scientific ideas, but rather, aesthetics and humanism. While most of these films invite interpretation, Mission to Mars simply repeats ideas from previous films and doesn't even bother to recast them into an interesting new light. Mission to Mars is something that has been done many times before, and in more interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking ways.

Technical proficiency, which is something this film exudes, is no substitute for a compelling story and interesting individual characters. Unfortunately, even in terms of technique, the film has some flaws. Some will disagree, but I found the soundtrack irritating, and the pace of the film very uneven to say the least. And the characters lives are so intertwined in the few character development sequences that only Sinise, Robbins and Bennings' characters develop rudimentary individualities.

Despite his reputation, I can not hold Brian De Palma up to standards which are different than those of other film-makers, and I can not condone creating a special vocabulary or a sophisticated argument to permit interpretation of his films as part of some over-arching theme which only he and a few of his fans understand. There is a fine line between flattering imitation and shameless copying, so I'd rather not get into an extrapolated meta-film discussion of this film's relationship to 2001. I don't think this film is worthy of such a sophisticated analysis.

There are some truly great moments in Mission to Mars. This should not be too surprising with the wonderful cast, big budget, and talented production team. What did surprise me about this film was the 2001-like 180 degree turn it took off of the map of scientific possibility 3/4ths of the way through the film, and I can't say that turn and its outcome really impressed me.

If you're a sci-fi fan, or somebody with a very casual interest in science, you should probably see this. But if you haven't seen 2001 first, by all means, wait until you have. And don't take this one too seriously when you do get around to it. This has much more to do with fiction than science fiction.









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