When a crew go to Mars on a mission to see if the planet is inhabitable, something goes
wrong and the majority of the crew die. It's then up to a rescue team to finish the mission,
find out who or what is on there and to rescue any survivors.
That's the basic reaction me and my movie-going friend had after seeing this film.
Mission to Mars, the first release this year I've had the chance to see due
to the slew of unwatchables currently out there, is a bizarre sci-fi flick with
stunning special effects, great cast, but B-movie execution.
The films rides it's proverbial bike through the projection screen but falls
off and suffers the broken leg of poor character development. Although the main
characters are likable and enjoyable, you never get the feeling you know them too
well. Director DePalma's delivery of the characters leaves you feeling like your
observing rather than the more-desired feeling of getting to know the personal side
of them. While you get to see some of their struggles and feelings, you never get
to see what makes them tick, and are left viewing a relatively flat character
that leaves you somewhat apathetic if one of them meets their demise.
The content of the movie is outrageous as a whole. When you pull out all of the
negative aspects and pin them up on the wall, you find they leave a bad taste in
your mouth in retrospect. The language is relatively clean in the obscenity department,
but where they don't curse, they insert our Savior's name instead to be taken in vain,
a fact that I didn't take too well. The blood/gore factor is considerably high, as well,
for a PG-rated film. The three main incidents alone warrant the film a PG-13 rating instead.
From the brief violent dismemberment of an astronaut to the rather bloody impaling of another's hand
(see below content summary for specifics), a parent may be shocked to find it in the movie.
And lastly, but most disturbing if taken to heart, is the movie's message. From the tagline
before the movie even released ("For centuries, we've searched for the origin of life on Earth...
We've been looking on the wrong planet"), to the film's pretty ridiculous ending, the movie
present the idea that life originated from aliens that lived on Mars before creating life
(which evolved into other things) on earth as opposed to God creating life, thus refuting Christianity.
However, this idea is presented in such a way that to take it too seriously would be ridiculous
in itself. But on the other hand, in all its idiocy, it makes for a unique and entertaining story.
It is enjoyable if you realize how dumb the idea really is and if you don't take the whole
thing too seriously.
While the film does tend to get cheesey at times-- especially toward the movie's close--
and the instrumental score is horrendous, the film does indeed have some redeemable qualities.
While the characters are considerably underwritten, the actors are good and help to save
the script. The special effects, most evident in the sand funnel scene, are fantastic and act
as a crutch to hold the film up. And while the movie can drag a little at times, as a whole it is
rather enjoyable and not a complete waste of 2 hours. I just suggest you catch a matinee and save your
In summary, the movie was ok. It isn't really a family movie due to the violence, although with some editing, it could pass
for one, but it is a good sci-fi flick with some good moments that help you forget the bad moments (even though the ending
is disappointing and leaves you hanging-- making it look like the director ran out of ideas, said "Cut" and pasted "The End"
on the screen). Not a movie to write home about, but definitely a consideration for a rainy day, I
grant Mission to Mars a 1.5 out of 5.
- John DiBiase
Parental Guide: Brief Summary of Content
Sex/Nudity: Considerably minor references. 1 including an
astronaut trying to pick up and attractive woman to spend his last night with.
Vulgarity/Language: 2 S.O.B.s, 11 "h*ll," 1 "g*dd*mn," 4 "d*mn," 8 "J-sus," 8 "G-d," 2 "Oh my G-d," 1 "Chr-st," 1 "For Chr-st's sake"
Alcohol/Drugs: Some people drink at two instances involving parties.
A tornado-like phenomenon sucks up an astronaut who begins to spin violently before tearing apart in many pieces.
We see this from a distance, and while graphic, it isn't especially bloody or gory.
We see Luke has some blood on him during a scrambled video transmission.
As little meteors pierce the shuttle, a small one impales Phil's hand and releases drops of blood that coagulate and float around the weightless environment in the ship.
As a dead astronaut floats out in space, we see that his face looks frozen with what appear to be cracks in it.
Violence: Explosions; people getting hit by rocks, etc; a person is torn apart;
two astronauts have a struggle, one has a pick-axe
** Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most
reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not on content. However, if the content
really affects the reviewer's opinion of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's rating.