When the first manned mission to Mars meets with a catastrophic and mysterious disaster after reporting a unidentified structure, a rescue mission is launched to investigate the tragedy and bring back any survivors.
In 2020, a crew of astronauts has been prepared for a two-year international mission in Mars. Jim McConnell, Woody Blake and his wife Terri Fisher, Luke Graham and Phil Ohlmyer are best friends and Jim lost his chance to land on Mars when his beloved wife Maggie McConnell died. The team of four astronauts land on Mars but a mysterious storm kills three of them and only Luke survives. A rescue team with Woody in command and Jim, Terri and Phil heads to the red planet and discovers that only Luke has survived. Their further investigation shows that the storm that killed the three other astronauts was artificial and created to protect a Face that lies on Mars. What might be the intriguing Face? Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
(at around 54 mins) When the crew have exited the ship after it exploding and Woody is flying towards the REMO, Phil looks at his wrist-mounted computer which tells him that Woody is going to overshoot the REMO. However, below the graphic on the right side of the screen, the caption contains a spelling error, reading: "Traget projection and outcome" instead of "Target.... etc." See more »
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's cooperation and assistance does not reflect an endorsement of the contents of the film or the treatment of the characters depicted therein. See more »
Visually, "Mission to Mars" is stunning. Nobody tells a story better with pictures than De Palma. The scenic design and photography kept me riveted to every frame. On the recommendation of a friend, I watched the movie in widescreen on DVD using a high resolution monitor. The visuals are so important that I cannot imagine watching a pick and scan version on a conventional TV set. Too much would be lost that way.
The scene, early in the movie, where one of the Mars astronauts gets blown up made me levitate. Also, I though Tim Robbins' and Connie Nielsen's weightless dance in the spaceship on the way to Mars was lovely. The scene with the startling all white surroundings that the astronauts faced in the "faceship" (to coin a phrase) was also well done.
I thought the performances were uniformly excellent. That fact and the wonderful visuals overcame sometimes excruciatingly bad dialogue so that it did not really detract from my enjoyment of the film. That being said, though, I loved the exchange where it was observed by one character that the mere three per-cent difference between the genetic makeup of men and apes "gave us Einstein, Mozart" and a second character adds, "Jack the Ripper."
Some reviewers complained about the similarity of the film to "2001," but that is exactly what De Palma had in mind, I think. "Mission to Mars" pays homage to every sci-fi cartoon and movie ever made, from Buck Rogers to "Close Encounters," and does it well. Anyway, De Palma proved to me again that he really does march to his own drummer. I was hugely entertained and highly recommend this film -- but only if you watch it in widescreen on DVD or, better still, in a theater. Eight out of ten.
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