When the first manned mission to Mars meets with a catastrophic and mysterious disaster after reporting an unidentified structure, a rescue mission is launched to investigate the tragedy and bring back any survivors.
In 2270, Earth is completely depleted and no one lives there anymore. Those that have money move to Rhea; but most of the population lives in orbit in space stations. Dr. Laura Portmann ... See full summary »
Anna Katharina Schwabroh,
In the near future, Earth is dying. A new colony on Mars could be humanity's only hope. A team of American astronauts, each a specialist in a different field, is making the first manned expedition to the red planet and must struggle to overcome the differences in their personalities, backgrounds and ideologies for the overall good of the mission. When their equipment suffers life-threatening damage and the crew must depend on one another for survival on the hostile surface of Mars, their doubts, fears and questions about God, man's destiny and the nature of the universe become defining elements in their fates. In this alien environment they must come face to face with their most human selves. Written by
The song that Gallagher (Val Kilmer) hums (that he learned from his grandfather) is "19th Nervous Breakdown" by The Rolling Stones, released in February 1966. See more »
(at around 1h 35 mins) When Bowman has reanimated Gallagher, the ship's computer tells her to "stand him up." Gravity isn't restored yet, so there is no "up". See more »
Commander Kate Bowman:
By the year 2000 we had begun to over populate, pollute, and poison our planet faster than we could clean it up. We ignored the problem for as long as we could. But we were kidding ourselves. By 2025, we knew we were in trouble. And began to desperately search for a new home - Mars.
Commander Kate Bowman:
For the last 20 years we've been sending unmanned probes with algae, bio-engineered to grow there and produce oxygen. We're going to build ourselves an atmosphere we can breathe. And for 20 ...
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In the credits, Pettengill is spelled Pettengil (one "l"). See more »
The Tower That Ate People
Written by Peter Gabriel
Published by Real World Music (BMI)
Produced by Peter Gabriel
Courtesy of Real World Music, Ltd.
Peter Gabriel appears courtesy of Geffen Records for North America and Virgin Records Ltd. for the rest of the world See more »
Beautiful film blemished by avoidable scientific blunders
RED PLANET is decent science fiction in a year that brought us some relatively weak competition in the genre. Outstanding special effects, a competent cast, great sound, and an artistic eye for set design are the film's strong points. After what seems like a long drought, it's nice to see the sleek Carrie-Anne Moss back on the screen. Serious, pragmatic, and physically fit, she is a natural choice for a mission commander. Some might argue that she and the other characters are somewhat wooden, but I would counter that coolness is a requisite trait in those individuals who are selected to fly such a mission. The director had to choose between verisimilitude and dramatic impact, and I applaud his riskier choice of the former.
Special effects and set design really stand out and are worth the price of admission. Just when you are thinking that they are going to use the typical cop-out of artificial gravity on a spaceship, the centrifuges fail, and we are treated to some of the best weightlessness scenes ever filmed. Other reviewers have complained that fire scenes in the ship look fake, but how are we supposed to know what fires look like in free-fall in the first place? I think the f/x people did a great job in speculating on how a fire would behave in such conditions. Scenes on Mars were breathtaking, I think better even than those of this year's earlier release, MISSION TO MARS. Also, this is the first film I can recall that tried to do anything with the fact that Mars gravity is about one-third that of Earth's. I realize that low-g is difficult to simulate on film, but I do applaud the filmmakers for the small (and humorous) attempt they made to accommodate it.
While I do recommend seeing this feature in theatrical release for the majesty of the picture and sound, this is not to say there aren't a lot of problems, some quite massive. Generally these relate to plausibility:
1. The ship design is totally outlandish. The thing is _huge_, with oodles of wasted space. There are two enormous counter-rotating centrifuges to simulate gravity for the crew; this makes the ship more on the scale of the space station envisioned in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. This is for a crew of six! And with all that wasted mass, the Mars landing module is not much bigger than an Apollo lunar module. Was there any kind of space travel expert to advise the filmmakers on how ridiculous this is?
2. The Martian terraforming theory is completely at odds with what is known about the planet from probes that have been going there since 1976. The movie explains that nuclear weapons are sent to the polar caps to "melt" (actually sublime) the CO2 ice, which then acts as a greenhouse gas to heat up the atmosphere. When it's warm enough, algae are introduced to generate oxygen. The problem is that THERE IS NO WATER ON THE SURFACE OF MARS, GUYS. Algae can't grow without water. Then, there are other ecological aspects that are even more ridiculous, but to go into those gives away too much of the plot. Just be prepared to have your suspended sense of disbelief pulled out from under you.
3. Stupid little script errors that a little research could have avoided. First, don't try to do CPR the way Carrie-Anne Moss did it in the film; it's completely wrong. The geneticist remarks that his work is all about genetic code, you know, "A, G, T, and P." The problem is that THERE IS NO 'P'. It's 'C' for cytosine. Again, sloppy writing.
Now, I realize that there are perennially dyspeptic science nerds out there who can never enjoy a science fiction movie because of this or that little inaccuracy. Trust me; I'm not one of those, and I can suspend disbelief as well as the next person. But RED PLANET just pushes it way too far, to the extent that there is compromise of the movie-watching experience. If you know little about science and nothing about Mars, you may rate the film fairly high, but otherwise, be prepared for a jolt.
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