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Red Planet More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not Great, but Not Bad Either

Author: MICHAEL ( from Arlington, Texas
8 June 2001

This film seems to fit somewhere in the middle of sci-fi films. It's certainly not in same class as the Star Trek films. On the other hand Red Planet is certainly better than Mission to Mars or Lost in space. There are certainly many flaws if you pay any attention to details but, it was ok to watch. 6 out of a possible 10!!!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Suspense, good story line, Val Kilmer don't bring this film up to Great but it was a fun movie.

Author: Ellen Roemer from Oshkosh, WI, USA
7 June 2001

I enjoyed the film but found it a little too cowboyish. I like science fiction that is plausable and pointing toward an elevation of humanity. This film does okay with a believable story line but is no great shakes at making humans look like they get beyond the shoot em up style. A little violence goes a long way. Val Kilmer was good, but I liked him better in First Sight and Thunderheart. He didn't get to develope who he was or why they sent him on the mission.

SPOILLER follows

Someone qualified to go on a mars mission to take care of technical repairs is not exactly a janitor and the film seemed to be trying to appeal to people with low self esteem and a chip on their shoulder by making Gallagher out to be a pouting maintenance man brought along to fix things. Come on, most missions take a mechanical or electrical engineer along. In fact all the characters seemed a bit edgy about their right to be on the mission and acted jealous and resentful of the others. Not what I would expect of a space mission crew. Of course I am a Star Trek fan and expect more. I still enjoyed the film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good premise squandered by a first time director

Author: FlickJunkie-2 from Atlanta, GA
3 April 2001

`Red Planet' is a sci-fi movie that meanders about in search of an identity. Is it an action flick, a monster movie, a suspense thriller, a love story or a philosophical treatise on the meaning of life? It tries to be all of these at one point or another and doesn't do any of them exceptionally well. There is plenty of meat for the hard-core sci-fi lover. The premise is intriguing. A desperate human race that has ruined its own environment tries to seed the surface of Mars with algae to create an oxygen atmosphere. Our heroes travel to Mars to see how the experiment is working and of course, they get hit with every calamity possible once they arrive. The experiment succeeded but spawned unanticipated consequences and naturally, on top of all their other troubles, the robot guardian designed to protect the crew decides it would be more fun to hunt them down and kill them.

The problem with the film is the presentation. First time feature director Antony Hoffman's pacing is ponderous, making the film seem much longer than it is. I was surprised to see that it only ran an hour and 46 minutes. I was sure it was over two hours. The philosophical angle is superfluous as is the rivalry between some of the crewmembers. The visual effects are good, but not up to the standard set by `Mission to Mars', though the story here is better and more believable than M2M.

The acting is good, particularly Carrie-Anne Moss. Moss gives her character resourcefulness and toughness without losing the vulnerable side. Val Kilmer seems unsure how to play his character. He alternates between bold action hero, and philosophical weenie. His performance is decent, but I have seen him much better (`Ghost and the Darkness', `The Doors'). I put much of the responsibility for this on the director, since Kilmer has proven he has the talent to handle a strong dramatic lead. Tom Sizemore is excellent as the geneticist who is desperately trying to figure out the mechanism for what is happening on Mars before their time runs out.

I enjoyed this film in parts and yawned through others. I rated it a 6/10. In the hands of a stronger director, it could have been a powerful film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Thrilling and satisfying

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
10 November 2000

Red Planet isn't a perfect sci-fi film, but it definitely is worth seeing for thrills. Here, we see how a group of astronauts and scientists (6 of them) go to mars to make it inhabitable, but the plan goes up in smoke. Much better than the Mission to Mars bad film that came out in march, and has anything you would want in a science fiction thriller, but possibly might've been even more classic if in the 50's. Val Kilmer delivers the best. A-

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Red planet which turned out more green and blue actually...

Author: Paul Magne Haakonsen from Denmark
12 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Compared to "Mission to Mars", which was also released in 2000, then "Red Planet" pales. The storyline in "Red Planet" is just simply too far fetched to be anywhere near the other movie.

The story in "Red Planet" is about an expedition sent to Mars to try to figure out a way to save the dying Earth. But the mission quickly goes awry and it becomes a desperate race against time.

Storywise, then "Red Planet" wasn't as captivating or thrilling as "Mission to Mars" was. Sure, it had its moments, but in overall it didn't fare all that well.

There weren't all that many special effects throughout the movie, which sort of was a shame, because it could have brightened up the movie, now that it was failing on its storyline. However, one of the special effects that should be mentioned as being fantastic was the fire in zero gravity. That was really impressive, and the movie is worth watching for that scene alone.

As for the acting, well I can't claim to be a fan of neither Val Kilmer or Carrie-Anne Moss, but they were actually doing quite good jobs in "Red Planet". It was a shame that Simon Baker wasn't given a more outstanding character or a character with more impact on the story, because his talent was far from utilized in this movie. And the choice of Tom Sizemore, well that just baffles me - enough said.

What didn't work for me in "Red Planet" was the fact that there was breathable air on the surface of Mars. And if these algae and insects were creating breathable air, wouldn't it require a much, much larger area of algae covered ground? And as such, wouldn't that green patch be noticeable on the surface of Mars from space? The costumes were quite interesting, as was the interior of the spacecraft. Although it was a bit too futuristic compared to its functionality. But hey, it looked cool.

Mars itself wasn't really convincing, especially because (as I just mentioned) that there was breathable air there. And, similar to "Mission to Mars" they had failed to take into consideration the gravity issues, that it differs from Earth. And also during the ice storm, wouldn't you be able to see people's breath clearly as they exhale? Visuals are important when making a movie such as this.

I am rating "Red Planet" 4 out of 10 stars, because it failed in overall to pass as a Sci-Fi movie with potential. It was just some nice landscape shots with a mediocre story that had rather large holes in the story. Not the brightest moment in Sci-Fi cinema.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Space Janitor....

Author: FlashCallahan from Leicester, United Kingdom
11 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

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....

Red Planet can be viewed in three different ways.

The story of a fight for humankind, with lots of beliefs being questioned and coping with ones self.

The other Mars movie where the robot goes mad during the final act and Kilmer drops the F-Bomb.

Or the film thats famous because Sizemore and Kilmer fell out big time and the hatred oozes through out the film.

But either way you watch the film, you cannot deny how mundane and boring the actual finished project is.

Many people compare it to 'Mission to Mars' but look closer and it's better to compare it to the other space movie released that year, 'Supernova'.

Both were devoid of story and/or characterisation, and both had an online 'ally' going nuts at the end.

Kilmer puts in his usual performance, and the rest of the cast look bamboozled as to why they are actually there.

2000 wasn't a good year for movies, save a couple, and this furthers my proof.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Worst ever

Author: billcarr31 from Finland
12 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Have to agree with ldrawcaB above. This a good movie, if you are 12 yrs old. Though even a well educated 12 yr old today will be able to shoot holes in it. The movie is so full of clichés it is like one of the sci fi films I saw back in the 50s. I watched it as I like C A Moss and also Kilmer. First the old guy scientist turned philosopher (why is he (Stamp) there, maybe to lend some gravitas?) is left to die 'philosophically' after a catastrophic landing including falling down the equivalent of the Grand Canyon, which BTW would have killed everybody due to the G forces involved, who needs an old guy anyway? Then another one, I forget who, is pushed or falls off a cliff by the bad guy. Then bad guy is eaten by beetles, where did they come from? There was also no food before the algae grew. Then Sizemore commits suicide because the beetles are eating him. Leaving of course the handsome hero who has the romance going with Moss to escape, on an ancient Russian probe, without oxygen. He survives zero oxygen space for a ridiculously long time, how? BTW astronauts usually have instruments which can tell them the O2 levels without having to take their helmets off!! Plus we can detect atmospheric gases from space probes on any planet. Then there is the 'science'. The highly advanced space ship cannot survive a solar flare, without blowing out all its instruments. They, NASA would not see that coming! Then it catches fire everywhere after the rest of the crew has left and Moss successfully puts out the fire single handedly, and the ship still functions perfectly! After she lets all the atmosphere out of the ship there is still O2 enough for the return trip to Earth, that's odd oxygen usually explodes in fires. Then the enormous habitat is found to be totally destroyed along with its oxygen and food, though oddly its fuel is still there so they can make a bonfire of it. Not surprising as it seemed to be made of aluminium foil. But how did it get there in the first place and why did they not notice it was destroyed on their approach to Mars? We can read number plates from satellites remember, and Moss sees the fire started by Sizemore from orbit. As for the robot which has military capability, what happened to 'we come in peace' and Asimov's rules about robotics? What is it supposed to fight on Mars and how is the invincible and amazingly agile robot so easily overcome by Kilmer so he can steal its battery to power some antiquated Russian technology. I could go on but why bother. With today's knowledge about space technology there is no excuse for making such an old fashioned movie in 2000.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Should be called "Worst Case Scenario"

Author: Roedy Green from Victoria, BC. Canada
27 June 2009

This is an exhausting movie to watch. At every turn, the worst possible thing happens, then it gets worse with multiple troubles piling on simultaneously ever faster. The "bad luck" is relentless and unremitting.

There are a number of places I could not sustain belief. One was when the astronauts came across the unexpectedly ruined cache. Surely earth would be monitoring its status by radio.

After finding a 1200 baud modem, suddenly CD-quality voice communications became miraculously possible.

Mars inexplicably had breathable air -- never before detected with even the most sophisticated instruments.

The ultra-trained astronauts mistake the locust-like life of Mars for nematodes (tiny blind worms).

The life support system gives only seconds of warning to change tanks before asphyxiation.

It is as though none of the equipment or communications gear was ever tested in any way. Nothing works.

The renegade robot is appropriately weird and terrifying, though no one ever explains why a Mars explorer robot would be trained in guerrilla warfare and had no off switch. It breaks off attacks to allow other troubles a crack at the heroes, with no explanation why.

The flesh-eating locusts are creepy and quite believable. They must have spent a bundle on getting the special effects just right.

They survive the -150 degrees F Martian night with their faces and ears exposed. Even a Mongolian yak header from the slopes of Everest could not do that.

What's the problem? Don't most sci fi movies completely ignore the laws of science? Yes. The difference is this one tries hard to be realistic, set in the near future.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Better Than Average.

Author: screenman from United Kingdom
7 June 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Despite agreeing with most of the criticisms published here, I actually quite enjoyed this movie. Critics seem unjustly harsh and may well be 'purists'.

There are some pleasant little plot twists that are indeed predictable. For example; when Kilmer's character demonstrates the potential killing prowess of the robot Aimee, you just know that we are being set-up for a future conflict. Something that dangerous would almost certainly entail a remote master de-activator in everyone's kit. And as someone else has pointed out; if the atmosphere was dense enough to breath, it would have been detected by sensors. Indeed; it would have been clearly visible from the ship. The complete destruction of the base station is never adequately explained. How could a moss-munching beetle have the ability to rip open metal?

But still, there's no hokum, unlike that pretentiously over-blown 'Mission To Mars'. The characters represent an interesting mix, not dissimilar to those of the 'Nostromo'. Some of the set-pieces are extremely nice. I particularly liked the acrylic roll-up screens, which are said to be the next big thing in home entertainment.

I've seen this movie two or three times since it was released and have never felt cheated. I didn't expect too much, but got a little more than that. Sure; it's propped-up by its props, but what sci-fi movie isn't?

Don't be put-off by the purists. There's some fine, charismatic actors doing a decent job with a second-rate script and some mostly nice effects.

Rent it and give it a whizz.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Will appeal more to science fiction magazine readers than to science fiction movie watchers

Author: D. B. from Nebraska, United States
27 August 2006

Traditionally, science fiction movies and television, and science fiction books and short stories have appealed to different audiences. science fiction movies and television often have very little science, but are rather fantastic adventure stories depending for their appeal upon action, acting, and allegory.

By contrast, while science fiction books and short stories retain action, a great many have had slightly awkward characterization and somewhat contrived plots, but also are based on far more science and technology.

Red Planet reverses this tradition entirely. The strong point in this film is in the visual effects, which are spectacular, and the science and technology are head and shoulders above most science fiction movies, but everything else suffers.

Val Kilmer and Carrie-Anne Moss both show great evidence of talent, but their performances are choppy, and the other performances are not so good at all. The cause of the problem is obvious. Neither the director nor the screenwriters have much experience, and it shows. The plot is not pulled together well, and the inexperienced director is either unable to extract the best performances, or unable to edit them properly. The effect is of "2001: a Space Odyssey", re-edited from the outtakes, visually and scientifically strong, but not a harmonious work of art.

This movie could be an under-appreciated gem however, for the right person. The plot and scientific elements are not so accurate so as to be probable science, but they are as good as it gets for hard science fiction on screen. If you can put up with indifferent acting and somewhat contrived plotting, the comparative soundness of the science and the great visuals will make this a winner.

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