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Mission to Mars (2000)
If you ever thought STAR TREK V was bad...
I quite honestly don't know where to start with this godawful, embarrassíng mess that is M2M. I had the opportunity of reading the press kit, about 50 pages of earnest and interesting-sounding talk about NASA participation, hyper-realism, extended shooting preparations etc., so I expected something like an "updated" APOLLO 13. What I saw on the screen was a literally laughter-inducing, shameless ripoff of the following (WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!):
1. The backbone of M2M's "original script" (Have they been sued already? I hope so) is STAR TREK:TNG's episode "The Chase", where it's revealed that life on Earth was actually planted by an alien culture. The creature appears at the end and tells the story to the crew. See the same story and sequence in M2M (only difference: M2M could afford a visual presentation of it). My friend actually whispered the great line from the TREK episode with the Klingon captain commenting: "What? That's all? If she weren't already dead, I would kill her!"
2. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND: During the climax, the alien smiles gently at Gary Sinise and he smiles back. A pivotal scene of "universal" understanding. Hello... Hello! Anybody home? THIS EXACT SCENE you have in CE3K, where it's Francois Truffaut instead of Sinise! Needless to say, the music here is exactly emulating John Williams. No further comment.
3. The ludicrous scenes in space outside the ship give (together with the music, copying 100% John Barry Bond music here) the uncanny feeling of watching MOONRAKER 2. I really expected to see Richard Kiel floating by and grinning...
4. I've seen better CGI effects in any TV ad. And an alien actually letting out a big tear for its dead planet? That was more than too much.
5. Ennio Morricone's music was so inappropriate and wrong I shook my head at such incompetence more than once during the screening. It ruined virtually all the action scenes (and the rest as well). The incredibly kitschy choir for the climax was just the icing on the cake.
6. So they're on an alien planet, a mountain is beginning to erupt right before them, a giant storm is forming in front of their noses, and what are they doing, instead of going "Uhm,.. I think we better get out of here..."??? They keep on filming it with a camera ("Do you have that?")! The sand is already being sucked away from their feet... - are they running? Are they at least getting SCARED a little bit? No! I could go like that until reaching orbit...
What in all the world is this movie supposed to be? I honestly tried to see it as a parody or something but I can't help the feeling they really were serious about it. The audience began to laugh more than once, including me and my friend, at such a waste of time and money.
This is the worst atrocity of a movie I've seen in years. Anybody who has good words for M2M please switch over to the Teletubbies.
The Hurricane (1937)
Cheesy romantics, but what a realistic and terrifying climax!
If you ever thought that TWISTER brought you the first "really" realistic cinematic storm images, update your library: For a movie which is over 60 years old, THE HURRICANE is one hats-off piece of first-rate romantic action fare!
As apparently always in tales of the South Seas, the characters are quite stereotypical: the lovers who would die for each other, the mean and cold-hearted governor, the priest with a heart of gold... But this is, at its heart, a bittersweet and deeply moral tale, so I won't nag too much. For the truly breathtaking hurricane finale, John Ford must have gathered each and every wind machine in Hollywood - it easily holds up to today's F/X standards and IS realistic and frightening. Wow! Alfred Newman's music score adds considerably to the atmosphere, using a female wordless choir to maximum dramatic effect. But I really do wonder how it ever passed the Hays Office: scenes of sizzling desire and anticipation, a naked foot gently stroking the lover's naked legs in the sand...
All in all, a lasting and highly enjoyable piece of movie entertainment - a true classic!