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 18 mins) After Gallagher retrieves the radio from Pettengill, he tries calling Bowman with no result. He says Mars 1 may still be on the night side of Mars. It is clearly night, so Mars 1 should be in range. 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 »
Movies like "Red Planet" remind me why I enjoy science fiction so much. Most sci-fi films today put the special effects first before characterizations. While that's not a bad idea (I have enjoyed several films in that vein such as "Independence Day"), films can become too dependent on that and that's when the fun drains away.
"Red Planet" is a film that has solid special effects, but also a strong story and good characterizations. It was the second film released in 2000 to have Mars as its backdrop, the first being "Mission to Mars". "Mission to Mars", despite having top stars,master craftsman Brian DePalma directing and phenomenal special effects, was a little too pat and resorted to cliches (Not that I blame DePalma; he did the best he could with the script he had and the film wasn't bad at all)
I didn't know anything about the plot and I think that helps with a film like "Red Planet". It allows suspense to be created from the series of crises that spring up on the astronauts and that's a benefit. But I will say this: the marketing campaign for "Red Planet" advertises this as your typical good guys versus evil aliens action fest. It is not. This is a more intelligent and stylish film than given credit for. It owes more to "2001" and "The Black Hole" or even the classic Republic serial "Radar Men from the Moon" than "Alien". It is about ideas, not effects and I LOVE films like that.
I know a great many people will hate this film. That is because popular culture has brainwashed people into thinking mass entertainment revolves around effects only. There are some flaws (mostly in technological probability and pacing in the first 20 minutes)but writer Chuck Pfarrer and director Antony Hoffman remember that great sci-fi is also about the story and characters and the result is the best sci-fi film in recent years.
***1/2 out of 4 stars
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