Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red Planet - Rewind Mini Review

Released 10 years ago today...


Original Release Date: November 10, 2000



The year 2000 was the year Hollywood wanted to go to Mars. Maybe it was the turn of the century that got everybody thinking of that big red rock but we got two films that year orbiting the idea of us one day finally setting foot on it. You had Brian De Palma's lackluster entry with Mission to Mars which, while visually stunning, was just to darn silly to be taken as serious as it wanted us to despite all the science it threw at us. Then you had Red Planet which didn't take itself quite as seriously and just seemed to be more focused on us enjoying it as opposed to believing it.

Red Planet starts out by telling us that the Earth is dying (haven't heard that one before) and that unless we find a way to colonize that giant meatball in the sky we will all perish. So, we send a small team of scientists to Mars to determine if the algae they had been bombarding the planet with is a viable way to create a breathable atmosphere. Well, as these things often do, problems arise and they must find a way to get back home alive while still trying to accomplish their mission.

The cast is a varied and mostly good one. Val Kilmer does a good job playing the everyman, Carrie-Anne Moss is OK as the mission leader but can't seem to shake that Trinity vibe, Tom Sizemore plays a likable character for once and all the other supporting players do just fine with what they are given. They all give the team a good diversity that was desperately missing from Mission to Mars. Oh, and they have one other member of the crew in a robot named AMEE. It is a military class scout robot they use to cover more ground once they are planetside, however AMEE suffers a malfunction and ends up becoming the teams main threat over the course of the film.

This film is a lot of fun and completely unbelievable. I found that the actors were a big part of what makes the film work. There are some interesting moments where they must contend with impossible decisions. One such moment is shortly after crash landing on to the planet they realize they are running out of oxygen and it is only a matter of time until they die. With only minutes left of air it was interesting to see how each of them dealt with the problem and the solution was both surprising and made complete sense given the fiction we are presented with. If you want a good Sci-Fi film minus the usual aliens and monsters then this is a good pick, it is fast, fun and entertaining.

Red Planet


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