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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.03%
Worth A Look: 16.78%
Average: 10.74%
Pretty Bad: 25.5%
Total Crap42.95%

8 reviews, 101 user ratings

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Mission to Mars
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Better than the rest of the space-trash playing lately."
4 stars

When the answers or theories of "Mission to Mars" finally start coming in, there are some obvious flaws, but my profession is not astrology nor biology --it's movie criticism, so therefore I choose to look at this only as a movie. And as an event movie, it's quite impressive and certainly garners itself comfortably somewhere equi-distanced within the gamut of current exterior-Earth movies like "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon."

Set in the year 2020 where cars look like the futuristic models of "Back to the Future II's," still however, used only for land use. NASA launches its highly trained crew with all of the necessary technical advancements off to Mars (Cydonia, Mars, that is). But there's a portentous air about their landing, and after some brief exploration, a wicked funneling sandstorm kills all but one of the crew members --Luke Graham (Don Cheadle) who is faced with the obligatory existential crisis all alone. ("Why was I saved?") The Earth-bound counterparts make a plea to NASA bigwig (Armin Muller-Stahl, who goes uncredited) to make a rescue mission in hope of finding survivors. After some deliberation (as if we didn't know what the decision would be) the mission is okay'd and an enumeration of the characters includes Jim O'Connell (Gary Sinise); Woody Blake (Tim Robbins), his wife Terri (Connie Nielson); and Phil Ohlmyer (Jerry O'Connell).

There's some fun during the flight, between zero-gravity dances (which beats "Supernova's" zero-gravity shags), DNA creations with M&Ms, along with some other gentle nicities. There's also some trouble they run into via a meteor shower and leakage of gas --you know, the usual amount of havoc to ensure that things don't go too smoothly for either them nor us. There's even the self-sacrificial death of Robbins' character. Once they reach Mars they discover Graham as the only survivor, having made it so long without oxygen by upholding a green house (very reminiscent of "Silent Running"). Repares must be made to the old ship because during the arrival of the new craft, its beating has rendered it out of commission. But answers are still being searched for in the realms of (former) life on the planet as an enigma of sound is emanated or broadcast everywhere, and which may serve and lead them to the answer.

As far as action and drama goes, "Mission to Mars" finds itself somewhere in the middle of "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact," slightly closer in proximity to the drama of "Impact." "Mission to Mars" also has the inclusion of some sappy sentimentality to try and whip up some pathos (like Sinise's character's wife dying while training years ago, or Robbins' death), but instead of broadening the horizons, just adds a layer of genericness to it. Director Brian De Palma didn't bother himself with human indentification in "Snake Eyes" or prior to that "Mission: Impossible," so there is no point starting now; it's a little passť to expand anything on that faded horizon. What "Mission to Mars" is, is an exploration/adventure to and of Mars, and in that respect, is entertaining.

The best interpretation we have of Mars is the images that the Land Rover has sent. So like the interior of Fort Knox in "Goldfinger," "Mission to Mars" is amazingly creative with imaginative constructions by production designer Ed Verreaux. The majority of the technical aspects were right in place, from the awesome visual effects, sound, cinematography and editing. The movie, deliberately slow paced, gave you what you wanted to see and would continually build from there. Only the music by Ennio Morricone (who graced us with "The Legend of 1900" last year) was overemphasized and over-amplified. The screenplay by Jim and John Thomas and Graham Yost, all three of whom have decent track records, is somewhat facile and platitudinous, but nevertheless serves as a true adventure.

The other two space movies as of so far this year, "Supernova" and "Pitch Black" were strikeouts. Typified as an event movie, "Mission to Mars" is a bespectacle to watch, and quite often is spectacular. The imagination De Palma gives us by his choice of images is vivid and discernable, but his presence as a director is not. This is the type of movie that directs itself instead of being directed, but at least De Palma was able to keep control of the reigns like David Lynch had the misfortune of with "Dune." Naturally most everything takes a backseat to the visuals, but De Palma is careful to filter those in instead of having the effects completely run off with the movie. It has a nice diversified cast (Sinise is back in space after "Apollo 13," and why is Robbins so less annoying in projects that aren't his?) that isn't too hogged by any one player. The definition it gives you at the end is amusing, if not one-sided and domineering (the tear was way too much) but in fictional circumstances, it seems satisfactory enough. The end effect of the journey is truly a fun trip and the experience is worth the participation.

Final Verdict: B+.

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originally posted: 04/15/01 12:44:30
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User Comments

6/21/18 Louise Not gonna see it but the bad reviews are such fun to read!! 1 stars
3/25/18 morris campbell it sux 1 stars
10/10/09 Gary What a piece of shit! I wouldn't even wipe my ass with the film reel. HORRIBLE 1 stars
9/29/09 CSB Pure rubbish... 1 stars
10/31/08 Shaun Wallner Very Boring! 1 stars
2/04/08 Pamela White mission average 3 stars
11/18/07 Tee Given a choice, I'd rather watch a sewer than this again. 1 stars
5/01/07 Indrid Cold Not so bad. Obviously De Palma was going for a 2001-style slow-paced elegance. 3 stars
2/09/07 David Pollastrini HORRIBLE, ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE 1 stars
8/18/05 ES Gary Sinise & Tim Robbins I thought forn sure this thing was going to rock 3 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig Should have paid for a technical advisor. Missed potential 2 stars
1/28/05 Charlie I would rather have my fingnails torn off with pliers than have to sit through this again! 1 stars
9/27/04 P.Rodriguez Grossly Underated. 5 stars
8/11/04 Nikolai Soviet techno propels uppity from nihilistic psychotic compatriots to wanton skanks embrace 1 stars
7/29/04 Evan Good God! what a load of crap. 1 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Has absolutely no believeability. 1 stars
2/18/04 john unbelievably bad - so bad it becomes an achievement in being bad 1 stars
2/04/04 Jingo P. NOT the way De Palma should end his career. Bland, lame, and HUGELY cliched. 2 stars
1/04/04 Jeanette I thought it was great. positive ending 5 stars
11/30/03 john hard to believe until you actually see it - unbelievably bad! 1 stars
7/06/03 Jack Sommersby Technically adept but emotionally aloof. 2 stars
2/18/03 P.Rodriguez If da "pretty crappy" kiddies wanna go watch a mov I suggst SWEp1 so u can get off on jaja 5 stars
2/11/03 Ubu the Ripper Proof that Brian DePalma was replaced with a retard lookalike who can't direct. 1 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum Better than Red Planet 4 stars
10/23/02 Keely Allison When the end credits rolled, I had to wake up the two friends who were with me 1 stars
9/24/02 Eric 7of9, I heartily agree. Great movie for those who ever dreamed of discovery. 5 stars
6/18/02 7of9 Get Fu#@ed brainless idiots out there, everybody else enjoy 4 stars
2/26/02 Butterbean "The Best sci-fi since Contact"? That's not a compliment, but it sums up my review, Ric 2 stars
1/23/02 Jim Zzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
1/18/02 Spyguy2 WOW this sucked...Gary Sinise looked like he was in drag 2 stars
12/08/01 Monster W. Kung Unoriginal, but not nearly as awful as the idiots say. Wait for cable. 3 stars
8/27/01 ric Best sci-fi since Contact. 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Bob, Lord Of Evil wrote the greatest fucking review...this movie is awful. 1 stars
8/07/01 rtheerman i love sinise, the music, but needed more meat to the script. Slow doesn't = good. 4 stars
8/06/01 badfish Call me mindless i dont care.Loved it,own it! 5 stars
7/04/01 Monday Morning Pretty good...compared to "Cabin Boy". 2 stars
7/01/01 chad I just want the car he drove in the begging 2 stars
4/24/01 I love movies pretty bad............................................................................... 2 stars
4/10/01 Gary This is a stupid and boring movie. 1 stars
3/07/01 Mike Whoever puts anything other than total crap should be shot with DePalma! 1 stars
2/23/01 INCUBATOR C`mon, people, it`s good and it could be true from the scientific point of view. 4 stars
1/16/01 bats oh, what crap! oh, what BORING crap! 1 stars
12/17/00 Tom it wasn't that bad! God, try watching Battlefield Earth, then you'll know a bad film! 3 stars
11/23/00 Tob1 A waste of my precious time..See you in court mr DePalma 1 stars
11/14/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Hopelessly depressing yet devoid of any sort of nuance. Robbins and Sinise deserve better. 2 stars
9/30/00 lainey louise worse fuckin movie i've seen 1 stars
9/18/00 Suzz Bad. Really, really bad. 1 stars
6/16/00 Terry B. This movie sucked more than any other movie has ever sucked before. 1 stars
5/07/00 punkass Not as bad as some have suggested, I have seen many, many worse films this year. 3 stars
5/05/00 Konnektedzki Bad dialog, bad plot, bad science, and an all-star cast in the worst roles of their careers 1 stars
4/29/00 MR joel harwood . 1 stars
4/29/00 Richard Wright After 2 hours of this utter tripe I expected was a great ending so I waited and.. WHAT?! 1 stars
4/21/00 Danny Sykes Good concept that was very underrated 4 stars
4/20/00 Maclay01 Derivative yes. Hokey yes. Homogenized yes. But good sci-fi & great FX. Come on its Disney! 4 stars
4/18/00 Brien OMG that SUCKED! 1 stars
4/16/00 Steve Brian DePalma can't direct a movie and this is no exception 1 stars
4/10/00 Garry Johnstone A truly appalling movie. 1 stars
4/10/00 Louis SUCKS 1 stars
4/10/00 lazt lighten up,it's good sci-fi fun!!! 4 stars
4/08/00 burton t. e. miller sloooooowwwww.... 2 stars
4/07/00 SID I was expecting cow shit, and I ended up really enjoying it. Maybe you will too. 4 stars
4/06/00 kohawk the movie was so fucking funny that instead of leaving, I stayed if only to ridicule it 1 stars
4/06/00 Bruce so bad it was laughable 1 stars
4/03/00 PJ Why DePalma, Your talented, the movie was a kiddie movie with no substance, and theme. 2 stars
4/01/00 Pat L 120 minutes instead of 90 because of too much sloppy emotion. Zero-G dance scene was nice. 2 stars
4/01/00 entropy I thought hollywood finally got the idea, i guess not 1 stars
3/27/00 Lame-Oh holy Swiss cheese, it blows. makes the folks at NASA look like morons 1 stars
3/26/00 ITCHYPINGY mission to mars? more like mission to your anus, this movie blows ass chunks! 1 stars
3/26/00 Malbert mission to HELL!!!! what the fuck?!?!?! 1 stars
3/25/00 Chartsy Oh, the humanity! I can't believe movies like this are made. 1 stars
3/25/00 malcolm not the action film i hoped for but still very good. robbins' last scene was wonderful. 4 stars
3/25/00 Lipian This movie is the biggest piece of shit that I have ever seen. Fuck you Mission to Mars 1 stars
3/22/00 Kandor I forgot that I'd seen this movie by the time I got home! Even the special effects suck! 1 stars
3/21/00 Laura ouch. that one hurt 1 stars
3/21/00 dash Pretty cool. No monsters, invading aliens or evil machines. Some actual thought occurred. 4 stars
3/19/00 Adam I get the feeling this is gonna clean up at the Razzies next year... 1 stars
3/19/00 Kris Reilly Wonderful cinematography. Stiff dialogue and acting, corny music, and a very corny ending. 3 stars
3/17/00 Dirty Dave Capone horrible movie, did anyone catch the CORNY music played throughout this shitty movie?SUCKS! 1 stars
3/15/00 Sine This film's so bad, it's hilarious. You've gotta see it, if only to redefine 'bad' 4 stars
3/15/00 pipeman looks good, but otherwise is painful to watch. Ack. Ptui. 1 stars
3/15/00 Lame-Oh Houston, we have a problem. It's a sissy movie. 1 stars
3/14/00 Stan Wright It's no Oscar winner, but still a good sci-fi ride. 4 stars
3/14/00 Ataraxia In a'serious' scientific movie you really shouldn't break the laws of physics several times 2 stars
3/14/00 Richard Lewis Pretty disappointing, and I worked on it! 2 stars
3/14/00 Terrance Phillip This movie is like none other before, please for the love of god don't see it. 1 stars
3/13/00 JonnyAngel plop...plop... 2 stars
3/13/00 Captain Highcrime Yet another attempt by H'wood to explain the meaning of life. BORING! 2 stars
3/13/00 woo hoo Ehhh....good if you like schmaltz 1 stars
3/13/00 eric 'reverend' maultsby tried to be contact but profoundly failed, go see the ninth gate 2 stars
3/13/00 Jim The future is lame: SUV dunebuggy elec. cars, recursive self vidtaping, Van Halen in zeroG? 2 stars
3/13/00 Matt Bad science, corny lines, wooden delivery. Still, they go to mars! go see this! 3 stars
3/12/00 Louis OH. MY. GOD. this movie sucked in the worst way. see wonderboys instead 1 stars
3/12/00 Brian I kept hoping for it to redeem itself, but it just kept pulling out sci-fi cliches 1 stars
3/12/00 TimmyToday Was as cold and distant as the planet Mars is from earth. 2 stars
3/11/00 Antigone Great material for Mystery Science Theater! Remember, don't drink and laugh your ass off. 1 stars
3/11/00 it sucked really bad. 1 stars
3/11/00 ladislau Erik, you're right! Good-old-plain movies are rare these times! Two fingers up! 4 stars
3/11/00 mike b depalma's done it again. ripped everyone off to make another mediocre genre movie. avoid!!! 1 stars
3/11/00 Ben Ryan Too much story in a poorly acted storyline.. 3 stars
3/11/00 Xalt Got cheesy at the end. 3 stars
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  10-Mar-2000 (PG-13)



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