Mission To Mars (***) Ė When I was nine years old, my parents took me to Disneyland. No other place there sparked my imagination quite as much as Tomorrowland. With its futuristic setting and rocketships flying high above all the other rides, where else was a kid of nine to be? In Tomorrowland (in 1984) there was a simulation ride called Mission to Mars. It seems only appropriate that Disney-owned Touchstone Pictures now releases a feature-length film with the same title.The last time I can remember going to Mars in the movies was back in 1990 with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Total Recall. That film took place well after the colonization of the planet Mars (in 2084). The latest film begins in 2020 where the first manned-mission is about to take place. But not before director Brian DePalma gets off on the right track by allowing us some quiet time with our heroes. Thereís an early scene at a party where Sinise, Cheadle and Robbins sit around and talk over a couple of beers. The scene is allowed to be played out naturally and through the skill of the three actors, we believe that these guys have been and will be friends for life. Itís a throwaway scene, but an important one that speaks volumes about the characters and immediately makes Mission To Mars more Deep Impact than Armageddon. Soon after, there is a moment that will make some question how this film ever survived getting a PG-rating, but that thought will drown away when you see the innocuous nature of the rest of the film. This is near-perfect family viewing. Little-to-no bad language. No gratuitous violence. And love is shown (by Tim Robbins & Connie Nielsen) not through tearing off each otherís clothes but by smiling and dancing together in zero gravity, where itís nice to know that people still listen to Van Halen in the future. This isnít to say that those with the kid inside themselves wonít enjoy it either, getting breathlessly exciting at times. DePalma pulls off a 20-minute double suspense sequence that begins when you least suspect it and itís among the best heís ever done. Early comparisons have likened this to Kubrickís 2001: A Space Odyssey and similarities will be drawn between it and countless other sci-fi dramas. But Mission To Mars is more Apollo 13 than Star Wars. More Contact and Close Encounters than Independence Day. But since DePalma is up to his old tricks it becomes more 2010 than 2001, which will please some (like me) and anger a whole lot more. The last twenty minutes of the film are a little trivial and no matter what audience you see it with you are bound to hear some snickering. Some anti-Evolution theorists arenít likely to appreciate what is suggested during those final scenes and the most cynical of critics will just trash it. But if you get swept up in the wonder of it all, youíll accept anything. Perfect example late in the film when many of the characters begin talking about their discoveries as ďimpossibleĒ. Gary Sinise steps up with a couple of lines so perfect as to stomp out such thoughts by his comrades or even the audience.Mission To Mars is a fun movie. Plain and simple. Despite any of its flaws, itís a grand old-fashioned sci-fi film that will make you feel like a kid in Disneyland.