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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.73%
Worth A Look: 10.91%
Average: 21.82%
Pretty Bad40.91%
Total Crap: 23.64%

11 reviews, 44 user ratings

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Red Planet
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by Scott Weinberg

"Mars! Needs! Women!"
2 stars

Once again, the opportunity for a cool cinematic exploration of Mars is wasted. How HARD is it to make Mars an EXCITING place? If you've been waiting ever since you shelled out 8 bucks to see the ridiculous Mission to Mars in the hopes of this movie being an improvement, I hate to inform you that it is not. Combine BOTH of these movies and you're still a screenplay away from a good film.

Red Planet seems to have a solid start, but things quickly fall apart. The beautiful Captain is played by Carrie Anne-Moss, but don't let that trick you. At about the time we accept her as the authority figure, she's promptly dropped into a moronic shower scene. (Relax, fanboys - You don't really see Trinity's titties. Sorry.)

The rest of the crew are as dull as they are familiar; the wise-ass science officer (Tom Sizemore), the deep-thinking and boring philosopher (Terence Stamp), the sarcastic janitor (?!) (Val Kilmer), the tough-talking Lieutenant (Benjamin Bratt) and the annoying coward (Simon Baker). I've just fleshed out those characters more strongly than the screenwriters did.

The movie takes place in 2050, and Earth is quickly becoming (all together now) uninhabitable due to pollution. The long-term plan is to set up 'terra-forming' stations on Mars, thereby making the air breathable. [Blatant steal from Aliens there, but they don't expect you to notice.] When the oxygen generators start to malfunction, the crew takes off for MARS!

The first third of the movie almost works. There are some clever scenes of character development, and Carrie Anne brings some welcome lightness to the proceedings. But once the crew has to make a quick escape from the ship, the movie begins its own downward spiral.

The lovely captain must stay aboard the ship (for typically hazy reasoning), and the five dullards are shot onto the Mars surface. Did I mention that they have a robot? It's one of those ultra-sleek CGI type of robots that was originally intended to be a navigating device, but it somehow got broke and now it's stuck on something called 'Military Mode'. When will these guys learn to STOP teaching their robots how to kill people?

Oh, you've never seen a movie in which a robot turns on its makers and attacks people? Try Frankenstein, for starters. Couldn't at least ONE of the Mars movies have some monsters or something? In Mission, there were those benign 'Close-Encounters' type of hippie aliens. So what does Red Planet offer? Beatles. Beatles that eat algae and then explode, thus creating oxygen. There's LOTS of algae discussions in this movie, too. There's your $2 million dollar screenplay, boys.

Ever seen one of those old sci-fi schlockers from like 1951? The ones with the retarded costumes and the dialogue that was written on a 3rd-grade level? Here's a new one, only with some fancy effects to distract you from the stupidity. When the crew needs a radio, they discover an old "American Space Module" to disassemble. When the crew needs to find a way off the planet, they promptly discover an old "Russian Space Probe" a few miles away. You get the point.

The problems are borne out of lazy writing or maybe they just let a chimpanzee edit this film. Characters are simply dropped (in one case, literally) from the plot, never to be mentioned again. Particularly silly is the fate of Terence Stamp's character, who opts for the old "Oh, I'm not gonna make it...You guys go on without me" speech. While this scene could be a touching moment in some movies, in this case you're just left thinking "Yeah, so? Wait, which guy was that again?" Equally as strange is the decision to kill off a major character by simply dropping them off a cliff. It's make one wonder why the guy was even IN the movie.

If you've ever seen Ron Howard's Willow, you've seen Val Kilmer play a hero, and have fun doing it. But now that Val's an "AK-TOUR", he obviously wants to play everything real gloomy. In this movie, he wanders around (literally) waiting to die, and he intermittently mumbles something. At the climax of the movie, our "hero" begins whining and crying about how he can't make it and how he's gonna die...wahh! It takes Carrie Anne and her tight white T-Shirt to save the day!

The producers were stuck trying to figure out how to get some 'product placements' into the movie, so someone just glued some Toshiba and Nokia patches to the actors costumes. It certainly added a touch of realism, in that I was constantly aware of what a cheap Hollywood product this movie is.

Look, I gave this advice over a year ago, and apparently not ONE studio exec paid attention, so here it is again: Special Effects do not REPLACE the script, they should ENHANCE it! OK, you guys think you got that now? Somehow I doubt it.

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originally posted: 11/10/00 17:27:04
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell not bad but nothing special 3 stars
11/27/11 AEB Enjoyable flick. Most character in the computer. :) 3 stars
12/01/08 Shaun Wallner Was'nt all that great! 2 stars
2/09/07 David Pollastrini boring, dull, etc. 1 stars
8/27/06 Darko great style, same theme seen in hundreds of movies. worth watching 4 stars
10/07/05 Carolyn Rathburn it was an ok movie, I love Val Kilmer in almost anything 3 stars
8/18/05 ES hey I didn't hate it, but I'm not going to tell you to rent it either 3 stars
2/20/04 Dr. lecter Only good movie set on Mars is Total Recall 1 stars
8/06/03 P.Rodriguez Showed Promise, but ultimately dissapointing 3 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Best of several Mars flicks released around that time. 4 stars
3/01/03 Matt Thiel "Mission to Mars" had a better story and likable characters. But not THAT much better. 2 stars
3/01/03 y2mckay An unmitigated disaster, and WTF is up with that robot dog? Kilmer a hack as usual 1 stars
1/26/03 Jack Sommersby Has a few good moments and performances, but purpose is lacking. 3 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum Good effects, Moss, and still we cannot get the script right 2 stars
8/29/02 Hessian Kilmer and Sizemore work well together in this. Not a bad movie. 4 stars
8/14/02 palaboy101 DEFINITELY better than other "Mars" movies 4 stars
1/29/02 Doug Nothing bad about it, but nothing good either. Just kinda there. 3 stars
1/23/02 Jim Cast of cliches (half of whom are basically cameos) and nonsensical plot, but diverting 3 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent Most Mars movies suck. Compared to them this is a masterpiece. 3 stars
10/20/01 Mike I hated the robot! The actors' lines stunk. Bad movie 2 stars
10/10/01 P.Rodriguez Hey. I wasn't THAT bad, just not very good. 4 stars
8/07/01 ted v. forget Mission To Mars, this is definitely the better movie. 5 stars
8/06/01 badfish Great movie,Kilmer is, well,Kilmer 5 stars
7/01/01 Rampage One of the worst movies of 2000. My God, who was in charge here? 1 stars
5/09/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) And I thought Mission to Mars was bad. Fucking a... 1 stars
5/01/01 The Bomb 69 very average 3 stars
3/31/01 Jesse L Pathetic plot - Val!! First time I haven't liked one of your flicks! 1 stars
2/23/01 INCUBATOR Moss is beautiful but the movie is bullshit. Cut the crap, they couldn`t see atmosphere? Ha 2 stars
2/04/01 Eric Good special effects and decent cast is about it. Watch Mission to Mars instead. 2 stars
12/23/00 Bev Clark A derivative piece of shit. 1 stars
12/20/00 Shogun "I'm a microbiologist, I program in A's G's T's and P's." P's? Good fact checking. christ. 1 stars
12/19/00 Thrillhouse one of the lamest freakin' movies I've seen. Save your money. 2 stars
12/14/00 Mr J M HARWOOD Better than PITCH BLACK & MISSION 2 MARS 4 stars
12/09/00 Johnny the Baddass taxi driver It is totally crap. Not worth the 2.50 or 7.50 that you pay to see it. 1 stars
12/08/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Hey let's send everyone involved with this shit to Mars right now. 1 stars
12/03/00 Destruction Worker At least it's not a mindless sfx fest. 5 stars
11/28/00 pipeman The worst fucking movie ever made. Avoid it at all costs. Ack. Ptui. 1 stars
11/18/00 Edward A Leonard What can I say, even Mission to Mars was better, and that sucked ass! 1 stars
11/14/00 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi I could've had a V-8. 1 stars
11/13/00 poetchuck How fortunate that a high voltage source appears just when needed--not at all believable 2 stars
11/13/00 Zaw We should goto Pluto Next time.. Blue Planet. Just another crappy movie. 1 stars
11/13/00 Stuntman Survivor meets Total Recall 3 stars
11/13/00 Greyjack No, it's not great; it's not horrid either. Interesting premise rendered kinda boring. 3 stars
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  10-Nov-2000 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Mar-2001


  07-Dec-2000 (M)

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