Insulting is one word
that comes to mind. This movie had some wonderful moments, but
there were not enough of them, nor did they make up for the poor and
insulting moments that came between them.
Right off the bat, I have to say that the music was appalling.
In most places it was completely inappropriate, at others it was distracting,
and at still others it was very strange. Not strange as in the characters
are on a planet that we have never before visited, as would be appropriate,
but just plain weird. There were only a few moments that actually
made sense musically.
Second, I would completely remove the party at the beginning
of the movie. It comes as a cheap rip-off of Apollo
13, straight to the horny astronaut trying to get laid. Besides,
don't these guys get quarantined anymore? I think it was a bad idea
to give the movie a specific date, because there is no way we are going
to be that technologically ready in twenty years. Just leave it arbitrary.
The third thing I would do is remove the last thirty minutes.
Depicting Life On Mars is one thing. Saying there was intelligent
life there hundreds of millions of years ago is another. Still another
is having their spaceship waiting to take a passenger to another galaxy.
What galaxy was that, by the way? There is no such visible place
in our sky.
The whole sequence that builds up to the end was ridiculous.
They enter a white room, and no dust enters with them. They don't
even track dust in with their boots! A display is activated that
shows a giant impact on Mars, and the subsequent evacuation of the planet.
If they had that many spacefaring ships on the surface, and they weren't
vaporized by the impact, why weren't they out exploring the solar system?
And instead of sending only one strand of DNA to Earth, why leave for another
galaxy at all?
The alien that shows up looks completely fake. No Star
Wars technology here. The evolution sequence was completely wrong,
too. Not only did the buffalo look fake, but mammals cannot evolve
from dinosaurs! But that's just a minor mistake in a sequence filled
with lots more.
Finally, what was the purpose of destroying the "face" monument
before liftoff? I can't figure it out. Now that one person
has left, there will be no trace of the aliens left on Mars. That's
just great thinking on the part of the aliens, don't you think?
A major complaint with the movie has been that it's just boring.
I don't think so. I thought the long, drawn out sequences were beautiful
unto themselves. The effects were mostly superb, and are the only
saving graces that kept this movie from falling into the zero-star range,
aside from the astronomy and physics that they did get right (which wasn't
all of it, by far, but it looked like they tried to do a lot).
I have to exclude the space-walking "train" that the astronauts
created while about to crash onto the resupply vehicle, which was very
funny to watch, when it wasn't boring.
But the rest of them were great. I loved the whole scene
while the dancing tune was going on. It really showed off the ship
nicely. That is a wonderful ship! Just perfectly sized for
I also loved the way they found the leaks, and the fact that
those leaks and the depressurisation of the cabin were not the cause of
the catastrophe. The scarring on the ship was very nicely portrayed,
and the sudden combustion of the frozen propellant was also neat to see.
The explosion went by so fast that I couldn't follow whether the motions
of the ship were accurate or not, but the attention to detail during that
part of the movie was so good that I have to think it was.
The only other part of the movie takes place when the astronauts
land on Mars, and find their missing crew-member. I wondered why
the decals were only NASA and a US flag, when one of the MARS-1 astronauts
was clearly Russian.
The greenhouse was really neat, though there seemed to be way
too much wind blowing things around. The wind blows fast, sure, but
it does not have much substance to it. But the part I thought was
well executed (but not well acted) was the description of the astronaut
who nearly goes crazy. He thinks the rescue team is a bunch of ghosts.
Despite what the astronaut says, low gravity does not cause psychological
problems. But loneliness does.
Speaking of which, she seems pretty focused for watching her
husband commit suicide in orbit. She knew he was going to die anyway,
but he did the act because of her, because he knew she would die uselessly
if she came after him. That scene touched me deeply, even though
the poor physics (with the fuel, and the orbits) was distracting.
To sum up, the story was sorely lacking, but some individual
moments managed to shine through. Bad physics and astronomy are always
a distraction during this type of movie, but the effects (most of them,
anyway), were good enough that during the middle third of the movie, I
didn't care. By the end, though, the words that appeared on the screen
left me the most insulted. THE END. As if I couldn't tell.