Mission to Mars (2000)

MISSION TO MARS is a visually striking, authentically hardwared, 
zero gravity-paced (that's NASA-speak for lethargic) Brian DePalma-
directed blend of APOLLO 13, CONTACT, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, and 2001: A 
SPACE ODYSSEY.  To name a few.  Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, and Gary 
Sinese star with an ensemble of non-stars as Martian explorers in 
the year 2020, a not-so-far-fetched future where husbands and wives 
are sent into space together due to both the year-long travel time 
and the years-long training.  Team A, lead by Cheadle, is the first 
to arrive and the first to encounter a deadly dust storm that seems 
more sentient than naturally occurring.  (Gotta love the way they 
just stand there, inches from their doom and with not a *single* 
apparent thought of danger.  Hilarious.)  Team B, lead by Robbins, 
is the rescue/recovery mission that, too, runs into problems, most 
notably a micro-meteor shower whilst in orbit about the red planet.  
(Mercifully, neither asteroids *nor* hemorrhoids figure into the 

From emergency repairs to abandoned ships, there's action a-plenty 
in this one.  (SPEED scribe Graham Yost was a participating pen...)
Buyer beware, though:  all the zero-g stuff moves at the speed of 
Stanley Kubrick.  (You may have a lingering urge to listen to "On 
the Beautiful Blue Danube.")  The acting is better than the soapy 
dialogue, which is delivered with deadly earnestness by Robbins et 
al.  And whose bright idea was it to name two of the characters 
"Luke" and "Jim?"  Good God.  Happily, there are some genuine sur-
prises:  the Martian landscape is absolutely stunning; the which-
way-is-up? camerawork is a gas; the incidental humor is often very 
funny; and there's a ton of character development.  (I know, remain 
calm.)  Just don't expect a slam-bang ending.  The final sequence-- 
alien secrets and all-- is both horrendously hokey and *way* too 
thoroughly explained.  Jeez, leave a *little* to the imagination, 
will ya?  With Connie Nielson and Jerry O'Connell.  (Rated "PG"/
~110 min.)

Grade: C+ 

Copyright 2000 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as Next Stop Uranus

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