Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mission to Mars

Movie Name: Mission to Mars
Year of Release: 2000
Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, Connie Nielsen, Don Cheadle, Jerry O'Connell, Peter Outerbridge, Kavan Smith, Jill Teed, Kim Delaney
Genre: Adventure, Sci-Fi, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Director Brian De Palma experienced a comeback in the late 90s, following the huge commercial and critical success of "Mission: Impossible" and to a lesser extent "Snake Eyes" (this after the debacle he had with the much scrutinized and maligned "Bonfire of the Vanities"). "Mission to Mars" was his first openly sci-fi film, and it follows the adventures of a crew of astronauts who embark on a rescue mission to Mars, when the first team of astronauts on the planet mysteriously gets killed. When the team arrives on the planet, they discover one of the original team members has survived, and has been surviving thanks to the produce from a greenhouse. The planet has a large humanoid face exposed in a mountain, and upon further inspection the team discovers something they never expected.
"Mission to Mars" is an interesting film from Brian De Palma, who drinks inspiration from Stanley Kubrick, and goes for a sci-fi film that is more about finding who human beings are, and less about big action set pieces, and large explosions in outer space (a la Michael Bay and his well known "Armageddon"). The film explores the relationships between the team members, and his motivations for wanting to go to Mars, building an interesting dynamic between these different elements, allowing for the red planet to also become a huge character and be crucial in the development of the characters evolution and progression. It's a film worth watching for its ambition, for the questions it poses, and for the beauty of what it suggests. The film also features a beautiful score from Ennio Morricone and the gorgeous cinematography from Stephen H. Burum (usual collaborator of Brian De Palma). An unjustly vilified film worth rediscovering.