Directed by Brian DePalma
Written by Jim Thomas, John Thomas & Graham Yost; story by Lowell Cannon, Jim Thomas & John Thomas
Starring Gary Sinise, Connie Nielsen, Don Cheadle, Jerry O'Connell, Tim Robbins
My Advice: Wait for Cable.
Luke Graham (Cheadle) has been tapped to lead the first manned mission to Mars. His friend Woody (Robbins) is going to lead the second wave of exploration and research. Their compatriot Jim (Sinise) had to drop out of the running to be first man on Mars due to the loss of a loved one. Everything looks like it's great for Luke and his crew, but then something goes wrong and contact with the Mars Base Camp is lost. Now the Mars 2 Mission has a different objective: rescue.
All I can really say for the film is this: they meant well. In trying to address exploration of Mars and the origin of the human species, they picked some really nice big targets to shoot for. And it looked like they had everything lined up: good FX, kick-ass cast, A-list guy handling the musical score, and what would seem on the surface to be a decent story. So why is the end result a pretty-looking piece of melodramatic tripe? Well, let's see how it is in reality.
Good FX? Yes. Kick-ass cast? Yes, but with nothing really to do. Score? Bombastic and excessive as all hell. I'm not sure what happened, since Morricone is one of the musical grandmasters, but--we'll let it slide this time. The story? The idea behind the story is actually pretty intriguing, the real question is did it have to be executed with such wooden and overdone dialogue? A really what-could-have-been-great scene between Robbins and Nielsen is hobbled by terrible lines that you can't imagine anyone speaking.
The only thing that saves the film at all are the special effects, especially the model of the galaxy you've already caught a glimpse of in the trailers. They're pretty to look at, but that's about all. It and Cheadle gain it its only half-a-cup. If you can catch it on cable, I say why not. Otherwise, I say pray for the film's enigmatic whirlwind thing to come and put you out of your misery.
Originally posted on Ver. 3 of the site; moved to Ver. 4 (WordPress) on 6/17/07.