Jeff's Reviews

Thoughts on every movie I've ever seen.

Mission to Mars (2000)

Directed by Brian De Palma

Starring Tim Robbins, Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle, Connie Nielsen


Some Contact, Apollo 13, and a few Kubrickian moments in there.

Cast is pretty good overall. Nice to see Robbins doing a space movie. Sad when he dies. A young, spry Connie Nielsen is pretty hot.

Some overly exposition, crappy dialogue, and a few silly reactions from the astronauts. Their reaction to intelligent Martian life is good, but moments after learning the origin of human existence, they calmly debate whether they should stay on Mars or go.

One technical question. The computer-generated sequence suggests that the Martians fled Mars and then introduced primitive DNA to Earth. Yet, in the same sequence, it’s clear that the Martians knew of human DNA, intelligent life, and even cities. The only way they’d have known that we’d come that far as a species and a civilization would be if they were remotely monitoring us from their galaxy millions of light-years away or if there were still Martians left on Mars monitoring us from there. If they were monitoring us from another galaxy, they’d be millions of light-years away, and light-speed transmission of any images or data from Earth would take millions of years, which means that it would take at least twice that long (to receive and then send data) to update the computer-generated sequence on Mars with the new information (human DNA, pictures of cities). And that means that they shouldn’t have the new information in their computer-generated sequence until millions of years after they occur on Earth. Yet, in the computer-generated sequence, we see artificially lighted cities, which have only been around for a hundred years. The only way they’d be able to keep their computer-generated sequence that up to date would be if they had developed instantaneous, or at least faster-than-light, data transmission (one hell of a modem). If the Martians are capable of faster-than-light data transmission, or if there were still Martians on Mars monitoring us on Earth, knowing this information would make the computer-generated sequence (and the whole movie) a little more believable.

Also, no footage from Earth. Aside from the BBQ scene at the beginning and a few scenes in Mission Control, the story seems totally disconnected from the real world.

The end seemed a bit abrupt. Weird showing Sinise’s life flash before his eyes when he was supposedly whisked off to paradise.

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