Mission To Mars

Given a budget estimated at anywhere between $60 million and $80 million, this space epic's extravagant special effects are appropriately spectacular. If only they were at the service of some kind of real story. In the year 2020, NASA is mounting its first mission to the angry red planet, headed up by Commander Luke Graham (Don Cheadle). Everything goes...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Given a budget estimated at anywhere between $60 million and $80 million, this space epic's extravagant special effects are appropriately spectacular. If only they were at the service of some kind of real story. In the year 2020, NASA

is mounting its first mission to the angry red planet, headed up by Commander Luke Graham (Don Cheadle). Everything goes fine until he and his three-person crew start poking around a mysterious mountain; their investigation sets off some kind of intense special-effects reaction (one highly

reminiscent of THE MUMMY's sandstorm, come to think of it), and Graham is the only one left standing. In a desperate race against time, a rescue team is dispatched to pick him up and investigate the occurrence; the only problem is that it will take them six months to get there. The rescue team:

crack pilot Jim McConnell (Gary Sinise), who dropped out of the Mars mission rotation after his wife's death; married officers Terri Fisher (Connie Nielsen) and Woody Blake (Tim Robbins); and young hotshot Phil Ohlmyer (Jerry O'Connell). The rescue doesn't exactly go smoothly, but when they get to

Mars they discover an object with profound implications for mankind's view of itself. It all sounds sort of exciting, but it's not, mostly because it's all so familiar. The movie's technological design team may have spent millions and worked thisclosely with NASA, but the end result looks as

though it was lifted directly from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY; the screenplay is also painfully indebted to Kubrick's film. The Mars exteriors (which were constructed outside Vancouver) look uncannily like Coober Pedy, Australia, a favorite of location scouts with desolation on the brain. The script is

heavy on platitudes about friendship, but since there isn't a single fully fleshed character in sight, who cares?

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Given a budget estimated at anywhere between $60 million and $80 million, this space epic's extravagant special effects are appropriately spectacular. If only they were at the service of some kind of real story. In the year 2020, NASA is mounting its firs… (more)

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