Movie News

John Carter & Omega Prime share their ecstatic look at MISSION TO MARS

Published at: Jan. 20, 2000, 4:32 a.m. CST

Harry here, with this additional peek at MISSION TO MARS, this first little quick rundown came from Omega Prime, a real hero, if you ask me. It's brief but to the point. I also spoke with someone that was raving about the screening about 4 seconds ago and man... It sounds like this screening did AMAZING. But wait... I thought no good movies come in March... oh... except ummm when did MATRIX hit screens? :)

Brian DePalma has crafted a thoroughly entertaining, emotionally stimulating, and thought provoking genre masterpiece. The temporary soundtrack intimates that the final score will be a memorable one. The Cinematography is beautiful; lit very well (great depth of field). Editing is fast-paced. Performances all around are excellent. The screenplay is smart, fun, and unique. Elements are implemented throghout to accomodate a disired rating and running time and win favor with critics and audiences alike. A must see!

Hey folks... Harry here. I just have to tell you that while John Carter below LOVED (like in a really big way) MISSION TO MARS, I highly suggest that you NOT read this review. He throws spoilers about like you wouldn't believe. In fact I caught at least 3 that I didn't want to know... and got rid of two that I just didn't want shown at ALL! Besides that though, I'll tell you that he loved this movie on a MATRIX level, his words...not mine. He said there are similarities with 2001 but that the film is also quite different. Apparently the fx are stunning in a very huge way. The characters and actors also apparently do a very good job. Personally, I'm excited about this project. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Dear Harry,

Finally! Finally I get to report to you on something for the site. I just came from a test preview screening of the movie ³Misssion to Mars. The film was directed by Brian DePalma, and stars Tim Robbins, Gary Sinese, Don Cheadle (from ³Devil in a Blue Dress.²) and Connie Neilson (who played the devil¹s daughter in ³Devil¹s Advocate.²) Remember the naked redhead? Anyway, the film is awesome! Certainly the best film since The Matrix. I think almost every shot had a special affect of some kind. Fantastic stuff!

The film basically is about NASA¹s second mission to mars to rescue the sole surviving member of another mission, the other astronauts having died mysteriously. All of the actors I mentioned above play the crew, except for Cheadle who is the guy stranded on Mars for a year, looking very much like Bob Marley by the time help arrives. On the way to Mars the shit hits the fan when a meteor storm goes by and a couple of meteors smash through the ship. The crew has to fix the ship and there is a cool scene where they have to get around the ship weightless, with the air leaking out of the ship, Sinese almost bites it but saves the day - get this - by squirting out soda from a spaceman sode can/bag. The soda floats weightless in the air and is then, like the air, sucked out through the hole the meteor made. As it hits space, the soda freezes, temporarily filling the hold, as well as showing the astronauts where it is. But they missed a hole and when they get close to Mars they launch their rockets and blow their ass off. They have to bail out and get to some supply ship which happens to be nearby in orbit and they do just that, but not before Tim Robbins gets them there, putting his own life in peril. When the rest of the crew wants to rescue Tim Robbins, who is well on his way to burning into the Mars atomsphere, Tim Robbins knows that they will die trying. He wants them to live and so he pops off his helmet, in the middle of space, and dies in millieseconds as he is flash frozen. That scene actually really works well because of his relationship with his wife. He¹s doing it for her and that makes you all just want to hug somebody. So they get to Mars, land somehow and find Don Cheadle living like Robinson Crusoe. He tells about, get this, the face on mars, they laugh at him, he takes them there and shows him the mountain which was transformed when the super-tornados which killed his crew (Did I mention that is how the first mission gets wiped out?) destroyed the top part of the mountain to reveal a giant face statue (it looks like it is a mile long.) It turns out this thing was left by the long dead martians as a beacon to mankind. We learn that a signal is being broadcast from the face, we answer it with the correct answer and gain admittance where we learn through a Martian Laser show that Mars was once full of life. highly developed society, etc., etc. A meteor hit their planet, essentially killing it, but before it was destroyed, the Martians left, and seeded the still young Earth with the DNA of life. We evolved from Martians. There is one ship left and as the crew races back to blast off to Earth before they miss their launch window, Gary Sinese decides to take off and see where it goes. His crew takes off, in the middle of a dustorm, and soon thereafter, the Sinese craft zooms past them, taking off into a far off galaxy. This last spacecraft is wholly, original and it spins in a barrel roll as it picks up warp speed - very cool!

All in all, the film was pretty rad despite that it is not yet done. Some of the special affects did not look finished, but the film seemed complete. The music did suck, so I hope that it is not the final score. Nobody was credited on the score, so I don¹t know. I have to say, I am really interested in seeing the film again, both because I was to see the finished project and compare it to the real thing, and because it was so damn good. Like Matrix, I am afriad I also might have missed something. As far as science fiction goes, it was much more fun (and intelligent) to watch than ³Phantom Menace² or ³Armageddon. It reminds me a lot of 2001, not only in its story and design, but in its deliberate slowness, with a little of the character stuff from Close Encounters of the Third Kind² There are tons of special affects and something bid seems to happen every ten minutes. "__________'s" death was awesome, the reunion with "___________" was great, and that guy from Sliders was pretty good too. I don¹t remember his name, but he is the comic relief and breaks the tension. There might be a few too many similarities to 2001 for some people, especially the lilting HAL like voice which shows up during an emergency situation, but screw it, the film rocked!

Maybe they will bring back the ride Mission to Mars at Disneyland?

That's it for now. I hope this is of help to you.

Regards from Mars,

"John Carter, Warlord of Mars"

Readers Talkback

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  • Jan. 20, 2000, 4:52 a.m. CST

    Well.....

    by blacksun

    I don't think this will be any good. But we'll have to wait and see. Matrix took us (at least me)by surpise, but this one doesn't sound promising...

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 4:54 a.m. CST

    WHAT IN BLUE BLAZES!!!???

    by Harry's Tongue

    You skipped me you bastard! Mission to Mars looks great. I can't wait to lick up some buttery popcorn when this baby comes out!

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 5:07 a.m. CST

    Theres spoilers and theres telling you every damn thing that hap

    by Meat Takeshi

    Man i am gonna have to kill some brain cells between now and when this comes out in Europe. I don't want to know who dies and how, wheres my skunk.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 5:10 a.m. CST

    Noble deaths are cool...

    by aherlow

    Hmm, still not sure about this film...sfx look great but the corny lines in the teaser (the opener about water on the planet, and the "let's go to Mars" bit) put me off. Still, I'm looking forward to seeing Gary Sinise actually make it into space this time...and let's hope Tim Robbins dies grumsomely...(evil laugh)

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 5:12 a.m. CST

    Ooops, my mistake

    by aherlow

    I mean 'gruesomely', of course... and I don't want no more spoilers either...

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 5:24 a.m. CST

    MISSION TO MARS SUCKS!

    by Den Diablo

    don't want to sound too negative, but I read the final script and it's lame lame lame! everything is sooooooo predictable! It's excellent to entertain a 6 year old kid! I'm sure it has pretty pictures, but that's about all! nagnag....;)

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 7:35 a.m. CST

    As good as THE MATRIX, huh?

    by Dodge Manhunter

    Now I know what movie I won't watch this year. The MATRIX was one of the worst films of last year. A laughable film. If M2M is as bad as that film, DePalma has another shit in his hands, a la SNAKE EYES and MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. ----- e-mail: daviop@conex.com.br

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 9:58 a.m. CST

    This Is All Fine And Dandy, But.....

    by mrbeaks

    .....is it better than the greatest March release of all time..... D2: THE MIGHTY DUCKS 2? In any event, I'm keeping my expectations low for the time being. Not that I don't trust the scooper, but I just want to be pleasantly surprised.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 10:01 a.m. CST

    It sure does look like 2001!!!

    by Mr Logic

    I have to agree with some of the other folks I think the makers of this film are going to be asked some pretty hard questions about the 2001 influence during the marketing of this film. I had a similar reaction to the trailer some of it looked bloody cool and some of it was cringe worthey. I did like the ``olympic games'' style soundtrack though and I hope they keep that in the film. PS: I hope the chick who was on Sea Quest gets her tits out she's cute.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 10:04 a.m. CST

    De Palma is the king

    by MagnoliaMan

    I think there are De Palma fans and then there are people who just don't get his sense of humour and mistake his films for standard Hollywood crap (ie. the way most people just didn't realize that he was joking around in Raising Cain). I'm one of the people who really love De Palma and most of those who feel the same way as me seem to agree that even when his films fail on a story or character level (ie. Mission: Impossible, Snake Eyes), they're still wonderfully funny, inventive and entertaining. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I feel like Snake Eyes was just a victim of the test screening process. The ending sucked. If it had ended right in the middle of the Cage/Sinise confrontation, it would have been a perfect (but short) entry in the cheesy conspiracy movie genre, a modest but respectable feat. That last half hour and especially that last scene were dreadful, though. What the hell were they thinking? Anyway, I think it's a shame that De Palma haters have forgotten his body of work. How could you not like Hi Mom, Greetings, Sisters, Phantom of the Paradise, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, Body Double The Untouchables, Casualties of War and Carlito's Way? Those are all really damn good movie. And don't give me that Hitchcock ripoff crap. He's vastly different from Hitchcock and when he's similar, it's clearly homage and not an attempt to conceal the influence. My only problem with Mission to Mars, so far, is that it appears to lack the sleaziness of De Palma's best work.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 10:05 a.m. CST

    De Palma is the king

    by MagnoliaMan

    I think there are De Palma fans and then there are people who just don't get his sense of humour and mistake his films for standard Hollywood crap (ie. the way most people just didn't realize that he was joking around in Raising Cain). I'm one of the people who really love De Palma and most of those who feel the same way as me seem to agree that even when his films fail on a story or character level (ie. Mission: Impossible, Snake Eyes), they're still wonderfully funny, inventive and entertaining. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I feel like Snake Eyes was just a victim of the test screening process. The ending sucked. If it had ended right in the middle of the Cage/Sinise confrontation, it would have been a perfect (but short) entry in the cheesy conspiracy movie genre, a modest but respectable feat. That last half hour and especially that last scene were dreadful, though. What the hell were they thinking? Anyway, I think it's a shame that De Palma haters have forgotten his body of work. How could you not like Hi Mom, Greetings, Sisters, Phantom of the Paradise, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Blow Out, Scarface, Body Double The Untouchables, Casualties of War and Carlito's Way? Those are all really damn good movie. And don't give me that Hitchcock ripoff crap. He's vastly different from Hitchcock and when he's similar, it's clearly homage and not an attempt to conceal the influence. My only problem with Mission to Mars, so far, is that it appears to lack the sleaziness of De Palma's best work.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 11:18 a.m. CST

    "The Matrix." What was so great about this movie?

    by Powerslave

    Before you whip out the flame-throwers, let me say that I did enjoy this movie, but based on the fanboy gushing and raving, I expected the second coming. To me, "The Matrix" was 90 minutes of talky, new-age mumbo-jumbo that tried to pass itself off as deep, interspersed with some cool F/X. The last half hour was pretty nifty though; however, by the end, I was asking myself "Is this it?" Anyone who has ever seen a single Hong Kong action movie, anime, or Gap commercial (Montag606, I am looking in your direction :), has seen what "The Matrix" had to offer. If you want something to do waiting for the sequels, might I suggest having a game of "Unreal Tournament?" One level takes place on the rooftops of three skyscrapers in a low-gravity environment. You can jump rooftop to rooftop, firing rocket launchers and machine-guns at your opponents. The level's name? "Morpheus," of course. The level is in the demo, so you don't have to buy the game to experience it (although you really should).

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 11:27 a.m. CST

    you were right

    by maikeru

    I can't believe that I went a head and read that review. It will be hard for me to go see this movie knowing what I now know. I will never dout you again Harry.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 1:16 p.m. CST

    about DePalma

    by Giancarlo

    The movie looks good but what the fuck is up everybody's ass with DePalma? Snake Eyes did suck but shit The Untouchables, Scarface, Carlito's Way u know the man has done some darn cool fims. The only thing I don't like about this flick is the guy from that show sliders is in it. I don't know I just seen this kid in other films and he doesn't look too good.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 1:45 p.m. CST

    To MagnoliaMan

    by Pomona88

    I'm not sure what you mean by SNAKE EYES being the victim of the test screening process. Wasn't it the victim of having a painfully obvious villain? I mean, they gave it away in the trailer! All I could do during SNAKE EYES was wonder what trick De Palma had up his sleeve, but he didn't have one. I also think it's unfair to refer to his critics as "De Palma haters." I suspect that most people acknowledge the quality of at least a couple of his films. As for the "Hitchcock ripoff crap," maybe if he had only done it once, it could have been considered an homage, but the technique becomes suspicious with repetition. I doubt that the general audience recognizes a lot of the Hitchcock/Eisenstein/Kubrick references, so it looks like he's trying to take credit for their work.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Doesn't this movie look like...

    by Phynk

    The Abyss, and Armageddon, and 2001 all rolled into one big dumb movie??? I've only seen the trailer, but I'v seen it twice, and from what I could tell it's not very original. I want this to be a good movie, 'cause it's got a good cast, and it hits theaters on my birthday, but I just don't think it's gonna cut it.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 4:01 p.m. CST

    To MagnoliaMan

    by Pomona88

    I'm posting this again since it looks like messages are showing up in chronological order again. I'm not sure what you mean by SNAKE EYES being the victim of the test screening process. Wasn't it the victim of having a painfully obvious villain? I mean, they gave it away in the trailer! All I could do during SNAKE EYES was wonder what trick De Palma had up his sleeve, but he didn't have one. I also think it's unfair to refer to his critics as "De Palma haters." I suspect that most people acknowledge the quality of at least a couple of his films. As for the "Hitchcock ripoff crap," maybe if he had only done it once, it could have been considered an homage, but the technique becomes suspicious with repetition. I doubt that the general audience recognizes a lot of the Hitchcock/Eisenstein/Kubrick references, so it looks like he's trying to take credit for their work.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 4:28 p.m. CST

    M2M sounds like ass...

    by tommy five-tone

    ...despite the presence of de palma, sinise and cheadle (i'm a bit sick of robbins, and kim delaney is the worst thing to happen to NYPD blue since caruso left). i haven't read these reviews, however, because i don't want to blow the experience. but i still think red planet will be the better mars movie.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 4:37 p.m. CST

    De Palma hates "ARMAGEDDON"

    by The Cars

    but he loves "2001."

  • Yeah, you throw in a lot of symbolism so everyone can think that they've delved into the hidden depths of the human psyche, and you end up having your film called a masterpiece. There's a difference between sublety and having the movie's point crammed down your throat, like Fight Club did. Come on, there was nothing to get, everything was drawn out for the audience in huge letters with crayon.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 6:45 p.m. CST

    De Palma is the bomb-a

    by dominican dandy

    Having little patience for sci fi, i'm not gonna be waiting in line to see Mission to Armageddon..er Mars.. Howevah, the dissing of my boy MC Brian Dee must be answered! Yes, some of his flix bite the large one('Wise Guys', anybody?) but the guy has made some fine and dandy pieces o'entertainment. Sure he rips off Hitchcock and lately himself but it beats paying homage to Jon Turteltaub or some udder hackolyte. I must admit though being able to see a gold plated phony like Tim Robbins buy the farm sounds promising. Maybe I will czeck out the Mars bar movie after all. Think maybe Timmy dies in the movie to save the Haitian boat people?

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 6:58 p.m. CST

    ...and big arrows all around it.

    by All Thumbs

    Just thought I would finish that sentence for ya Niiiice.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 8:08 p.m. CST

    De Palma is a master.

    by Tinting

    I Just can't understand why anyone who truly love cinema could not love De Palma. I mean, he IS pure filmaking. The way he tells a story, the way he uses the camera, the editing, the music. His films are always inventive. Of course, they are not always as complex and profound as we would wish, but still... I am so excited by Mission to Mars that I can not thing about anything else. If this film is just half good as Carrie, Blow Out, The Untouchables, Dressed to Kill (etc.) it will be worth seeing many, many times... All those who don't like De Palma don't know what they're missing. They just don't.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 8:24 p.m. CST

    does this sound like its missing something

    by mmm_free_wig

    My cohort the talking pie thinks so. Maybee, instead of using a hal-esque computer, they could use the talking pie. The talking pie could be used as a food source for the stranded astronaut. Once this has been done, the talking pie could go back in time for some reason, maybee to warn NASA of its ill fated voyage, or even to bring ice man robins (THANKS FOR TELLING US THAT WANKER) back from the dead, and on a journey to meet the original inhabitants of Mars. While there, the martians could eat peices of the talking pie, and go back in time themselves to kill those who would smite them.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 10:14 p.m. CST

    why DePalma is a hack

    by Lazarus Long

    Okay, DePalma has some good films. Couple great ones. But what exactly is his agenda? He doesn't write his stuff, and it's often hard to see what draws him to the material he takes on. (Oooohh... This sounds like [insert famous film] by [insert famous director] and I could totally update that [insert famout set piece sequence] scene with my modern technical camerawork!) Yeah, Raising Cain was an underrated satire. But look at the list of his projects and it's not impressive so much as it is erratic in quality as well as sense. What does the cinema of Brian DePalma represent? As I've previously mentioned, he had supporters like Pauline Kael (who oddly bashed Kubrick 2001 onward), but there's really nothing to learn from his films except for how to appropriate the material of his predecessors. There's a big difference between homage and what he does. Homage by definition is "praise or high regard" or "tribute". I don't think any directors like Hitchcock, Eisenstein or whoever would view his rip-offs and feel honored. I'd like to push him down the stairs in a baby carriage, and not in slow motion. Maybe he doesn't think about commercial concerns while making his films, but that's even more sad, because that means there are other reasons his films as a whole are not of the high calibre that his supporters claim. Spielberg, who clearly does think along commerical lines, makes films that are a hell of a lot more enjoyable to watch (derivative much preferrable to DePalma's thievery), and although it has more cheese in it than a 50-year old obese triple-bypass health risk, his heart's in the right place. Aside from Casualties of War, DePalma's heart has been as absent as his brain.

  • Jan. 20, 2000, 10:56 p.m. CST

    Sphere vs. M2M

    by Gators28

    I don't know if anyone else has noticed but I feel like it resembles the movie Sphere the most. I mean both movies they're searching for life of an alien kind, both movies are searching for the future and past of earth, and both go into this room where theres no doors or anything. I thought Sphere was okay, it had its few moments, but not seeing the squid made me mad. Also everything was very choppy and slow, it was very confusing. I had high hopes for that, but now seeing the trailer for M2M its like Sphere, only this is on Mars instead of in the ocean and theres no sphere. I hope this movie is good, but the way it resembles Sphere, makes me a little spectial about M2M.

  • Jan. 21, 2000, 2:18 p.m. CST

    De Palma writes more than you think

    by The Cars

    He was in on the writing of the script of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE from the beginning (after they scrapped the original draft that nobody liked), and he formulated the story of SNAKE EYES with David Koepp. He wrote RAISING CAIN (duh), as well as DRESSED TO KILL, BLOW OUT, PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE, SISTERS, BODY DOUBLE, etc. He is a hands-on director (but with this new movie, the script was already there, yet you can bet if Michael Bay had directed it, we'd have a MUCH different kind of film). De Palma works the studio system in an effort to get his own scripts made. When he couldn't get the money to do AMBROSE CHAPEL (a movie he wrote with Jay Cocks), he did MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE, knowing that afterward he would have the leverage to make a film he wanted to make (which wound up being SNAKE EYES). More recently, he tried to set up NAZI GOLD (another script he wrote with Jay Cocks) at MGM, but there were some "creative differences" (budget problems), and then MISSION TO MARS fell into his lap. De Palma knows that after this film comes out, he will be able to make whatever the heck he wants to make, although I think his heart is very much in this MARS movie.

  • Jan. 21, 2000, 3 p.m. CST

    hopefully itll be cool

    by RipReaver

    Well, i hope its cool, the nineties have been the decade of disappointement. remember just going to the movies and not even worrying if it was going to be cheese? you didnt even think about it. aliens for instance, we didnt even think, wow i wonder if theyll cheese it? we just went sat down, knowing it would at least be pretty frigging cool, and it kicked ass, we left and talked about it and moved on. but hey, its frigging 14 years later and oh, it STILL kicks ass, and we still watch it. now, you walk in wondering how many cheese one liners theres going to be, how ridiculous the situations will be, etc etc. im so glad that at least it seems the dust is settling and pockets of people here and there are realizing that hey, the matrix was ok but man it really wasnt THAT GOOD. seeing reeves pose in those kung fu moves had me laugh out loud in the would be silent mesmerized theater. fishburn rules though. but man, that movie was entertaining casual fun, but shit it was no top ten sci fi thats for damn sure. cmon m2m, dont cheese to badly on us....

  • Jan. 21, 2000, 6:22 p.m. CST

    To Harry (re: spoiler deletion)

    by cnuzzi

    Once again, the almighty Harry Knowles decides what is fit for the eyes of the great unwashed masses. Please Harry, mark spoilers as such and print them. Some of us want every tidbit of info on films before they come out. If you can handle the truth, so can we. Let it ALL hang out!

  • Jan. 22, 2000, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Mission to Mars

    by corpulent

    What exactly is "great depth of field"? I know what it is, but how is that any sort of critical analysis?

  • Jan. 22, 2000, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Mission To Mars defines "derivative"

    by CapraCock

    Yeah, I saw the screening too. Think "Apollo 13" in the scenes of the aftermath of the little meteor storm; think "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" when the Martian signal needs to be correctly responded to; think "2001" during interior ship scenes and inside the Martian "Face" planetarium; and think "Close Encounters" when a crew member wants to hitch a ride with the ETs. Bottom line: worth seeing for sci-fi fans (like me), but expect many deja vu experiences. CapraCock

  • Feb. 22, 2000, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Mission To Mars

    by misspartychick

    Got to know if anybody has gotton a sneak peak at Mission To Mars. I know its gonna be great. The cast looks great. I think that when I go check it out I'll probally forget I'm at the theater. Im sure that the special affects are going to be awesome. I would love to hear anything about it. Talk to ya soon!

  • Feb. 24, 2000, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Don't miss this Movie!!!

    by carl orffer

    I saw a screening, and it's AMAZING!! The references to those other films are intentional! Didn't you see the smirks on all of their faces as the HAL-like voice was updating them on the progress of the 'insertion'? This is one technique in which De Palma excells! He never tries to hide it. All of you out there complaining so vehemently about all of the sci-fi 'references' are actually showing just how skilled DePalma is at his craft.

  • March 7, 2000, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Aaarrggh...M2M a major stinker

    by psal

    Just returned from M2M & must share my amazement at just how horrible this film is. Aimless plotting, insipid dialogue, scientific absurdities & unbelievably stupid characters. This film is sooooooo ripe for a MST3K-style ripping. I can't believe a script this corny & trite can get produced! A mish-mash of Contact, 2001, Apollo 13 & The Abyss with all the intelligence drained out. I predict a major bomb at the BO...but at least the producers can slap each other on the back for the $ they made from obvious product placement. Who'd have thunk that Dr. Pepper & Pennzoil would peddle their wares in outer space!?