Mission To Mars
Reviewed by Scott Murdock
Rating: 2 Beans
isually stunning, intriguing, thought-provoking, and "realistic" in a fictional sort of way. So why did they have to ruin it with all of that talking?
This is the story of astronauts in the year 2020 who just will not shut up, the characters gab and gab and gab throughout the movie either elaborating on the very obvious (just in case the audience doesn't understand what it is seeing) or going on and on with exposition about personal subplots that really don't have any bearing on the story. Okay, actually it's the story of the first manned flight to Mars. A mysterious disaster on Mars kills all but one of the astronauts (due to their inability to run from obvious danger) and damaged his return vehicle so that he is stranded on the planet. Several months later a rescue team arrives and attempts to solve the mystery of what happened to the first crew while they are there. In doing so they unlock the secret of Mars in a dazzling holographic display.
This all makes for a great story. But, in order to experience it we have to sit through extremely stilted dialogue designed to tell the audience that astronaut Jim McConnell's (Gary Sinise) wife has recently died of some disease. Touching, but not relevant to the story in any way. Later McConnell and Woody Blake (Tim Robbins) have another stilted conversation about the age of and type of fuel used by Blake's antique car. Ummm... we get it... we are already aware by this point that the other cars do not use internal combustion engines.
--- SPOILERS AHEAD ---
The most annoying dialogue in this movie (apart from all of the rest of it) occurs during the film's climax. Three of the astronauts are treated to a holographic presentation left behind by the earlier inhabitants that tells the story of what happened to Mars millions of years ago. This is a beautifully constructed scene and the holographic animation clearly explains the story the Martians are attempting to convey. But in case the audience is just not getting it, the astronauts narrate for us explaining in dreadfully obvious detail what is happening as we see it. I wonder if the Martian language has a word for "duh"?
Apart from the dialogue there was one other annoying item in this movie and that was the sloppy product placement. I'll forgive Dr. Pepper and Isuzu, their placements were not too horrible and annoying. But when spacecraft start looking like NASCAR cars due to all the emblems... come on! There is no logical reason for all those emblems to be stuck on the outside of spacecraft where no one is going to see them except for a handful of astronauts.
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