Red Planet (2000)


Fuck This Planet!

The worst thing I could do now is come out of the October Horror-thon with a bad movie. That being the case, I offer to you my review of Red Planet. … DAMNIT! Oh well, I can make this work. I have no idea what compelled me to purchase this movie on BluRay beyond the fact that it was $5, but I done it and now you can read about it. Red Planet was directed by Antony Hoffman (which you should not read as Anthony Hopkins like I did), and stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Val Kilmer, Benjamin Bratt, Tom Sizemore, Simon Baker, and Terence Stamp.

The year is 2056, Earth is in the middle of a crisis because of pollution and overpopulation. The opening narration goes on and on about these things, but I’ve broken it down for you so you can skip into the movie about 5 minutes. A crew is being sent to check on the terraforming of Mars that they initiated 20 years earlier by throwing a frat boy’s fridge up there and letting algae grow, which should create oxygen and give us a new planet to fuck up. This team is comprised of potential lesbian commander Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss), space janitor Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer), cocky pilot Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt), teammate killer Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker), douchey know-it-all Quinn Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), and rambling old man Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp). A solar flare messes up their systems on their ship, causing the team to have to leave without their commander. Once they land, they start slowly dying off in various ways until only Val Kilmer escapes. The end.

I am comfortable confessing that, it turns out, I only bought this movie because I thought it was Mission to Mars. I was wrong. Not that either of them are good movies, but it was the corniness I wanted as opposed to the corniness I didn’t want at the moment. If I remember Mission to Mars correctly, I’m pretty sure there’s some nonsense they end up finding about aliens having been there before and leaving something in the face on Mars. THAT’S the corny Mars movie I wanted to watch. Instead I watched the corny one about little bugs that eat the algae and convert it to oxygen, making Mars habitable except for the fact that those little bugs also eat people … and their robot tries to kill them. Oh well, I guess we’ll talk about this movie instead.

The story of this movie is serviceable. The part about Earth being overcrowded is nothing new but not entirely overdone. The obvious followup to the overpopulation is moving to a new planet which involves terraforming, so that the obvious next step in the process. Something needs to go wrong, so no surprises there. It’s a story you could probably figure out from just watching the trailer, but it’s not all bad. There’s some fun to be had in this movie. Some of the dialogue is drawn out too long, but some of it is charming. Some might say it’s very progressive of this movie to make the only female on board the commander, but then others may argue that the fact that she was the one left alone on the ship while the men did all the hard labor and all she could do is sit around, watch what was happening, and take care of the dishes and laundry was less progressive. The production on the movie is pretty solid too. I liked the little bouncy contraption they landed on Mars in. Granted it killed the old guy, but I think it looked wicked fun. The robot that they brought with them that then tries to kill them seemingly for no reason was well done graphically, but possibly not well thought out. I think it was some EMP thing that scrambled it’s robo-brain and made it decide to kill them. Probably should’ve put Asimov’s rules of robotics in that mamma jamma.

The performances were fine, but also nothing special. Carrie-Anne Moss got to take it easy on the movie, having no real physical labor to speak of here. All she really had to do was be concerned about the people on Mars, which she pulled off acceptably. I’ve found Val Kilmer compelling ever since he was Doc Holliday in Tombstone, so he can’t really do wrong by me. But he was fairly charming in this movie. Tom Sizemore was also pretty entertaining as basically the comic relief on the team. Simon Baker had to put out the most acting chops because he inadvertently killed Benjamin Bratt and then had to hide it from the rest of the team. There wasn’t much else going on here.

Not much to say about this movie. I wish it had been the other corny action movie set on Mars that I intended to watch, but this one would probably be of the same quality anyways. This movie was thoroughly mediocre. Not bad, not good, not particularly memorable, not particularly anything. You will live a comfortable life if you skip the movie, but you also probably won’t kill yourself if you have to sit through it. Those are your choices. Pick one! Or don’t. I don’t imagine anyone is going to be forcing you to watch a mediocre and forgettable movie from 11 years ago anyway. I’ll give this movie “We just disappointed 10 billion people” out of “We’re taking the first piss on Mars.”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

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