Mission to Mars

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mars.gif

For centuries, we've been searching for the origin of life on earth.... We've been looking on the wrong planet.

2000

Genres:
Sci-Fi, Action

Starring:
Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, Connie Nielson, Don Cheadle, Jerry O'Connell

Summary:
Luc Goddard (Cheadle) leads the first manned mission to Mars. The team's discovery of a mysterious and ancient dome-like structure ends in a terrifying disaster that severs all contact with Earth.

Recently widowed Jim McConnell (Sinise) is recruited to lead the rescue mission to Mars. After technical problems and severe damage to their ship, most of the team reaches the Martian ground to find that Luc is surprisingly still alive. He has been living on his own for months, and he has started unravelling the mystery of the structure that killed his colleagues.

Through their combined efforts, the astronauts are able to decode the message sent by what is revealed as a beacon. Now they must decide whether to enter the structure and risk everything, or wait and return to earth to analyze and prepare in earnest.

Response:
This movie was a perfect space and alien adventure...until the last 10 minutes. In fact the majority was so good and the ending so bad that it seemed that they were written and directed by two completely different groups that refused to work together. So for that reason, I will treat them as two separate parts in this response.

The first part was filled with great acting, especially Sinise who as always plays the tortured soul to perfection (I do love this man). Robbins' and Nielson's portrayal of a married astronaut team was genuinely touching, and the inclusion of McConnell's newly widowed status was a nice touch of foreshadowing.

Predictably, the rescue mission encounters devastating problems in space, but, despite this cliche, it's still on-the-edge-of-your-seat entertainment. Once on Mars, it's also quite interesting to see them decode the beacon and to guess what's inside.

And that's about where the movie falls apart. It shows and explains too much. The audience is treated as mindless idiots with no imagination who need everything given to them on a silver platter. I won't spoil the ending (it's already bad enough), but suffice it to say that there is a hologram Mattell-like alien who explains life on earth as well as a spectacular transport scene when McConnell decides earth holds nothing for him.

Point Blank:
I recommend watching Mission to Mars. At the same time, I highly recommend you stop watching before the last ten minutes. Seriously. Stop it right before they enter the black doorway within the white room.