(Review originally written at 7 July 2008)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Of course it's not a qualification for a science-fiction movie to be exciting and there are many slow, yet great science-fiction movies but "Red Planet" is obviously a movie that aimed for the entertainment, rather than being clever and deep with its meanings or realistic.

Problem with this movie is that it's a real lackluster. The movie just could never grab my interest and basically I couldn't care less for any of the characters, despite the fact that they are all being played by some great and well known actors, such as Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Benjamin Bratt and Terence Stamp.

The story also isn't really a credible or realistic one. The whole AMEE thing...please give me a break! The movie could had definitely worked out with a better and more clever thought out concept. For a science-fiction movie the story is simply lacking in its fundamental things. It instead uses the more standard clich├ęs you could expect from a movie like this. There basically is very little original about "Red Planet", when you're already familiar with the genre.

The movie is basically about a ground crew on Mars, all dying one by one in some very stupid and also predictable ways. This is basically the only excitement the movie has to offer. Some of the most interesting characters die to soon, while the least interesting live on for too long.

For most the special effects are good, though they are certainly lacking in certain sequences. Nevertheless for 2000 standards it's still acceptable. Mars itself is obviously looking as if it was shot on location somewhere in the dessert, which it was. Most sequences were shot in Jordan and Australia but who knows, maybe it really looks like Mars, I am no expert on that subject.

Basically I'm not surprised director Antony Hoffman never directed a movie after this one again. It's way too standard and not surprising or exciting. In his defense, it was also the first movie he ever directed by the way. "Red Planet" became a big box office bomb, grossing only about $15.000.000, while costing more than 4 times as much to make.

Just like the other 2000 'Mars' movie. "Mission to Mars", this is not really a movie worth seeing. At least "Mission to Mars" still had some memorable moments thanks to the Brian De Palma directing. This movie on the other hand is very forgettable and lacking in too much.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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