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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May be too simple and monochromatic for most SF fans.
15 years from now, people are going to pick up this movie and wonder why so many people thought it was bad--there's actually very little wrong with it: memorable performances from Sizemore, Stamp and Kilmer, better science than the average Hollywood flick, a nifty mystery, a logical triumph of man over machine (aren't we all a little tired of omnipotent, indestructible...
Published on March 20 2002 by Desired FX

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good flick, just needs some characters
I am a SF junkie and will watch just about anything - even if I don't like it. Red Planet - With Carrie Moss, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore and Terrance Stamp - isn't in that category but it teeters at times.
The special effects are not bad.
The science IS bad, and inconsistant, but since this is a movie and not a documentary, so I suppose that's allowable.
I...
Published on April 26 2004 by Michael Bond


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May be too simple and monochromatic for most SF fans., March 20 2002
This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
15 years from now, people are going to pick up this movie and wonder why so many people thought it was bad--there's actually very little wrong with it: memorable performances from Sizemore, Stamp and Kilmer, better science than the average Hollywood flick, a nifty mystery, a logical triumph of man over machine (aren't we all a little tired of omnipotent, indestructible robots?), and crisp suspense as the astronauts race the clock to escape the tightening noose of a mission gone awry.
It was promoted as a SF/Horror flick similar to ALIEN, and it really isn't--it's more like Alfred Hitchcock directing THE RIGHT STUFF.
All the SF movie fans I know tend to like byzantine tales, historic in scope, filled with quirky characters roaming rich new landscapes, so this simple tale of a small group of men trying to escape a desolate red planet within a short span of hours might not be rich enough for them. (The SF fanboys won't like it because Carrie-Anne Moss's shower scene is too short and doesn't show enough...er...Moss.)
It's definitely worth a rental, but you won't want to own it unless you're a suspense fan that revels more in how a film is put together than in how it turns out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good flick, just needs some characters, April 26 2004
By 
Michael Bond (Shawnee, OK United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
I am a SF junkie and will watch just about anything - even if I don't like it. Red Planet - With Carrie Moss, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore and Terrance Stamp - isn't in that category but it teeters at times.
The special effects are not bad.
The science IS bad, and inconsistant, but since this is a movie and not a documentary, so I suppose that's allowable.
I would have loved to see more Terrance Stamp.
The relationships between the crew are not well explained and take unexpected turns here and there. The flashback- oh yeah - this happened - scene to explain the Kilmer-Moss relationship irritated me. Why on earth (or Mars) not show it as it happened - then we might all understand the situation. At times, I was wondering "Why are they acting like this?"
Not bad - SF fans will still like it - keep expectations low.
Mike
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yawn...how many more times can they make the same movie?, April 26 2004
By 
Jimmy Lin (Central NJ) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
If you've seen any of the following films, then don't waste your time with "Red Planet":
1. Armageddon
2. The Core
3. Apollo 13
4. Independence Day
5. Any "beat the clock & save the planet/city" sci-fi flick made since 1990 that I didn't bother watching.
Out of all of these, "Apollo 13" is the best, simply because it's a true story that was made with emotional honesty and a compelling narrative.
Here's everything you need to know about "Red Planet":
-the best actor (Terrence Stamp) the dies first
-Val Kilmer and Carrie-Ann Moss are in it
-plot of "Apollo 13" + wonky environmental pop-science + visuals from "2001" + Mars + a funky robot who goes all "HAL" = "Red Planet"
Plot synopsis: In an attempt to terraform Mars because Earth is so polluted, the "international community" has been seeding Mars with large algae mats to make its atmosphere more human-friendly. Something goes wrong, and a team is dispatched to Mars to investigate. As they enter Mars' orbit, the ship is exposed to a large solar flare, which fries much of its circuitry. Most of the crew go to the Mars surface, with the pilot staying on-board to try to save the ship. The crew jettisons the landing gear and lands, fatally injuring the surgeon/philosopher. The survivors march to a nearby base previously set up by un-manned missions. The base is kaput. One survivor kills another without the others knowing it. They discover that they can breathe the air. The pilot tells them that if they can get to an old unmanned rover several hours away, they can make it back to the ship. Along the way, one survivor goes nuts and is killed by a damaged robot navigator (jettisoned with the landing gear) and some bugs. The biogeneticist figures out why the air is breathable and kills himself before the bugs can eat him. Meanwhile, the pilot has repaired the ship. The lone survivor gets to the rover, fights the robot, steals its battery, and makes it back to the ship. End of story.
There. In 15 sentences (including "end of story"), I have told you THE WHOLE STUPID MOVIE. That's it. There's nothing else to know about this movie.
The premise of the conflict is wholly absurd and serves as the engine of a barely-mediocre flick. In order to make near-future sci-fi compelling. the science must be relatively sound. So here are the two big science stinkers (leaving aside the whole atmosphere issue) that make this movie wholly implausible:
1. There are things called circuit breakers and other safety devices to prevent power surges from frying stuff. All satellites and space equipment using solar panels have these devices and have survived many many solar flares. Why would they build a ship without these precautions?
2. None of the Mars survivors consumed water once they reached the surface. With demanding physical activity and little-to-no atmospheric moisture, they would have died of dehydration sometime during the second march, if not on the first day.
Don't waste your time with this movie. Rent something good. Heck, if you just have to see bad sci-fi, watch "Jason X" - the visuals are just as good, and you'll be much more entertained.
This movie gets 2 stars for graphical competence and having Terence Stamp utter a few lines.
Can I have my money back?
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2.0 out of 5 stars Soporific space opera, Feb. 3 2004
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
Every astronaut on NASA's team must have blushed with shame at seeing this pitiful rendition of their abilities. Set on a partially "terra-formed" Mars, so that the stranded team doesn't have to wear EVA helmets for the length of this tedious film, five men - quickly pared down to three, then two, then . . . struggle to survive. As if the lack of food, water and story line weren't enough, there's a rabid rover that strives to do them in. In a sense, the rover is the only one with any acting ability. Its quick-change mode of operation, baleful countenance and dedication to destruction at least provide it focus. The humans, by contrast, fumble about the landscape, perform feats of derring-do, sink into sloughs of despair and surrender to base instincts. All the while trying to convince us they are real people.
Is there one heroic figure? Ah, yes! Far above struggles [what else] the heroinic commander [i'm not making this up!] of the expedition, Carrie-Anne Moss. Not reachable by AMMEE the Rampant Robot, C-AM must emulate Sigourney Weaver's role in her efforts to subdue a recalcitrant space ship. C-AM has the help Sigourney lacked in the voice of the ship's computer. Sultry, soothing, empowering, this computer voice REALLY communicates. What its technical abilities are remain a mystery throughout the film. Perhaps the best dialogue of the film is C-AM and the computer arguing. Sigourney would be as embarrassed as those NASA astronauts.
There's little chance this review can give away much about the plot. There's so little of one, and the elements are cadged from a multitude of sources any SF fan will recognise in moments. To call the performances wooden is to insult whole forests. Speculative Fiction has enough of a quest achieving mainstream acceptance without disasters like this setting back the genre further. There are countless stories out there awaiting filming - a Canadian author's work comes immediately to mind. Come North, Hollywood, where real plots abound. But please don't take our lumber, put in front of a camera, and call it acting. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable though not gripping, Oct. 30 2003
This review is from: Red Planet (VHS Tape)
With over-population and pollution threatening the future of the human race by the middle of the 21st century, NASA turns to Mars as a possible avenue for colonization. (Robots sent ahead build Hab-1, a condo for the crew on Mars; they also sprinkle lakes of algae meant to convert Mars's CO2 atmosphere into breathable oxygen). Led by the ultra-competent Commander Bowman (Carrie Moss), and including a philospoher (Terrence Stamp), the hot-shot (Ben Bratt), the existentialist geneticist (Tom Sizemore) and a terra-former named Pettengill (Simon Baker) whose selfishness borders on paranoia, the team nears Mars full of anticipation. The only crewman not quite awed by the prospect if Gallagher (Kilmer) the wisecracking janitor. When a gamma-energy burst cripples the ship before it can make a planned landing, the crew (sans Moss) escape and make landfall (Mars-fall, I guess) before they've had time to scout the planet from orbit. Big mistake - something has wrecked their habitat, stranding the team on Mars. With the mothership barely able to do more than either fall-out of orbit or head for home, Kilmer and crew are forced to rely on each other, with little more to do than watch the oxygen levels of their spacesuits drop. Surprise - they find the Martian atmosphere now loaded with oxygen - condemning them to death by starvation instead of asphyxiation. Also, they must now guard against AMEE, their survey robot run amok. A CGI wonder, AMEE morphs between different predatory poses - human and panther. AMEE was actually designed for the military - and a hard landing on the planet only brings up her darker side. On the team's own side (barely evening out the odds) are a few surprises - mostly involving salvaging barely usable technology from the few probes that mankind successfully landed on Mars.
This is a pretty good film - Val Kilmer plays a surprisingly likeable guy, though the film is pretty much paint-by numbers. There aren't that many surprises here (like the order in which the team members die off). The film actually does less to surprise than simply suspend your belief (you'd think that with the money they'd spent on the mission and its importance for the survival of humanity, the planners would have screened out nut-jobs like Pettengill; with all their high-tech, none of the team detect oxygen until they crack their visors and find out they can breathe). It would have been cool to expand on the teams use of all that old earth-junk, but the script was obviously hobbled by the fact that so few missions actually made it to Mars (whether you're counting in metric or otherwise, the number is pretty small). Mars itself gets too little exposure in the script - with the planet approximating little more than a big desert with harsh weather - even though the red planet has much to offer. (Oxygen aside, what about the missing ozone layer that's supposed to shield our heroes from deadly UV rays? Even an oxygen-rich atmosphere means little when the atmospheric pressure at sea-level is thinner than what you'd get half a mile over Mt. Everest.) The flick works on its stars, mainly Kilmer, but also Carrie Moss and especially Tom Sizemore playing (again) the tough but tender no. 2 man (seen in "Private Ryan".) Definitely good for a Saturday night rental around February, when there's nothing spectacular enough to spend real money at the Multiplex.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Bad Sci-Fi At Its Best, Oct. 15 2003
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This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
It has been a question plagued by humanity through out the eons: on a peaceful, cooperative, scientific mission to a distant planet...why bring a killer android?
"Red Planet" could answer that, but instead it just kind of stinks more and more.
So Mars is being investigated by a crew made up of good and bad actors, and as usual some thing goes wrong. Most of the crew crashlands on the planet, and then for the next hour or so they just kind of wonder around. They think their air is running out, and just as the audience is clapping during the final moments...it turns out that they can breath on Mars after all.
Wah wah waahh...
They could explain it right away some how, but instead they cut to AMEE, who is the killer android in question. Not only can she kill things, but she is well versed in the tactics of guerilla warfare and military logistics.
Again.......why the hell do they have this android with them?
Oh yeah, then it drags on for another hour as they find the Mars land rover sent in 1997 (yeah...right) and use it to communicate. Then bugs come out of no where and...then you lose all interest in the movie.
Its not exciting, its not romantic, its not even ground breaking in its backstory...why did I watch this?
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5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable movie., Sept. 14 2003
This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
I can't really find any problems to hate this movie. Let's face it, you can't expect every movie to be the Lord of the Rings. You know there are tons of movies, some of which aren't as popular as others but are still alright movies. Why watch these movies? Because they are entertaining. This movie is entertaining. I like movies that entertain me and don't try to be the number one flick of the year or all time for that matter.
Val Kilmer is a great actor, I love all his movies, and this movie is no exception. He plays a pretty cool mechanic. I dislike Carrie slightly in this movie because of her stupid journal entry thingies. You know, "Gallagher was the mechanic, Jimbo was the weapons blah blah blah." Get on with it. After the beggining, and the stupid journal entry at the end, I like the movie. I saw it in theatres when it came out, and it has a cool atmosphere. I was slightly bored because I had homework to do, but the movie was still enjoyable. The robot is awesome. It flips and ... does stuff with a hover thingy, and even employs some crazy tactics. The bugs are fine, and the plot is great. "No it isn't. Mdizzio." Yes it is man, it is great. There is oxygen on a planet, some guys were going down to like check the colonization or something, i forget. But still, they were there for a reason, they found out there was no algae, and soon the plot comes down on you. Killer robot, killer firefly-bees, a spaceship, and a little space-shiperooni. I like the special effects.
If I watched it a third time, I would still be slightly intrested because I wasn't paying too much attention to the movie, but I still like it. In the dark with nothing to do but watching Red Planet would be cool. The atmosphere, combined with great special effects really makes the movie worth-while. Stop saying it is a "B" movie, because it is a pretty good movie, and I don't really think anyone could justify that it was a bad movie. Seriously though, what is bad about it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Solid., Aug. 4 2003
This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
Red Planet is a fairly entertaining and, likewise, fairly well made. Normally for me, being just, 'fairly well made' would probably get at most 2 stars, however, as it happens, I am a sci-fi fan, and truely decent sci-fi movies are about as rare an occurance as the truely decent western during the last decade (excluding anime, of course ^_^). Ok action, good acting, and a few good visuals are the high points of this movie.
Unfortunately, this film does fail to deliver beyond the level of 'truely decent sci-fi movie' and has several rough spots - first, the narrative is a bit loopy which tends the film towards several bouts of action scenes rather than several bouts of dialogue, etc... Second - it refuses to allow immersion by constraining the visuals mostly to mediocre action sequences and somehow manages to make space disappear and mars to look like a windy desert. Last, it doesn't capitalize on the potentials of the script - romance, pseudoscience, and the behaviours of stranded men (although the actors themselves to well in their roles).
Red Planet would have been a much more satisfying movie if it had focused on using a more open style to make room for the broad story and character interactions. Visually and plotwise it should have focused on persenting the film in a fantastic manner true to the vastness of space and the obscurity of the situation (such as more of the expansive fields).
Despite its faults, it is a decent film and worth a rental.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Solidly Entertaining, Feb. 20 2003
By 
Timothy D. Leclair (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
I think Red Planet is a true victim of bad marketing. When making up the (very few) trailers and tv spots for this movie, Warner Bros. decided to make it seem like some sort of action packed thrill ride. Even the tagline (something like "They didn't find life on Mars. It found them." Oh no! Scary!) suggests a similar movie to Scott's Alien. Since there was very little advertisement for the film (at least where I come from), plus the fact that it had to contend with Charlie's Angels and The Grinch, very few people actually saw the theatrical release, and those who did were going in with the preconceived Alien notion. While there are aliens in the film, they aren't what you'd expect and they only have a minor role. Roger Ebert, however (who gave the film 3 out of 4 stars) said it was one of the most memorable alien encounters he'd seen in years. I think he's right. Yes, there are mistakes in the film, but that's why it's called science-FICTION. The acting is pretty good, Carrie-Anne Moss being the standout, with Tom Sizemore a close second. The movie is funny, has its fair share of action, and is never dull. The cinematography is stunning and the soundtrack is one of the best I've heard in any movie in any genre. No, the movie is not perfect and it could have done a few things better, but it is very, very, VERY far from being a bad film. Instead of expecting an Alien, Starship Troopers, Pitch Black type of movie, people should go in thinking more along the lines of a big-budget cheesy B-movie and just enjoy the ride. Because what a ride it is.
And as a little sidenote, since I've seen this written several times, there's no more nudity in this movie than there is in your typical TV shampoo commercial.
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2.0 out of 5 stars What a Waste, Dec 31 2002
By 
Joseph A. Bergeron (Binghamton, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Red Planet (Widescreen) (DVD)
This movie had a good cast, lots of resources, good production design, and a pretty convincing depiction of Mars. It could also have been a good movie if a little intelligence had been devoted to the script. Instead, the scientific illiteracy of the thing renders it an annoying joke. Take, for example, the "nematodes" (which are worms, by the way, not insects). The explanation for the rich Martian atmosphere is that the "nematodes" are eating algae and somehow "making oxygen". Well, guess what...it's plants and algae that "make oxygen"...eating it in order to make O2 by some other process is absurd and meaningless. Also, the state of the Martian atmosphere comes as a surprise to the explorers, yet somehow the ships's sensors are able to measure the atmospheric pressure as "865 millibars"...which is nearly the normal pressure on Earth...which should have been a clue that something odd was going on. Dramatically, the extraneous addition of the killer robot is merely synthetic "excitement" added to try to strenghten a lousy script. What a waste of effort to produce a movie that has already been pretty much forgotten.
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Red Planet [Blu-ray] (Sous-titres français) [Import]
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