The Martian Chronicles
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I've a soft spot for this one, having watched it the first time around in 1980 (which is when it reached the UK). No doubt that it's the power of Ray Bradbury's original stories that carries it.
In a sense, you've got to switch off your brain to enjoy this. Or perhaps I should say you should switch of your Left Brain: the logical, analytical part. For example, we all know now that people can't breathe on the surface of Mars without space suits. Let it go! If you can't do that then don't bother with this DVD. Switch on your Right Brain (imagination) and you've a chance of enjoying this... just a chance though!
First, let's get the bad stuff out of the way. The special effects are bad. I know that they didn't have CGI etc then, but this was 2 years after Star Wars, or in a TV sense, a year after Battlestar Galactica. I'd have expected a major US network to have at least bettered Dr Who or Blake's 7 standards; but they didn't.
The pace is very slow. Sometimes that lets the stories unfold at a natural pace, but a lot of the time, you're tapping your fingers, thinking "get on with it!". In this regard, Bradbury was scathing in his comments at the time: "it's boring, they've made it boring", he said. And he had no doubt where the blame lay, saying that Michael Anderson had directed it "underwater". He wasn't wrong.
And often, the acting doesn't help. Rock Hudson has never been the most exciting actor in the world, and he's particularly dull here. Sure, he does integrity and trustworthiness just fine, but there were times that I felt his character needed a little more fire in his belly and Hudson doesn't provide it. The rest of the cast is variable, to put it mildy.Read more ›
Some of the sequences simply don't work. I always fast-forward through the endless scenes of the two priests wandering in the desert looking for glowing spheres; and the "Genevieve Selsor" sequence with Bernadette Peters is uninteresting as well. But the adaptation of "And the Moon Be Still As Bright," with Bernie Casey indelible as Spender, still works. In a later segment, Wilder's nighttime meeting with a ghostly Martian from the past (or future?) retains an elegiac tone, and provides a pretty good manifesto on how life ought to be lived. Elsewhere, there's a sand-ship chase sequence that looks cheesy, but those spooky zoom shots of the masked Martians as they pursue Sam Parkhill still unnerve me. Parkhill's discovery of nuclear war on Earth -- viewed through a telescope -- is a memorable moment, powerfully scored. And the "second expedition" sequence, with the astronauts somehow finding themselves in Green Bluff, Illinois, rather than on Mars, reaches a climax that is still downright frightening.
It's hard to say how much of the miniseries I am viewing through the lens of nostalgia -- I am, perhaps, being more forgiving than it deserves. But to those seeking offbeat sci-fi offerings, this is worth a look.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a copy of the original unedited three-part mini-series, duplicated in EP mode.The running time is 296 minutes.Published 2 months ago by rsoonsa
This is one of those movies that you watch and say to yourself, "boy that was a cheezy,, low budget, sometimes poorly acted movie
but gee, I loved it. Read more
Some may think this adaptation is a little on the slow(boring side),but I love this version.Published 8 months ago by harland sylling
I will get right to the point here:
IF you are a purist and love the book the way it was originally conceived and published by Bradbury then this DVD miniseries will not... Read more
Another had to have for the avid Sci-Fi fan. Very entertaining. I loved it.Published 12 months ago by Roy
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