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Mission To Mars

3.5 out of 5 stars 595 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From the director of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE comes the thrilling, eye-popping science fiction adventure MISSION TO MARS -- starring Gary Sinise (SNAKE EYES) and Tim Robbins (AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME). The year is 2020, and the first manned mission to Mars, commanded by Luke Graham (Don Cheadle, OUT OF SIGHT), lands safely on the red planet. But the Martian landscape harbors a bizarre and shocking secret that leads to a mysterious disaster so catastrophic, it decimates the crew. Haunted by a cryptic last message from Graham, NASA launches the Mars Recovery Mission to investigate and bring back survivors -- if there are any. Confronted with nearly insurmountable dangers, but propelled by deep friendship, the team finally lands on Mars and makes a discovery so amazing, it takes your breath away. MISSION TO MARS is an action-packed rocket ride that will enthrall you with its stunning special effects and keep you on the edge of your seat.

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If Brian De Palma directed Mission to Mars for 10-year-olds who've never seen a science fiction film, he can be credited for crafting a marginally successful adventure. Isolated moments in this film serve the highest purpose of its genre, inspiring a sense of wonder and awe in the context of a fascinating future (specifically, the year 2020). But because most of us have seen a lot of science fiction films, it's impossible to ignore this one's derivative plot, cardboard characters, and drearily dumb dialogue. Despite an awesome and painstakingly authentic display of cool technology and dazzling special effects, Mission to Mars is light years away from 2001: A Space Odyssey on the scale of human intelligence.

After dispensing with a few space-jockey clichés, the movie focuses on a Mars-bound rescue mission commanded by Jim McConnell (Gary Sinise), whose team (Tim Robbins, Connie Nielsen, Jerry O'Connell) has been sent to retrieve the sole survivor (Don Cheadle) of a tragic Mars landing. During the sequence en route to Mars, De Palma's in his element with two suspenseful scenes (including a dramatic--albeit somewhat silly--space walk) that are technically impressive. But when this Mission gets to Mars, the movie grows increasingly unconvincing, finally arriving at an alien encounter that more closely resembles an astronomical CGI video game. But this is a $75 million Hollywood movie, and no amount of technical wizardry can lift the burden of a juvenile screenplay. Kudos to Sinise, his costars, and the special effects wizards for making the most of hoary material; shame on just about everyone else involved. --Jeff Shannon


Special Features

Audio Commentary|Animatics To Scene Comparison|Documentary: "Visions Of Mars"|Visual Effects Analyses|Production Art Gallery|Theatrical Trailer|DVD -ROM|Production Art Gallery

Product Details

  • Actors: Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, Connie Nielsen, Jerry O'Connell
  • Directors: Brian De Palma
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 4, 2002
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (595 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CWU3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,482 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mission To Mars" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JOHN P. HANSSEN on May 16, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
You would think that the movie being reviewed here was a lame 50's or 70's B movie entitle "Attack of the Killer Blonde Bimbos" or something to that effect. I recently got a chance to view this entire film the other night and all I've got to say is "Man! This is a valuable lesson of not listening to the negative reviews before getting a chance to see the movie!! And, sad to say, this is exactly what kept me from seeing this movie for so long. I made the mistake of listening to all the negative ink about it. I can guarantee you that you will find this film at least very likable. The story is good and so is the acting, even though there may be a couple of hokey parts in the film. Most of it, though, is highly enjoyable and VERY believable. This has to be one best, as well as underrated, sci-fi films ever made. Definitely worth at least one viewing and definitely better than "Red Planet"!
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Format: DVD
After having viewed the film at a cinema during its initial release, I purchased the DVD when it became available. I enjoyed the acting, the characters, the CGI, the music and the story. In short, I was entertained. Others have chosen to provide harsh comments. Personally, I enjoyed the film. I happen to be a science-fiction author and I like a good story. Mission to Mars provided that. I don't think Brian De Palma was trying to do anything more than entertain in an appealing way. As far as this reviewer is concerned, he succeeded.
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Format: DVD
Possibly the best near-future space exploration epic ever filmed, surpassing even such quality fare as "Stranded" and "2001" & "2010". Realistic and believable and fairly technical, but unlike too many skeptics-concious current science fiction, not afraid to dream big and speculate grand. Top-notch performances all around and oustanding technical aspects, plus superior characterization in a genre that sometimes seems to feel it has to make its players either cold and cynical or cocky and beligerent to be believable. Gripping from the start, with a fantastic finale, "Mission To Mars" is likely to awaken a curiousity for space, a sense of wonder and adventure, and an appreciation for the night sky in even the most jaded and disinterested hearts.
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Format: DVD
Brian De Palma's "Mission to Mars" is one of the most frequently slammed films of all time. I believe there is a psychology behind this that is rooted in the "herd mentality." Yet I also acknowledge that some of the harsh criticism is a visceral reaction by people...I know because we first saw it in the movie theater and my wife (a former college professor) had the same kind of negative reaction. In fact, I remember being somewhat angry because that almost ruined it for me.

Since then I have had a chance to view this marvelous film many times (by myself!). I keep hearing the words "cliche-ridden" and "derivative." But what movie ISN'T cliche-ridden and derivative? When it comes to dialogue, isn't most human conversation full of cliches and sound bytes? Yes, people really do talk like this. The truth of the matter is that people don't talk the way that actors do in movies. In reality, the conversation in "Mission to Mars" is probably more realistic than in other movies for that reason.

On the point of being derivative, that's one of the plot points that I believe is a positive. Obviously parts of the film are derivative of Ron Howard's Apollo 13, but what people tend to forget is that Apollo 13 really happened. Don't blame De Palma for the fact that space travel can be dangerous. What do you do when you have car trouble in outer space? And consider the fact that most unmanned missions to Mars have been failures. The "disaster" aspect of Mission to Mars was brilliant and well executed, particularly with regard to the micro-meteorites. The scene where the camera pans back to show us how badly damaged the propellant tanks were is absolutely chilling. Tim Robbins' character was not allowed to fully investigate because of the time window and angle for reentry.
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This is a great film despite what the critics say. Gary Sinise puts in a good performance as the washed out astronaut Jim McConnell who heads a rescue team to Mars after the mysterious death of three of the four astronauts already on the planet. Okay, so this quite is a slow moving film but it has superb special effects, pretty good acting, and a great cast all round. The plot isn't too complicated either; it follows the rescuers as they head for Mars and the trials and tribulations they face on the long and monotonous journey to the Red Planet. There is a fantastic space walk scene with Tim Robbins, some fun moments in the form of a "perfect" woman's DNA made entirely of sweets, and the occasional gruesome part such as the freezing to death of Tim Robbins character when he commits suicide outside the space craft in order to save his wife and crew. The rescue mission has now become a fight for survival for the three remaining astronauts who finally land on the Red Planet after loosing most of their space ship to a fuel leak. They do however find the only survivor of the previous expedition played brilliantly by Don Cheadle who has gone "native" for want of a better description. Together the four astronauts try to find out what killed Cheadle's friends and in doing so come across Mars incredible secret; once long ago Mars was inhabited, and its legacy lies deep underground, but earlier disturbance by Cheadle and his now dead companions (look out for the great whirlwind that effect that wipes out the first expedition) has bought it to the surface and it is a gigantic carving of humanoid looking face. It is this face that will led the Astronauts to the most breathtaking discovery of all; the origin of life on earth.Read more ›
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