Red Planet (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|Oh, Jiminy. My dream come true. A
whole movie narrated. With an evil robot, Martian
dung-beetles, breathable Martian air, and a Mars with
exactly the same surface gravity as earth, as evidenced
by their walking! I mentioned only yesterday that
"Whipped" with 18/100 was the lowest score I
have ever seen from ApolloGuide users - this one scored
16/100! Critics scored it approximately equal to
Battlefield Earth (8% positive reviews overall for Red
Planet, 5% for Battlefield. From the elite group they
tied at 6%). Not only that, it cost more than Battlefield
Earth, and had a lower box office gross. How bad is that?
But best of all, if there's one thing I like better than vampire movies with a voice-over narration it's Mars movies with a voice-over. The handy narration saves us from having to endure any further pointless dialogue and flashbacks.
It starts something like this:
"I'm Carrie-Anne Moss, captain of the mission. My crew includes: the cliched reckless fly-boy (show him in frame), the cliched science officer disenchanted with science (cut to him - you get the idea), the evil guy I didn't want on the mission, the guy sexy enough for me to make out with, the all-powerful robot with no off switch which is capable of turning evil ..."
|Now, they obviously couldn't have her narrate the entire movie, could they? Oh, yes, they could. Here's how. The crew ends up on Mars while she is trapped in the orbiter. Therefore, she has to communicate back to Houston and tell them exactly what is going on. She is 40 minutes away by transmission time, so they can't respond immediately, so in order to communicate to Houston, she ends up describing the action from the surface and her orbiter into the communication device, and there's no response, and ........... hey, wait a minute - that's a voice-over! In keeping "Mission Control" apprised, she narrates the entire froggin' film!||
|Good thing, too, because if she hadn't
told us that Terence Stamp was the science officer, we
could never have guessed. We would have thought he was
the chaplain. This guy spoke in more parables than Jesus
and Buddha put together. For a while there I was looking
around for David Carradine to see if the little
grasshopper had absorbed the lessons yet. This could be
somewhat of a liability in a science officer.
"Commander, how many people can return to earth if we lose 43% of our power in 30 seconds?"
"Consider the man who comes first to a wedding, and knows not the way of peace. Is he not as the baby robin ......"
(Thirty seconds pass. They all die. All but one of them could have lived if he answered fast enough for the captain to make a decision.)
That science officer who was disenchanted with science certainly had good reason to be disenchanted with the science in this movie. In addition to the inexplicable matters mentioned above, and a geneticist who doesn't know the DNA alphabet (there are only four letters to memorize, A-G-T-C, but he gets one of them wrong) there are a few engineering problems. Here are some examples:
They encounter an old Russian Martian Lander, and NASA tells them that the guy who designed it is now running a deli in Brooklyn. I imagine many of the other engineers on this project were also shuttled to less taxing positions. Some of them were re-assigned from NASA in Florida to the project of designing the Florida voting procedure. And I believe some of them were the guys who designed the Corvair.
The 182 day flight to Mars was kind of cool. They have a really roomy spaceship with plenty of couches and poker tables and W.C. Fields posters, with a jogging track, and booze from a a homemade still, and a shower, and they all hung around and had some cute conversations, like an episode of Will and Grace in space.
Then they had the solar flare thing, and they weren't so charming any more.
Here is some sample dialogue:
This film was actually nominated for an award. I didn't make this up. The rest of this paragraph is straight fact according to the Gospel of IMDb: It was nominated for Best Song by the Las Vegas Film Critics Society for Peter Gabriel's "The Tower That Ate People". I only wish Sinatra were still alive to sing it for us in the main room at the Sands.
I wonder how many film critics they have in Las Vegas.
It is also now a contender for my prestigious Scoopy Award of "Biggest waste of human time and effort in any human project not involving Kevin Costner", nominated alongside The Thirteenth Warrior, Battlefield Earth, and the Crimean War.
The movie actually looks quite good except for the Martian surface. "Mars" looks like they just set up the cameras somewhere in the Middle East and pushed the camels out of the shot, then photographed through a gold filtered lens, which actually makes Mars the Brown Planet. But the space and onboard shots look rich. Might be enjoyable to watch with the sound turned off and a doob fired up.
|Actually, though, it
might be better if the movie looked like shite. If it was
made for a million, and looked like cowflop, it probably
would have turned a profit, and couldn't have lost much.
In real life, they spent $75 million to make this movie.
It took in $17 million domestic gross.
Personally, I'd say it's pretty much a perfect space movie except Dr Smith wasn't on the crew to do any evil plotting.
Danger, Will Robinson.
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