Christmas on Mars Reviews

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Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2011
This could've used some editing. And some acting. There are some great (budget) visuals, and disturbing, creepy atmosphere, but nothing else worth mentioning. It's the type of film one should watch high in order to enjoy it to it's fullest. Unfortunately, I was stone sober and this movie was pretty much a challenge to sit through.
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2009
I love the Flaming Lips and I am a huge fan of Wayne Coyne in general. That's what got me to watch this movie and actually made me finish watching this movie out of pure respect. There are some really funny cursing moments in the film which is why I give it a couple of stars. Otherwise, the whole culminates with a scene that includes a marching band whose heads are made of vaginas (I am not shitting you) who are crushing a crying baby. Look, I appreciate art and all that and there is probably a ton of stuff that I don't get because you have to listen to The Soft Bulletin backwards or something, but either way, if you enjoy half the shit that goes on the stage at his concerts and don't mind black and white, be my guest. Fred Armisan is fucking hilarious, though.
Super Reviewer
½ June 5, 2010
haha, oh the Flaming Lips, we love you.
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2009
It really has that cheesy 50s-60s sci-fi film feel, with all the purposefully cheap sets, and (possibly purposeful) bad acting. You also have that snail's pace that is common of the sub-genre, but within the slow movement you actually have some serious mood being built. The film is shrouded in a heavy, creepy, and dreamlike feel that really sucks you in.
It's no Kubrick, but it's still one heck of an experiment.
December 23, 2011
Wayne Coyne, the front man and leader of the alternative rock group The Flaming Lips, directs and stars (along with his fellow bandmates and other friends) in this experimental, sci-fi/fantasy, 50s Sc-Fi Homage, semi-Christmas tale. On Christmas Eve on a base on Mars, many of the Crew are starting to lose their grasp on equipment is failing and the first baby on Mars is on the verge of being born...its a stressful time when the Alien Super Being arrives to help things just a little. It is an interesting movie, sometimes it is better than other times...but if you are a fan of the band or experimental stuff like David Lynch, you may find something charming about this DIY movie made over the course of 8 years.
½ December 25, 2012
I make films for fun, so can appreciate when my favourite band on the planet makes a film that it won't be the best thing they do. However, Christmas on Mars surpasses that, and very much captures the essence of the band, great message, honest endeavour, innovation, and a home made ego free charm. What this lacks is broader than fan base appeal, and I'm talking about fans that copied Mushroom tapes to tape..., tried to dye their hair orange with tangerine peel and have a stock of fake blood, just in case. Saddos, like me. 679 people have rated this film to date, and to those people I can say, I can make a better film technically, but this is not about technique, its about the Flaming Lips and the fact that they don't know when to stop, god bless 'em.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
½ November 9, 2011
This could've used some editing. And some acting. There are some great (budget) visuals, and disturbing, creepy atmosphere, but nothing else worth mentioning. It's the type of film one should watch high in order to enjoy it to it's fullest. Unfortunately, I was stone sober and this movie was pretty much a challenge to sit through.
September 16, 2011
I love The Flaming Lips, but I was not expecting this to work for me at all. Pleasantly surprisingly, it mostly did. A surreal slice-of-life-on-Mars with an appropriately nebulous plot, cool monochrome cinematography, and actually rather perfect pacing. Its amateur deliveries and ragtag production values and underdeveloped philosophical ambitions and explicit old-school psychedelia may not endear everyone, but there's some genuinely decent psychological science-fiction in here. I think fans of Dark Star should enjoy this also?
January 30, 2010
I guess it was supposed to be a cool independent film, about living on mars; and I thought from hearing about it on TV, that it was going to be a serious drama.....
but it just tried to turn itself into a funny off-beat comedy with some stupid-ass sub plot about some totally fake looking martian; and a full metal jacket type military guy yelling at him for wanting to dress up like Santa Clause? or something? Yeah, it just missed what it what trying to accomplish, I guess.
½ February 2, 2009
[font=Times New Roman][size=4]2008 US Directors: Wayne Coyne & Bradley Beesley[/size][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][size=4]Score: 7[/size][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][size=4] Watching this movie I was immediately reminded of the original Soviet production of ?Solaris?. The plot was not as strong, or cohesive, nor the acting, but there was that similar feel to it. Despite its independent budget level effects and shaky at times performances, this one did keep me entertained and interested to see what bizarre situation would unfold next. I don?t think I would bother adding it to my collection (unless it were a gift from a friend or something) but I do think it is worth a viewing, especially if you are a fan of quirky independent Science Fiction, this is your film.[/size][/font]

[font=Times New Roman][size=4] [/size][/font]

[font='Times New Roman'][size=4]Notes: GV-XL-FN Suggested Age: 16+[/size][/font]
December 7, 2008
Christmas on Mars
directed by Wayne Coyne, Bradley Beesley, George Salisbury
written by Wayne Coyne
starring Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd, Steve Burns, Fred Arminsen, Scott Booker, Adam Goldberg, Michael Ivins, Michelle Martin-Coyne, Jimmy Pike, Kliph Scurlock

Alright, this is obviously not meant to be a standard issue cinematic bedbug. It isn?t space, it isn?t even the spaces between words that make up their own coherent language. Indeed, it?s nearly impossible to say exactly what the hell is going on here but it certainly is stimulating to put it mildly.

The brainchild of Oklahoma?s The Flaming Lips and seven years in the making, this is a jarring, mesmeric, lunatic ride into the outer recesses of cosmic mind. As it goes it tells the story of a space station on Mars where everything seems to be breaking down. These men and one woman are facing the very real prospect that it?s all going to end and very soon. One of them, Major Syrtis (Drozd) has started to hallucinate which puts a crimp in his simple plan to put together a Christmas pageant for his fellow space travelers. Unfortunately, his Santa goes mad and promptly offs himself leaving him with the dire task of finding someone to take his place. Meanwhile an odd Martian like creature has wandered into the story and he seems mostly inquisitive and uncommunicative. Soon, Syrtis is leading him off and primping him to become the new Santa.

So, the special effects in this thing are quite astounding. Although there isn?t a clear demonstration of the relationships between buildings so we never really know where we are, the look of the film holds our interests throughout. Mostly it?s a group of men fiddling with knobs and wires and looking off forlornly into the distance. There is a bit of dialog about how mankind was never meant to conquer space which suggests a lamentation over the mission that has left these soldiers of the depths to float about aimlessly. The major plot point here however is the birth of a child which is presented as a major event on Mars since it is to be the first one of its kind. The mother (Martin-Coyne) sits around sexily in her underwear and feeds the fetus from a nifty device coming out of her stomach. Then she beams wildly and the film goes back to show the terminal essence of the crew?s psychological state.

The music is really something to hear in this film. It?s mostly low-fi ambient or freakout noise and/or industrial that throbs for the duration of the picture. Some of it is exceedingly jarring and truly hard around the edges. Distortion of visuals and aural elements add to the wacked out aesthetics that make up so much of the film?s content. This isn?t supposed to be a straightforward narrative with easy plot developments and characters who do decidedly predictable things. It?s not supposed to make sense in the traditional manner and in fact, it doesn?t whatsoever. Instead it leaves the impression of the terror of vastness and seeming impossibility. The film suggests that societal walls and limitations prevent most of the population from completely losing their minds. In space there are no such guardrails and the result can be an absolute break with reality. Sytris experiences grave doubt and by looking to deeply into the void, his synapses have snapped and he begins to live in a decidedly alternative universe. He hallucinates a strange being holding a dead baby and it troubles him greatly. He goes to the psychologist (Goldberg) and learns of other hallucinations including a marching band with rather intimate body parts for heads.

The film feel like a strange new drug and it stays with a person long after the final credit has rolled. The crisp black and white is occasionally punctuated with vibrant color that signifies that something extraordinarily significant is being displayed. But it is all about the baby and whether or not it will be born at all. There are several images which portent a grisly end and the entire film seems to present a giddy hope for the new arrival. For all of the space station maintenance that is taking place, there is truly only the belief that the baby will be born and a new spirit of possibility will be ushered in. This is what these people actually need more than anything. They need to believe in something that means something on a colossal scale, something that resonates throughout space and crosses all boundaries of time as well. This baby is exceedingly important for everyone involved and everything is subservient to the urgency with which this pregnancy is monitored.

Some of the astronauts handle their dilemma by shutting down their emotions. Others, sing Christmas carols (Armisen) to remind themselves that Christmas is a real thing that they can rely on to remind themselves of the normalcy of life as it is lived in many parts of the globe. Christmas becomes a great symbol which means hope, continuance, prosperity, and goodwill. It becomes a specter that haunts every facet of this film and is directly tied in with the birth of the child. Is this supposed to be like Jesus considering how he apparently was born from a virgin birth and the baby in this film is hatched outside of the womb entirely? Perhaps there is a link but perhaps not. What matters is that the child is seen as a symbol in and of itself. It means something much grander than its mere existence. It has been imbued with truth, light, and every other elevated sentiment that mankind attaches to things that take on religious significance.

Overall, this film capsizes expectations and thrills the senses with a diabolical potion of strange and unearthly delights. It?s cosmic in scope and asks questions about the nature of existence, mankind?s relationship to space, and the fears and expectations which are transferred to the potentiality of nothingness, the dead silence of eternal space. It?s a poem about madness and the tenuous grip most of us have on our own sanity. Perhaps it?s none of these and merely a nice collection of pretty pictures and loud, visceral sound notes that probably scare a lot of people who have never become intricate with such matters.
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