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Mission To Mars (2000)

tomatometer

25

Average Rating: 4.1/10
Reviews Counted: 110
Fresh: 27 | Rotten: 83

Beauty only goes skin deep in this shallow but visually stunning film.

14

Average Rating: 3.8/10
Critic Reviews: 28
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 24

Beauty only goes skin deep in this shallow but visually stunning film.

audience

30

liked it
Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 53,051

My Rating

Movie Info

Brian De Palma directed this science-fiction suspense story. When the United States sends its first manned mission to Mars, hopes are high for new scientific discoveries, but many of those hopes are dashed when the Mars crew meets an unexplained disaster; three members of the mission are killed, and a fourth (Don Cheadle) loses all radio contact with the Earth. A rescue mission sets out to bring back the one survivor; in the process, they discover that Mars may not be a dead planet after all,

Jun 4, 2002

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All Critics (127) | Top Critics (32) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (83) | DVD (12)

Despite a few breathtaking snapshots en route, it can't quite figure out the aesthetic itinerary -- where it's heading and why.

March 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It'll give you an enjoyable tour of the Red Planet, complete with some thrills and sharp computer effects.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Mission to Mars is sentimental, corny, and at times irredeemably campy.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Mainly coarsens 2001 in its mix of cosmic consciousness and 'naturalistic' product placement.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A film about space exploration that really knocks your eyes out.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This film is mind boggling and stupid, a derivative piece of doo-doo that's an embarrassment for all involved.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: CNN.com
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So-so sci-fi; may be too intense for some kids.

December 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Whatever's shoddy or limp about Mission to Mars, however conspicuous while the film unfolds, all becomes admirably pale as the full viewing experience recedes and the good stuff emerges in proud bas-relief.

July 14, 2009 Full Review Source: Nick's Flick Picks | Comments (2)
Nick's Flick Picks

Mission to Mars' redemptive coda opened the door for the subsequent film's continuing figurative and literal sanguinity.

August 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The race for the worst movie of the year is on!

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Typically, while a good screenplay only requires a single author, this unimaginative, derivative dreck required at least four, even with the massive cribbing from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

There's some throwaway fancy camerawork at the beginning and a repeat of his shock-shot trick from Raising Cain, but otherwise De Palma's own ride appears to be largely on autopilot.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

The too-many-cooks rule applies to this script, which borrows wantonly from sci-fi classics of the past.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

If Brian DePalma's Mission to Mars were a book, it would have a yellow cover and the title '2001 for Dummies.'

September 3, 2002 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

It's the waste of the impressive ensemble cast on cheap, pedestrian dialogue and a tabloid-style hypothesis of Martian civilization that makes this Mission impossible to watch.

June 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Bears the distinct imprint of helmer De Palma, still one of the best visualists to work in the action/adventure genre.

March 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

The film just doesn't offer anything new to the genre, so why bother making it?

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Silly, turgid and devoid of even the hints of original thinking, Mission to Mars is a testament to shameless creative theft.

October 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Flipside Movie Emporium
Flipside Movie Emporium

All I can really say for the film is this: they meant well.

April 2, 2001 Full Review Source: Needcoffee.com
Needcoffee.com

Avoid at all costs.

April 2, 2001 Full Review Source: Film Written Magazine
Film Written Magazine

I gave up on this barren mission before it ever left earth.

February 15, 2001 Full Review
Norman Transcript

The ensemble's performances are adequate.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

It may not make you ponder the meaning of Man's existence, but you should still be entertained.

January 1, 2000
Planet Sick-Boy

It's hardly an original movie ... But its cinematography is literally dizzying at times, proving that De Palma can still put on a good show even when his material isn't the freshest he might have found.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Audience Reviews for Mission To Mars

What a ridiculous pseudo-philosophical sci-fi that makes no sense. Morricone's score is beautiful as always, but the horrid script is utterly implausible and illogical, with a blatant disregard for details and coherence.
November 28, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

This was the first of two films released in 2000 that detailed trips to Mars. Incidentally, both movies were also quite poorly received by critics and audiences. Either people just had a hate for our neighboring planet, or we just coincidentally happened to get two similar bad films in the same year.

The kicker with this one is that there's a good and interesting concept and ideas going on, and talented people involved, but things end up being a big messy failure. I place some blame on Brian De Palma, whose direction seems really lazy , and the screenwriters, who deliver a poorly written script with way too much cribbing from many far better films. And then there's also the characters, who should be smart since they're scientists, but act really dumb and unprofessional.

I would like to say that the actors involved tried, since they are talents like Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle, and Tim Robbins, but even they seem to be sleeping through things, and failure to be all that compelling or interesting. At least Connie Nielsen is there to function (for straight men anyways) as a bit of eye candy.

Even for 2000, the special effects are laughably bad, and really undercut any credibility of the movie or the developments of the plot they are connected to It's hard to take any of this seriously, and it's painful to look at. Like I said though, the film does have a nice concept to it, which is as follows: man's first trip to Mars doesn't end well, so another team is sent to rescue any survivors and figure out what happened. When the second team arrives, they discover some startling revelations where humanity and life are concerned. Having seen this after seeing Prometheus, I can't enjoy this as much sicne both are quite similar, but not entirely the same. That film was at least better acted, well made, and actually had some excitement to it. This one is just boring and dull.

Since its De Palma, there is some decent camera work, and at least one trademark long take, but nothing all that great like in some of his other films. The only real thing that's without a doubt good is the score by Ennio Morricone. It's far from his best work, but it's still pretty good, and does save the movie from being a total failure. It's just too bad it's not associated with something better.

Despite his influence and skill, De Palma remains a real hit and miss director. I tried to give this one a chance, but I can easily see why this is clearly one of his worst.
November 14, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A disappointing '2001' wannabe concerning a group of astronauts (led by Gary Sinise) who venture to Mars to rescue the lone survivor (Don Cheadle) of the first manned mission, but discover that there may be more to the planet than meets the eye. What could have been a nice little sci-fi philosophical exercise such as the recent "Prometheus" is instead a bloated, bad melodrama which takes too long to get to its destination. Granted, de Palma's creation of Mars is certainly impressive, and there is the potential that this could turn into something great that makes you keep watching. Alas, that never happens, with an ending that feels like such a a hackjob, it will be sure to piss off many viewers at its conclusion.
July 25, 2012
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

As the end of the 20th Century came to a close, in the final year, we were given the first of two sci-fi films based on the planet Mars, this was the first released.

It kinda came across that these films were like a kind of beacon, a sign for the start of greater things to come, perhaps we would reach Mars very soon, perhaps what we were to see in these films would become reality...alas no, not yet.

Even with a musical score composed by the legend Morricone this film falls short and its such a shame, to be honest its not too bad but clearly tries to be an epic and simply can't fill those boots. The plot obviously is revolving around adventures on and orbiting Mars, you know exactly what to expect really, the dangers, the tone, the atmosphere, the look etc...you can see it coming a mile off but you look forward to it because its space adventure.

The problem is the film is desperately trying to be like '2001' in terms of grandeur in scale and visions but its just too plain, there is an obvious attempt to make it as real as possible but nothing looks exciting or new at the same time, its all rather dull looking. The effects are quite good with models and cgi in use (too much of course), good sets, nice Mars work etc...but there is nothing truly EPIC here, it almost looks like a TV movie at times.

Casting is good, you simply can't do a space film without Sinise haha you just can't, the man just makes it look so...real! The rest of the team are decent, sensible and not overblown but maybe too big for the roles, the usage of unknowns would have been better I think.

The score again like the film just doesn't quite hit the mark in my opinion, Morricone is the man and his work here is good for sure but is it me or does it sound a bit too close to his 'Untouchables' score? everytime it played I just kept thinking of 'The Untouchables'. As for the rest of the score its unusual and simply doesn't work, emotional scenes are ruined by a quite odd and poor choice in music which totally takes you out of the moment, the film may be inspired by a Disney ride but there's no need to make it sound like a Disney kiddie film.

The whole film seems a tad rushed really, the plot jumps from one section to another not even showing the launches from earth or much travel, sure there are time constraints but maybe make the film a bit longer and add some realism or filler? characters are fleshed out mostly in flashbacks which mean nothing really, dialog is really cheesy which equals some pretty wooden/hokey acting from even Sinise! hehe.
Add to that a rather dodgy looking cgi alien, a basic plot finale which was sort of an anti-climax and tries a bit to hard to do the 'E.T.' thing with your emotions but kinda fails and then a very blunt flat ending. Enjoyable film which tries its best to really be something special but isn't, the better of the two Mars films, the more sensible one (the 'Deep Impact' of the two ;) )
March 12, 2012
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

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