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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Red Planet
Red Planet
Warner Bros. // PG-13
List Price: $12.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Chuck Arrington | posted April 29, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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RED PLANET

Synopsis:

I will admit that I am probably the only person that I know (aside from my wife) who seriously dug this movie! 2000 saw two Mars movies and two Mars movie flops as well. The ethereal Mission To Mars and the campy classic Red Planet. Where Mission to Mars took way too much of a serious turn in its presentation, Red Planet appeared to exploit the campiness of the genre and went for broke and in my opinion, it succeeded tremendously! The plot goes like this: The year is 2050 and the Earth has been overpopulated, over-abused and can no longer sustain life. Mars has been "seeded" by O2 creating algae for over twenty years and this trip to the Red Planet by a crew of fateful explorers is to determine the fruitfulness or lack of it thereof of Earth's collective intergalactic farming efforts. Upon entering Mars orbit, the crew of the vessel is besieged by an EMP of enormous power. So powerful in fact that it wipes out the ship's power cells and forces all save the captain of the vessel to abandon ship for the surface of Mars. The circuitry onboard the mother ship wasn't the only thing fried in the EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) as the crew soon finds out when their escape pod plummets uncontrollably to the planet surface. In an attempt to stabilize the vessel and control it's trajectory, the pilot (Benjamin Bratt) jettisons the base of the vessel, which carried not only their provisions but AMEE (A navigational robot with multiple functions and strengths) as well. The landing is none too smooth and the crew realizes they have less than 16-minutes left of breathable air. With no O2 available and no way back to the ship, the life expectancy of this mission is about 16 minutes or so. This is a seriously fun movie. Perhaps I lowered my expectations after having watched Mission to Mars, in any event, this film really impacted me. So much so that I watched it several times and what's even better, I enjoyed it each time I watched it! Anyway, the life of every living being on Earth is hinged upon the success of this mission and with 16-minutes left of oxygen, it doesn't look good! Regardless of what you may have heard, you owe it to yourself to see this movie. The only nudge I have against the film is the Spartan use of Terence Stamp. Other than his relative invisibility, the film accomplished its goals at entertaining me from start to finish.

Audio/Video:

the films' audio and video are both first rate efforts! The DD5.1 provided a great many thunderous moments in what definitely proved to be an aggressive soundtrack. The surround presence was excellent and the LFE rocked. There's no better way to put it. The dialogue was always clean and easily understood as well. Visually, the anamorphically enhanced widescreen presentation was spotless and sparkled with clarity. Even the smallest nuances like the lights on the gloves of the spacesuits were clearly delineated and presented a beautiful transfer effort in every regard.

Extras:

Here's where the ball got dropped. The only extras on this disc are a handful of deleted scenes that should have stayed on the cutting room floor. They lent nothing in the way of added information nor did the film benefit from their inclusion. It would have been nice to see a trailer or two but they didn't make it to the disc. There are no production stills or photos, isolated score or commentary tracks provided either. I know that Red Planet did particularly poorly at the box office, which is probably the reason for the lack of any real bonus information. A Special Edition isn't likely either so where did they leave all that good behind-the-scenes information and trailers and featurettes?

Overall:

I thoroughly enjoyed Red Planet! From start to finish, I found it to be a great Sci-Fi flick and am amazed at all the negative press. Sure, there are some unanswered questions but on the whole it felt like a 50's flick with all the gloss of 2000! I loved it and look forward to watching it over and over and over again! Do yourself a favor and check it out. Rent it first but it's a steal at $12-$14 which is where you'll find most price points on this film. Great ride with a lot of fun and well worth every penny! Recommended

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