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"Red Planet" - {Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Brothers
Genre:
Sci-Fi
Release Date:
July 26, 2011
Special Features:

See Below

Review:

In 2000 there were two competing films about a trip to Mars "Red Planet" and "Mission to Mars".***

Of the two films only "Red Planet" was a good movie and,unfortunately, it was released in the wake of the disasterous "Mission to Mars" which tainted "Red Planet". If you add in the lukewarm critical reviews at the time "Red Planet" found itself playing in theaters as empty and lifeless as the planet itself. That's a pity because the characters while they aren't the deepest have enough depth to make us want to root for them AND the visual effects, plot twists are interesting enough to keep us interested.***

Although some of the CGI has dated a bit that doesn't stop "Red Planet" from being an entertaining variation on "Robinson Crusoe on Mars". Although some of the plot twists aren't always quite believable the film manages to throw a couple of interesting twists our way that keep it entertaining.***

Summary of Plot:

A team of astronauts are sent to Mars to find out why the automated terraforming has failed on the Red Planet. Mars has become humanity's last hope as we've done a pretty darn good job of runing OUR planet. Along the way Gallagher (Val Kilmer)the "janitor", Burchenal (Tom Sizemore) the mission biologist, Santen (Benjamin Bratt), Chantilas (Terrence Stamp) and Pettengil (Simon Baker) the mission terraformer uncover the mystery when everyone but the commander are stranded on the surface. Their commander Bowman (a tip of the hat to "2001: A Space Odyssey") played by Carrie Anne-Moss must figure out a way to get her crew back up to the ship to return to Earth. To complicate matters their robotic device adapted from a Marine hunter drone has somehow become damaged and is hunting them.***

Image & sound:

The Blu-ray release from Warner (part of a slew of recent catalog titles)looks extremely good with nice detail, depth and texture to the image. Over all this is an extremely nice looking transfer with bold, solid colors and fine detail.*** The lossless audio sounds terrific with interesting surround activity particularly during the action sequences in the film.***

Special Features:

The extras are a bit underwhelming--we get eight deleted scenes and the original theatrical trailer provided in standard definition ported over from the previous edition. I don't know what happened to director Antony Hoffman (he doesn't have any other credits listed at IMDB and I'm assuming he returned to directing commericals)but it would have been nice to have him along for the ride to the Red Planet for some color commentary about the making of the movie.***

Final Words:

This was post-"The Matrix" for Moss and post "Batman Forever" for Kilmer so I'm sure the director might have had some interesting stories to tell about the two actors as their stars briefly soared in the wake of these popular films. After this Kilmer's star would falter until his marvelous supporting role in "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" brought him to the public's attention again.***

While "Red Planet" has some structural problems it remains entertaining and involving. The transfer looks extremely nice and while the extras are a bit on the slim side, it's the movie itself that ultimately matters.***

 

 
 
 
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