Mission to Mars
(Okay, this is another one of those movies you can only review if you want to talk about how cool the rotating space ship looks or the aesthetic qualities of Gary Sinise's hair. So, SPOILER ALERT! That being said, I'll try not to give away anything really important.)
Tim Robbins dies.
How do we know this before the film starts? Well, first of all, you never see him on the planet in the trailers. Second of all, he's given one of those credits where his name doesn't appear until the end of the major stars and then it says: "and Tim Robbins." It should say: "and Tim Robbins... who dies." This makes "Mission to Mars" resemble an episode of "South Park" as we wait around to see how Commander Woody Blake finally bites it, then think to ourselves: "They killed Timmy!"
Watching this film, director Brian De Palma reminded me of that dog you leave at home for too long. He's all happy with his plot in life -- sleeping -- and then his master comes home and he pees all over himself with glee. This is "Mission to Mars" -- the plot makes sense until the end, when De Palma, desperate for a quick resolution that explains everything and satisfies the stupid audience -- pees all over himself. He seems to get the whole going to Mars thing pretty well, as he should. But get to the end, and suddenly it's space aliens with super powers who can't seem to stop an asteroid from hitting their planet but yet fly across the galaxy in their fleet of space ships.
I bet this was pitched to the studio as "2001 with an ending that explains everything." You know, if God were masquerading on earth as Regis Philbin, is that something you'd really want to know? Some things are better left unknown, and the ending of "Mission to Mars" is one of them. In fact, it's probably best not to see the movie at all.
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