MISSION TO MARS. Noteworthy but underrated science fiction

In 2020, a spacecraft embarks on a journey to Mars for the first time.

Krzysztof Walecki

24 December 2023

MISSION TO MARS. Noteworthy but underrated science fiction

The mission commander is Luke Graham (Don Cheadle), although initially, his best friend, the experienced Jim McConnell (Gary Sinise), was supposed to lead. However, Jim suffered a mental breakdown after the death of his wife.

Thirteen months after launch, a strange accident occurs on the red planet, resulting in the death of almost the entire crew. The last message sent by Luke was very mysterious, and mainly for this reason, orders are issued to launch a rescue mission. An expedition consisting of four individuals, Woody Blake (Tim Robbins), his wife Terri (Connie Nielsen), youngster Phil Ohlmyer (Jerry O’Connell), and Jim, sets out to help. Their success depends not only on their experience but also on how they cope with extreme and very dangerous conditions. And there will be no shortage of them during the Mission to Mars.

Mission to Mars

Some time ago, we had the opportunity to see Anthony Hoffman’s Red Planet, and John Carpenter’s science fiction horror, Ghosts Of Mars. However, before these two films, Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars was created. A film worth attention, although ridiculed by most viewers. The reason for such a reaction was essentially one – the ending, which disappointed even the biggest science fiction enthusiasts. I’ll quote my friend here, who stated that “if it weren’t for that ending, people would talk about an ambitious yet unsuccessful project, but it’s essential that the director tried… and now we have something silly.”

Mission to Mars Connie Nielsen

Such opinions are most common, although there are also favorable reviews of this film directed by the excellent specialist in intricate plots and ingenious technical solutions, Brian De Palma. In his filmography, one can distinguish magnificent works such as Carrie, The Untouchables, Casualties of War or Mission: Impossible and Snake Eyes. The cast includes Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins, and Connie Nielsen. The first of this group is a recognized theater and film actor, with his most famous films being Forrest Gump by Robert Zemeckis, Apollo 13 by Ron Howard, and the aforementioned Snake Eyes by De Palma. Robbins, on the other hand, is primarily a comedic actor (The Hudsucker Proxy by the Coen brothers), although he does not shy away from dramatic repertoire (The Shawshank Redemption by Frank Darabont), and occasionally directs something himself (Dead Man Walking). Nielsen is known from The Devil’s Advocate by Taylor Hackford and the Oscar-winning Gladiator by Ridley Scott.

Mission to Mars

Earlier, I mentioned that Mission to Mars is noteworthy but underrated. I’ll add more – I liked the film. Of course, it falls far short of a masterpiece, but the effort of the creators did not go in vain. We have excellent special effects, decent main roles, and good pacing. It’s also worth mentioning Ennio Morricone’s masterful music – especially in the scene of searching for the hole (those who have seen it know what I’m talking about). However, the ending does not fit the earlier adventures of the characters at all, although it could have been much worse. At the end of the screening, we can only wonder what filmmakers will come up with if all ideas about Mars are exhausted – will they shoot Mission to Venus?