Monday, May 12, 2008

Weekend Assignment # 215: Everyone's a critic

For this week's assignment we have to review a movie. One that is neither our favorite, nor something we completely hate. I thought this would be hard for me. I only own movies on DVD that I really like, and I didn't I'd have a chance to see something else. I got lucky, though. I took the kids to my mom's house after schooll; they went into my old bedroom to watch TV, and my mom fell asleep on the couch. So, I flipped through the channels and came across Red Planet. Sometime things work out.

Go to Karen's site and see what other people reviewed.

Weekend Assignment #215: Review a film. Any film. Got something interesting to say about Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery (1903)? I'd love to read it. Metropolis (1927)? Why not? A Night in Casablanca (1946)? Fine. The Seventh Seal (1957)? Er, okay! Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)? You'll get away with it. Speed Racer (2008)? Go for it. From Hollywood to Ballywood to Hong Kong, from Kubrick to Kurasawa, it's all on the W.A. marquee. But there's one catch: the film should not be on your personal list of favorites; nor should it be a film you despise.

A team of scientists are heading to Mars because Earth is dying. It stars Val Kilmer, Carrie-Ann Moss, Tom Sizemore, and Benjiman Bratt. There are a few more people on the ship, but they are not very important.

As the ship is entering orbit around Mars, a solar flare hits them and fries up most of the ships systems. You would think they would plan for such a thing. So, they have to send the the lander down to the surface a little earlier than planned, and leave Commander Bowman (Moss) behinds in the main ship.

The landing does not go well. They have to jettison the landing gear since they are off target and will land in some rocky terrain. They have a back-up plan. The lander has air bags that surround the entire ship. The land hard and end up bouncing down a very deep crevass. One of the guys is hurt bad. He is left behind to die while they head for a shelter that was sent out years ahead of them. I should also mention that algae, and other oxygen-producing life was sent out ahead, too. There is no sign of it though.

They walk to the shelter and find it in ruins. It was supposed to survive and F-5 tornado; they determine it wasn't a dust storm that knocked it out. Bratt's character goes over to look at the view, since they won't be able to leave, and is accidentally pushed off the cliff by Pettengill, played by Simon Baker. The remaining three, Burchenal (Sizemore), Gallagher (Kilmer), and Pettengill are running out of oxygen, until Gallagher takes off his helmet and discovers they can breathe. Somehow there is oxygen, but no algae.

As they camp for the night the robot that was on board the lander, but jettisoned with the landing gear, finds them and ends up going into military mode and beating up one of the guys. I'm not sure why a robot on a science mission would need a fighting mode, they must have needed an extra sub-plot.

The robot lets them get away, to hunt them later, and they set off to find a possible landing sight from an old rover to get it's radio so they can communicate with Bowman. They find it and get in touch with her and she tells them of an old Russian lander that should be 100 kilometers away. They still have no water at this point; I'm not sure how they can do it. The plan is to get to it and launch that up to the ship orbiting the planet. Easier said than done.

On the way to the ship a huge ice storm comes, they take shelter, Pettengill runs off with the radio and is taken out by the robot, and they find bugs. Weird little bugs that ate the algae and produce oxygen. Unfortunately for Burchenal, they also like people as food. He ends up torching himself, and a lot of the bugs so Gallagher can get away.

Finally, Gallagher makes it to the ship, but finds out the battery is dead. So close! He gives up and Bowman is about to leave until the robot shows up. He wastes the robot, takes it's battery and launches up to the ship. And runs out of oxygen.

Bowman isn't going to give up, so she goes EVA to bring the Russian craft into their ship and manages to revive him. They head back to Earth with a sample of the bugs, hoping they are the key to saving Earth. Phew.

It wasn't a great movie, but it had some interesting parts. I found it funny that they were bashing Russian technology when everything they brought had failed. If you like space mission movies it is worth checking out.

Extra Credit: Is there a film due out this summer that you plan to go see? If so, what is it?

I want to see the new Indiana Jones movie, and maybe the X-Files movie. We'll see what I actually get to see.


Florinda said...

Glad you found something to review. It can be hard to get to the movies when you have young kids (unless it's a kid-oriented movie, that is).

I'm waiting till I see a trailer or two before I decide about the X-Files movie. I'm pretty iffy about it, considering the last one...

Mike said...

Florinda: There is a trailer out there for the new X-Files. I can't link to it from work (lame) but it is ok youtube. Looks interesting.

Karen Funk Blocher said...

You did fine with this - better than the filmmakers, it seems. It sounds like a combination of Forbidden Planet, The Martian Chronicles and Lost in Space - with the good parts left out!

Mike said...

Karen: Yeah, you summed it up pretty well. The thing is, it could have been good if they tried a little harder. I think the felt more action was needed to make it interesting.

Carly said...

Sounds like an interesting film. Maybe I will give it a try sometime. Alan and I have been debating, and we finally decided last night to see the upcoming film, "The Happening." Heard of it? It is the latest from M. Night Shyamalan. He's one of my favorite directors. :) Should be a good summer movie.

Always, Carly

Mike said...

Carly: I heard about that movie. The problem is, when I hear the title I think of 'What's Happening'. Not a good show. :)

Kiva said...

I started to watch the Red Planet, but gave up. At least you made it through! I'm like you. I see most of the newer movies on pay-per-view or when it comes out on DVD.

Have fun seeing Indie & the X-files. I'm going over to Youtube to see the trailer now.

Mike said...

Kiva: I stuck with it hoping it would get better. Then, when I realized it wasn't, I decidede to watch to see how bad it would get. :)