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Red Planet

6 Ratings: 2.5
Science Fiction & Fantasy movie directed by Antony Hoffman

InRed Planet, the only thing thicker than the Martian atmosphere (which is breathable, by the way) is the layer of clichés that nearly smothers a formulaic beat-the-clock plot. Science fiction fans are sure to be forgiving, however, because the … see full wiki

Director: Antony Hoffman
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Release Date: November 10, 2000
1 review about Red Planet

Despite the scientific gaffes, it is tolerable science fiction

  • May 31, 2010
Rating:
+1
While there are some scientific gaffes in this exploratory science fiction thriller, the action, tension and suspense are just enough to overcome them. It is the middle of the twenty-first century and the human poisoning of the Earth has reached the tipping point, exceeding the capacity of the planet to compensate. Looking outward, a plan to terraform Mars by sending unmanned probes containing a special species of algae has been implemented. The algae are capable of living in the harsh Martian environment and as they flourish, they will release oxygen into the atmosphere. After decades, it is hoped that the oxygen levels will support human life on the surface.
Something has gone wrong with the plan and a small team is being sent to Mars to investigate. Theirs is the first trip by humans to Mars, so there are many unknowns. The level of technology available is very high, the main ship has a computer that can understand voice commands and there is some form of artificial gravity.
The trip out is rather dull as the crew bonds and establishes their social hierarchy that extends beyond that of command. However, when they arrive on Mars there is a massive (and unannounced) solar flare that forces everyone but the commander to abandon ship and make an emergency landing on Mars. Their landing is a rough one, the only oxygen they have is what is in their suits. This forces them to walk to an automated station where they hope to find replacement consumables.
To me, a scene that is meant to be funny is indicative of the scientific problems with this movie. After huddling overnight in the cold Martian air, each of the three men on the planet move away from camp to urinate. In the lower Martian gravity and air pressure, each man is capable of generating an impressively lengthy urine stream. The problem with this is that it was noted that the three men have no food or water. In such a situation, astronauts would never waste water by urinating on the ground. Their suits are enclosed environmental/survival units and would most certainly contain a mechanism whereby their urine would be recycled into drinking water.
However, the feature that I dislike most is that the vaunted technology constantly fails, the idea that a ship designed for interplanetary travel could so be easily taken out by a solar flare is absurd. Furthermore, the robot (mechanical dog) designed to explore and defend the astronauts goes into combat mode and plays deadly war games with the astronauts on the surface of Mars. The idea that there would not be a fail-safe emergency kill switch/code on the robot is also beyond belief. Nevertheless, the movie reached my level of tolerable science fiction entertainment.

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