Retrospective: Seeing Red: The Curse Of The Mars | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Retrospective: Seeing Red: The Curse Of The Mars

For more than a decade, any sci-fi genres that involves planet Mars are nothing more than a series of cursed box-office and/or critical disasters. With the exception of Paul Verhoeven's highly-successful TOTAL RECALL (1990), the rest of the major Hollywood's like-minded blockbusters didn't stood a chance. Not even the more recent outing of the mega-budget sci-fi epic of JOHN CARTER can break the jinx once and for all. As of now, the movie only grossed a disappointing $9.82 million in the opening day on Friday and looks poised to open the weekend with less than $30 million -- a terrible start for such movie that cost a hefty $250 million to make. It's really hard to believe though, considering all the superb talents involved in the production including one of Pixar's top directors, Andrew Stanton (A BUG'S LIFE, FINDING NEMO, WALL-E). You can read my review on JOHN CARTER here. Anyway, here are the list of the major Hollywood blockbusters that shared the similar fate like JOHN CARTER did.

Back in 2000, MISSION TO MARS was one of the highly-anticipated spring movie releases. It's easy to see why because it was a big-budget sci-fi epic directed by Brian De Palma that combined "the science of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY with the emotion of APOLLO 13", and boosted with a talented ensemble of Gary Sinise, Don Cheadle and Tim Robbins. Even the special effects by the Industrial Light and Magic is top-notch. So what's not to like? Unfortunately Brian De Palma was clearly out of his league here -- MISSION TO MARS was unbelievably boring and lack of urgency needed to sustain the viewers' interest.

Just so you know, 2000 was the banner year for sci-fi genre involving Mars. After the ill-fated response of MISSION TO MARS, the following attempt, RED PLANET suffered the similar fate. Even though the movie wasn't as boring as MISSION TO MARS, RED PLANET was pretty much a middling effort with less-than-stellar cast (Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss) while South African-born former commercial helmer Antony Hoffman's feature-length debut is lacking of certain visual flair to justify its $80 million budget tag.

On paper, JOHN CARPENTER'S GHOST OF MARS looked promising enough -- a sci-fi horror hybrid set in Mars. But what could be a then-comeback feature for famed cult director John Carpenter turned out to be a complete disaster after all. What we had here instead was a low-rent, B-grade fright flick. It wasn't particularly creepy or frightening at all. Even those so-called "Ghost of Mars" are just laughably bad pasty-faced ghouls resembled of someone like Marilyn Manson. Seriously? Is that supposed to scare the viewers?

Will the Mars-themed movie genre ever going to break the jinx one day? After the latest failure of JOHN CARTER, the next like-minded genre going to come to theaters soon on August is Len Wiseman's remake of TOTAL RECALL. Whether that movie going to be successful or not is anybody's guess for now.

No comments: