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Mission to Mars
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mission to Mars is a 2000 Brian DePalma-directed sci-fi movie about a team of astronauts in the year 2020 who land on Mars and make a profound discovery. Characters are in peril and there are a number of tense moments and several deaths. One of the astronauts is blown into pieces by a violent sandstorm. A later death scene in space (a character commits suicide to save the lives of others), might be too emotionally intense for some viewers. There is also some consumerism: M&M's, Dr. Pepper, and Kawasaki products are prominently displayed in important scenes. Profanity includes "son of a bitch," "damn," "goddamnit," "ass."
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What's the story?
MISSION TO MARS takes place in 2020. Don Cheadle plays an astronaut who leads a team to Mars to investigate the possibility of colonization. When a huge tunnel-like dust storm kills the rest of the team, and communication with the space station is cut off, four of his colleagues, played by Tim Robbins, Jerry O'Connell, Gary Sinese, and Connie Nielson, go on a rescue mission.
Is it any good?
This movie makes Close Encounters of the Third Kind seem like rocket science -- it even makes The Day the Earth Stood Still look like rocket science -- but the pictures are pretty.
Director Brian DePalma is known for movies that have two qualities: striking visual flair and frustrating narrative incoherence. If you are the kind of person who talks about the plot after seeing a movie, this is not your kind of movie. But if you would enjoy seeing an old-time Flash Gordon-style movie with 21st-century special effects and computer graphics, you just might want to see it twice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the choices made by the characters, including one who commits suicide to save the lives of others, and about the prospects of space exploration and colonization.
Science-fiction movies and novels have long been fascinated with the planet Mars. What are some other examples of movies and books set on Mars? Why do you think Mars arouses such curiosity and speculation?
What similarities do you see between this film and other science-fiction movies, most notably 2001?
- In theaters: March 10, 2000
- On DVD or streaming: June 4, 2002
- Cast: Don Cheadle, Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins
- Director: Brian De Palma
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Adventures, Robots, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi violence and mild language
Themes & Topics
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.