Mission to Mars

  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

Common Sense Media says

So-so sci-fi; may be too intense for some kids.
  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 114 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Profound themes on humanity's relationship to the universe. 

Positive role models

While the characters generally display the typical attributes of "flyboy" astronaut or Air Force heroes commonly seen in action movies, characters also display values of sacrifice and dedication to their crew, and perhaps humanity as a whole. 

Violence & scariness

Characters in peril, some killed. An astronaut is blown into pieces from a violent sandstorm. Weightless blood from a head injury in a spaceship. 

Sexy stuff

Kissing, mild sexual insinuations. 

Language

Occasional profanity: "Son of a b--ch," "damn," "G-ddamnit," "ass." 

Consumerism

M&Ms and Dr. Pepper products are prominently shown in two important scenes in the film. The Martian rover the astronauts use has the Kawasaki logo clearly featured in big letters on its side. 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking. Beer. Wine. Cigar smoking. 

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. Early in the film, one of the astronaut's is blown into pieces by a violent sandstorm. A later death scene in space 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. 

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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 colleages, played by Tim Robbins, Jerry O'Connell, Gary Sinese, and Connie Nielson, go on a rescue mission.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

The 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.

Families can talk 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. And it is worth pointing out to kids who watch today that they are the same age as the characters in the movie, who would have been children back in the year 2000. Point out the brief home movie footage showing two of the characters circa 2000, around 11 years old, and already dreaming of going to Mars, and ask kids what their dreams are, and help them think about what they will need in order to get there.

  • 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 to other science fiction movies, most notably "2001?" 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 10, 2000
DVD release date: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

This review of Mission to Mars was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byPlague April 15, 2010
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Mission to Mars

Great movie that your kids will love. As mentioned by Spud, there are 2 scenes that could be disturbing for younger audiences. Other than that, its a film thats definitely worth the watch.
What other families should know
Great role models
Adult Written bySpud April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
I’m pretty surprised they rated this PG. The language was pretty excessive (even for a PG-13), including the “G” word. Two scenes get pretty disturbing. One person literally flies apart in a wind funnel, and another scene shows a frontal view of a person’s face frozen solid. Definitely no less then PG-13 content.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass