Red Planet

Movie review by
Betsy Wallace, Common Sense Media
Red Planet Movie Poster Image
Teens may enjoy this by-the-book space thriller.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

One astronaut hits another, causing him to fall off a cliff. AMEE the robot, in military mode, fights with the astronauts, killing one and injuring another. Sensitive viewers will squirm when roachlike bugs swarm over astronauts' bodies and break through


Brief partial nudity when the female commander gets out of the shower.


Infrequent mild to moderate profanity and one extreme expletive near the end.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The astronauts use the ship's lab to distill vodka.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that young teens will enjoy this by-the-book space mission thriller, but there are perilous situations and some mature content, so we recommend it for only the most mature in this group. Parents should be aware of some strong language, brief female nudity, and sci-fi violence.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bySpud April 9, 2008

A cool story, but a lot of unnecessary content

There's a lot of R-rated content in this one, mostly language. With the exception of only two characters, everybody cusses about every other sentence. That... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 3, 2014
Decent thriller film, but very formuletic. Parents should know: brief strong gore (insects burst out of body, one from face) some partial nudity (shower scene)... Continue reading

What's the story?

RED PLANET takes place in 2050, when the Earth is in very bad shape. A team heads to Mars to make it inhabitable for humans. But the experiment goes awry, and another team is sent on a rescue mission. Commander Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss) and her rescue team (Val Kilmer, Terrence Stamp, and Tom Sizemore) wind up crash landing, leaving them stranded on an isolated planet where nothing they encounter is what they expected, and the technology that was supposed to help them turns against them in a deadly way. Their commander might be dead, and chances are slim to none that anybody gets back home alive. If they do get back home, they better come back with a way to save humanity, or it's still curtains.

Is it any good?

Red Planet won't blow you away, but it is an exciting diversion, especially if your family likes space adventures. Perhaps the movie's best quality is that it doesn't come off as an overblown Hollywood blockbuster, with an overemphasis on booming music flashy effects. The effects are great--especially the robot turned guerilla warrior--but the movie slows down when it needs to, letting viewers feel what the characters are going through.

The actors bring nuances and strong character traits to scenes that could have come out of an independent sci-fi film (albeit one with a big budget). Clever moments ease the doomsday tension and don't draw attention to themselves as "funny one-liners." Some of the dialogue is simplistic and some of the plot elements are predictable, but the by-the-numbers elements add up to a surprisingly down-to-earth space movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the real-world explorations of Mars.

Movie details

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