What parents need to know
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.
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.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the real-world explorations of Mars.