Entertainment :: Movies

The Last Days on Mars

by Louise Adams
Wednesday Apr 2, 2014
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Spoiler! Martian Zombies! That’s the entire plot of "The Last Days on Mars." Ruairi Robinson directs Clive Dawson’s screenplay, which is based on Sydney J. Bounds’ short story, and the result remains thin.

A year and a half into their mission, the crew from Earth’s first expedition to Mars hasn’t found squat. But their retrieval vessel is on its way (hence the title), so, of course, the stakes skyrocket. Drawing from the cop drama trope this script appropriates, where the police officer gets shot the day before retirement (termed "retirony" by the Simpsons’ Chief Wiggum), a virulent bacteria is suddenly found below the permafrost. Just add water, conveniently carried by humans in the form of blood, and presto, you’ve got your Walking Dead Astronauts.

Their Martian settlement and Humvee-meets-Pope mobile-type rovers are too spacious and well appointed to have come through unscathed after a six-month trip in a tin can.

Under-funded NASA must have cut corners with their space suits, which feel like "wearing a car," says actor Olivia Williams (who plays difficult scientist Kim Aldrich) in the video’s "Making of" feature. Besides providing no peripheral vision, the white behemoths somehow allow contact with such microbes, which fits with the rest of the hard-to-believe production design. Their Martian settlement and Humvee-meets-Pope mobile-type rovers are too spacious and well appointed to have come through unscathed after a six-month trip in a tin can. Filmed in Jordan, "in a desert that was under an ocean millions of years ago," the landscape, however, is appropriately "unrelenting and harrowing."

Grounded Liev Schreiber leads the team as Vincent Campbell, and gets to say old alien chestnuts like "I can’t let you do this, Irwin. It can’t get back to Earth. It must end here." In all the featurettes, which also include "Analyzing the Visual Effects," "Behind the Scenes Comparisons," and "AXS TV: A Look," the actors and crew share their love of science fiction, because the genre allows "people to go anywhere," for "the natural world to reap revenge on man," and to exhaust audiences who are "too old for this shit."


"The Last Days on Mars"
Blu-ray
$12.99
http://www.magnetreleasing.com/thelastdaysonmars/

Louise Adams is a writer, actor, educator, yogini and nom de guerre. @MzzzAnthrope

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