Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Last Days on Mars

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! My last days on Mars was spent doing puzzles...my last days were boring.

The Last Days on Mars – 2 out of 5

The Red Planet...Dr. Manhattan spent some of his nakedness there building a crystal palace where he could press ham to any planet in the galaxy, Curiosity went there and took one of the greatest selfies in the history of the stupid word that is selfie and even Ice Cube has been associated with the Mother in the acronym My Very Educated Mother Just Served Up Nine Pizzas that helped me learn the planets names when I was a kid and, while there, made us question whether or not he should continue an acting career…which, in my opinion, is pretty much the standard you get from him when he’s in a role. Anyway, movies, books, real life—we’re all kinda interested in this planet. Why? Because it could possibly contain the possibility to hold life, it’s so close and it has the potential to have three-boobed hookers sometime in the future. Too bad nobody told the makers of The Last Days on Mars about the limitless (and boobed) potential of this planet.

Wait a minute...isn't this Mass Effect?

The final days of a six month mission to Mars is coming to an end and, like a police officer days from retirement, that’s when the shit decides to go sentient and get up and throw itself into the fan. One of the crew members finds a curiosity (no, not the rover) when he was drilling for soil samples and discovered a variant of life existing on the planet. However, it wouldn’t be a movie if they found the life was harmless and it is soon discovered that the life has taken over members of the mission and turned them into zombie-like monsters out for death and mayhem. The once scientific mission dissolves from one of discovery to one of survival as astronaut Vincent Campbell (Liev Schreiber) has to blast off and leave the red soil of Mars behind in his wake.

"This is Major Tom to Ground Control...I'm getting the fuck out!"

I had absolutely no expectations for The Last Days on Mars when I first popped the DVD in other than the fact Liev Schreiber will probably be great in it (and Elias Koteas will be excellent too) but, somehow, the film decided to be even worse than I expected. Reminder: I had NO EXPECTATIONS for this film. In retrospect, I could have thought this movie would have been decent, alright or, at the very least, watchable but the end result was an unimaginatively boring film that felt like it had no real interest in making something that would remain in your memory beyond remembering the initial fact you’ve seen the movie and have no desire to see it again.

That's the same look I had on my face while watching this.

While I found the concept to be interesting as I started to get into the film and started to see the story get rolling, ultimately, the film pretty much ends up going through the motions of a cookie-cutter alien/zombie/infection story and then goes as far as offering up nothing really new or original to the formula. Even the idea of setting the film on Mars did nothing to help the boring story. There was no tension, thrills or even character development going on in this one. Shit, without the help of IMDb and Wikipedia, I couldn’t even recall if the characters had names or even defining traits after watching this movie because everyone is a faceless, empty canvas that has no highlights or even defining traits…beyond them being scientists and astronauts. In fact, each character is so bland that each actor might as well have been playing their part with their spacesuit helmets on and tinted so you can’t see their faces…it would have, literally, changed nothing about their characters.

"So...do we have names or...?"

Okay..so the characters may be one-dimensional and forgettable—it happens all the time in movies (fuck, some actors wouldn’t even have a career without this dynamic) but, this aside, surely proven actors like Liev Schreiber (a man with a name that autocorrect hates and wants to call Live Schreiber) and Casey Jones himself; Elias Koteas, must have been decent and doing all they can with what little the script was offering them. I will concede this point to an extent…both men are decent but it doesn’t change the fact that both look like they didn’t want to do this movie. Each man is giving just the amount of effort that’s needed to move this lethargic thriller forward.

Liev Schreiber, shown here trying to find out what went wrong in his life to find
himself taking a role for the money.

Then you have the zombie creatures…

"Eh, good enough," the makeup department.

Despite being the whole reason for the film, they felt completely, and absolutely, pointless. Their make-up effects aren’t memorable (or even visible most of the movie) and they just, ultimately, felt like the writer pushed himself away from his laptop and shrugged his shoulders as he gave up because he couldn’t come up with a threat that was any better. Besides, Doctor Who already did a better job with zombie-like monstrosities on Mars…and they did it with a smaller budget…and David Tennant. So, in reality, The Last Days on Mars couldn’t compete to begin with.

"I was Casey Jones!!!"

As much as I like Liev Schreiber (it’s Liev, not live, autocorrect), he just couldn’t hold this all by himself. There was too many factors—including the main threat—that just felt like it didn’t want to do anything to differentiate itself or even try to be entertaining or memorable. In the end, the entire film felt like the studio had some extra bucks to kill and signed contracts from Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas and wanted to make the easiest thing before they expired.

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