|This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2011)|
In 2056 AD, Earth is in ecologic crisis as a consequence of pollution and overpopulation; wherefore automated interplanetary missions have been seeding Mars with atmosphere-producing algae as the first stage of terraforming the planet. When the oxygen quantity produced by the algae is inexplicably reduced, the crew of Mars-1 investigate; a crew consisting of Quinn Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), an agnostic geneticist, Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp), an aging philosophical scientist and surgeon, systems engineer Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer), commander Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss), pilot Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt), and terraforming scientist Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker).
When Mars 1 is damaged in arrival, Bowman remains aboard for repair while the others land to locate an automated habitat established earlier to manufacture food and oxygen; but their landing craft is damaged and crash-lands far from their landing zone, whereupon they lose track of "AMEE" (Autonomous Mapping Exploration and Evasion), a military robot scheduled to guide them, whereas Chantillas suffers a ruptured spleen and is therefore left behind by the others. In orbit around Mars, Bowman contacts Earth, which informs her that Mars-1 is in decaying orbit, but offers hope of restoring engine function in exit therefrom.
On Mars, the landing party find the automated habitat destroyed, and expect their own deaths by suffocation. Thereafter Pettengill and Santen wander from the others to explore, later to reach a canyon at which Santen is mistakenly killed, whereupon Pettengill returns to Burchenal and Gallagher. In a desperate last effort to survive, Gallagher opens his astronaut helmet and discovers that Mars's atmosphere is thin but breathable. Thereafter AMEE reunites with the crew, and the three astronauts notice the robot is damaged and attempt to reserve power for her guidance device. Perceiving their actions as a threat, AMEE cripples Burchenal and pursues the others.
Eventually, Gallagher builds a makeshift radio from parts of the Mars Rover 'Pathfinder', through which Bowman instructs them to use a Russian probe's sample-return system to launch themselves into orbit. During the trip, Bowman tells Gallagher that the probe can hold only two people; whereupon Pettengill flees, taking the radio, only to be killed by AMEE. Pettengill's corpse then becomes infested by insect-like creatures identified by Burchenal as "nematodes" and discovered to be flammable. Later, the crew encounter a field of algae, whereat Burchenal reveals that the insects are native Martian life, dormant until the algal growth, which consume the algae and excrete oxygen, and identifies them as a means of terraforming Mars; but is himself attacked when blood drips from an open wound, whereupon Burchenal passes his sample insects to Gallagher and sets himself and his attackers afire. Gallagher having reached the Russian probe, finds sufficient fuel to power the rocket's engine, but not enough electrical power to launch the probe; and having caught and disabled AMEE, uses her power-source instead. He is then recovered by Bowman.
- Val Kilmer as Robby Gallagher
- Carrie-Anne Moss as Cmdr. Kate Bowman
- Tom Sizemore as Dr. Quinn Burchenal
- Benjamin Bratt as Lt. Ted Santen
- Simon Baker as Chip Pettengill
- Terence Stamp as Dr. Bud Chantilas
- Neil Ross as Space Suit (voice) (uncredited)
Red Planet opened at #5 at the North American box office making $8.7 million USD in its opening weekend. The film was a box office bomb, grossing $33 million worldwide against an estimated budget of $80 million.
The film received negative reviews, with only a 14% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 100 reviews. Stephen Holden's review in the New York Times was almost entirely negative, calling the film "a leaden, skimpily plotted space-age Outward Bound adventure with vague allegorical aspirations that remain entirely unrealized."
During a conversation between Burchenal and Gallagher, Burchenal mistakenly lists the 4 letters of genetic code as A, G, T, and P. The correct letters are A, G, T, and C. Burchenal also calls the Martian insects "nematodes", which are microscopic unsegmented worms rather than the beetle-like omnivorous insects of the film.
Due to significant scientific inaccuracies, NASA refused to serve as a scientific adviser for the film. "The science was just so off the wall that eventually we felt, 'You guys go ahead and make your movie.' If there's something that's going to be so misleading to the public that we don't want to participate, then we'll say no," said Bert Ulrich, a NASA spokesperson, adding: "The big thing is, we want to make sure we're not misleading the public completely."
- ↑ Red Planet (2000)
- ↑ Rotten Tomatoes.com page for Red Planet
- ↑ "Red Planet: Finding the Terra Not So Firma on Mars," Stephen Holden, New York Times, 10 November 2000
- ↑ http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/red_planet.pdf | pg. 56
- ↑ Rebecca Keegan (1 September 2011). "NASA reaches its outer limit". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-nasa-hollywood-20110901,0,2246744.story?track=icymi. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- Red Planet at the Internet Movie Database
- Red Planet at AllRovi
- Red Planet at the TCM Movie Database
- Red Planet at Rotten Tomatoes
- Red Planet at Box Office Mojo
de:Red Planet es:Planeta rojo (película) fr:Planète rouge gl:Red Planet hi:रेड प्लैनेट it:Pianeta rosso ja:レッドプラネット pl:Czerwona Planeta (film) pt:Planeta Vermelho ru:Красная планета (фильм) fi:Punainen planeetta (elokuva) sv:Red Planet tr:Kırmızı Gezegen uk:Червона планета zh:红色星球