“Space. The final frontier. To boldly go where no man/one has gone before”. These immortal words from hit tv series ‘Star Trek’ have inspired generations of space enthusiasts to broaden their horizons and think beyond what they see. In the month of July 2020, amid the global coronavirus pandemic, 3 different nations are on the verge to launch their missions into space. NASA’s Perseverance Rover, China’s Tianwen-1 and UAE ruling the roost with Hope Probe. Ironically, all three are gunning for our neighboring Red Planet, Mars.
The question that needs to be asked here is very simple. Why Mars? What is it about this planet that attracts our scientists and why are we so fixated with Martians? Scientifically speaking, it is the next most hospitable planet in our solar system. Water has been detected on its surface and its atmospheric temperature is not too hot nor too cold. In fact, it is just right for humans to survive on. Additionally, we have grown up on a steady diet of sci-fi movies who have inspired our imagination of the unattainable. From films on Mars, to tv shows, space was often represented around Mars and its alleged ‘Martians’.
Speaking of the most popular Mars movies, we have a wide range of titles to pick from. Many have helped us in imagining beyond the norm. Many have inspired characteristics of what we now associate alien life form to be like. And now when those fiction characters are close to the reality, we wish to switch back to those legend titles. Let’s check out some must watch movies about Mars:
What can we say about this mad capper that was star studded and had a hilarious take on Mars and Martians! A cult classic, this 1990s film has Jack Nicholson in the lead role as US President. The aliens are depicted to be all brains and no brawn. They were further vulnerable to high frequency sound waves due to which Earth wins a war against their ‘Alien-Tech’. For those who love some humor on reels, this film is a must watch on Mars!
A cult classic, this film captures the pathos and chaos of war. The lead of the film is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone. At the time of release, it was one of the most expensive films ever made for new and innovative use of special effects. It even won an Academy Award for the same. The wondrous Mars colony that drinks Pepsi and not Coke, was an inspiration for memes for generations.
Here is a film on Mars that has a single lead character and rather realistic portrayal of life alone on the planet. Elon Musk and many others are involved in sending normal humans to mars and colonizing it. This film helps those serpents shave a realistic portrayal of what life would be like when living in total isolation. Self-reliance got a whole new meaning when the joy of Matt Damon was captured on screen when he successfully grows potatoes with the help of his past crew mates’ feces as fertilizer.
‘Who watches the watchmen?’ Inspired by the graphic comic of the same name, Watchmen released in 2009 and has been watched with awe for the wild imagination of the production crew. While Mars, the planet itself does not come on screen till much later in the film, it is ever present and represented by Dr. Manhattan. Mars symbolizes a getaway for humanity in case of a nuclear disaster. If this piece of fiction ever becomes a reality, will never be known except in the passage of time.
Based on an amazing video game, Doom raises to the occasion of seamlessly transitioning a story to a film on Mars. Starring the biggest names in action, Hollywood has to offer. From Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson, to Karl Urban, Rosamund Pike and Razaak Adoti this film packed all the punches with its genetically engineered Martians. While it tanked at the box office, it has become a must watch for all those who are fans of the game!
An animated adventure by Disney, this film is a text book classic on the ever-developing scope of special effects in cinema. The rotoscopy that truthfully captured the emotions of a son whose mom is kidnapped by Martians and its technology is inspired by the Polar Express that was released in 2004. Oh, and the mom, is rescued safe and sound, teenage angst forgotten!
Whoa! This horror film on Mars is directed by none other than John Carpenter. And yet it tanked at the box office. The concept and story however intrigues and surprised many. With humans seeking survival on the red planet, a dystopian future seems impending. Ghost of Mars inspired us into understanding that while space is an open horizon, one must not exploit it for its reserves.
As man explores the galaxy and beyond, Mars or Pluto, Proxima Centauri or Andromeda, we need to remember that we have been inspired by films on Mars and the reality of what is out there might just be beyond our imagination. We wish the 3 countries and the impending Hope Probe launch, all the very best and hope for a dash of ‘Space Oddity’. What’s say, Major Tom?