In the future, pollution and overpopulation are making the Earth uninhabitable. Humanity's only hope is to colonize the planet Mars by using algae to produce oxygen, but when the algae mysteriously disappear, a group of astronauts are sent to Mars on a mission to learn why. The spaceship, led by Commander Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss), is preparing to land when a sudden emergency forces her to crash-land on the planet without supplies or equipment. The survivors, including systems engineer Gallagher (Val Kilmer) and scientists Burchenal (Tom Sizemore) and Pettengil (Simon Baker), have to figure out how to return to their ship while also learning the truth about the missing algae. As if things weren't bad enough, they have to avoid AMEE, the ship's malfunctioning robot who is trying to kill them all.
RED PLANET is an exciting science fiction thriller based on scientific facts, including theoretical notions on how to "terraform" Mars to become inhabitable. The film also provides information about the nuts and bolts of basic space travel. Kilmer and company avoid science fiction clichés to make their Martian adventures more believable, creating a saga of survival under incredible conditions.
Bruce Berman - executive producer
Jorge Saralegui - producer, RED PLANET
Tom Sizemore - American Actor
Simon Baker - Actor
Anthony Hoffman - director, RED PLANET
Owen Paterson - Production Designer, V FOR VENDETTA (2005)
Terence Stamp - British actor
Mark Canton - Producer
Benjamin Bratt - Actor
Val Kilmer - American Actor
Theatrical release: November 10, 2000. Filmed on location in Jordan and Australia. The Australian locations were near Coober Pedy, the same site used for the filming of PITCH BLACK, and the Jordanian locations were the same used for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. RED PLANET is the directorial debut of Antony Hoffman, whose previous experience had been in commercials. He spent months at Houston's Johnson Space Center doing research for this film. This film was originally titled MARS, but that was changed to avoid confusion with MISSION TO MARS. RED PLANET's release date was also pushed back from spring 2000 to avoid competition. Much of the filming took place under sweltering conditions; the spacesuits had built-in cooling systems to keep the actors from overheating. First-time director Anthony Hoffman was given editing advice by directors Tony Scott and Luc Besson. There were 750 special effects shots in the film.
"...Well manufactured and attractively shot, it has a believable storyline..." - 01/01/2001 Box Office, p.67
"...Arresting cinematography....The film is technically adroit. The spaceship and Martian surface have the true grit one imagines space travel a half-century from now might be like..." - 11/07/2000 Hollywood Reporter, p.10-81
"...Val Kilmer is convincing..." - 11/10/2000 Chicago Sun-Times, p.34
"...It's a glorified B movie in the best sense of the term..." - 03/30/2001 Entertainment Weekly, p.52