The Martian Chronicles

release year: 1980
genre: TV sci-fi/drama miniseries
viewing setting: home DVD, 2/3/05

synopsis: This nearly-five-hour miniseries, in three parts, shows what mankind's first contact and subsequent relations with Mars might have been like.

impressions: With all due apologies to the cast, crew, and everyone else involved with this: it was boring as hell. Why? Because it was heavy on drama and light on action, or even science. I can forgive the rockets landing in the the same position from which they take off, but I cannot forgive a thirty-minute scene whose sole point is to show us how stupid a character is. And that's very prominent here: stupid characters, doing stupid things, for stupid reasons...and the whole thing drags out seemingly forever. I can't give many specific examples without spoiling the plot for you, but let's just say that about 90% of the astronauts and colonists sent to Mars seemed to have basic mental and moral deficiencies. The one thing I got out of this movie was what I think its underlying message was supposed to be: mankind is destructive and wasteful, and these qualities will apply to any space colonization we might ever undertake.

something this movie has that no other movie has: Martians with pointy guns.

acting: I'm not even going to get into it. The actors were fine, but the script and characters were boring. Rock Hudson was the main character, and he tried, but the material he was given seemed to lack much capacity for excitement.

final word: See it once if, like me, you want to explore those dim memories of this series that you had from your childhood. Just make sure you've got plenty of coffee.

back to the main review page