*** MUST READ BEFORE PAYING REAL MONEY *** John Carpenter was once a really good filmmaker, well at least a good director. Just think of the 1982 classic "The Thing", which is simply excellent. He didn't write that movie, but the cinematography is very good. Unfortunately he DID write "John Carpenter's Vampires" a few years back, and it sucked. It sucked bad. He also wrote "Ghosts of Mars" (referred to as GOM from now on), which sucks even more. I'm a fan of horror, sci-fi, monster movies and dramas.
This movie is none of the above, but it tries to be a horror movie against a sci-fi setting. It's quite tragic because all it becomes is a lame monster movie on Mars. Or wait... this movie is actually just a western in space...with monsters.
SO WHAT'S BAD ABOUT IT? Well, lots of things. To begin with the movie is set in the year 2176 or something. About 170 years from now. One of the first things one notices is the fashion of 2176. Remember "Star Trek" the original series with Kirk? Everything looked like a space-up:ed 1970s, right? Same here, but late 90s. What about technology then? Embaressing. Almost nothing has improved. Many things are ridiculous to be set 170 years from now. Sure, it's the early colonisation of Mars and tech isn't really high in the colonies. But some of the things you'll see are just silly.
What about guns? There are alot of guns in the movie, seing how it's a western and all. Well for starters how do Berettas and SPAS-12s sound? No? Don't have a place in 2176? That's right, they won't have a role at all, they'll be 200 year old antiquities. There's also an automatic rifle, which I've forgotten the name of. I think it's a FN model, about 10 years old. What is it doing there? Oh well, in the absolute ending sequence a pair of
SMGs appear that are unidentifiable, as they're tailor-made for the movie (finally). But I must say they're some of the shiniest guns I've ever seen. The design is bad, I'll accept that. But why are they so shiny? Ridiculous.
***WARNING "SPOILER" BELOW***
The opening scene of GOM is a really bad attempt at copying the Ripley investigations scenes from the all-time brilliant movie "Aliens". Natasha is being questioned about the recent events on Mars, where she starts recanting the movie. So after about 4 minutes into the movie, we already know that she's the only survivor. Great...nice spoiler. So the whole "who's gonna make it" is off, now what? That is often the only thing movies like GOM and "Pitch Black" have going for them, But GOM gives it away in the opening sequence. Very poor.
What also bothers me are flashback scenes that aren't called for. When a person starts to explain something, we are taken back to a scene we've seen and are shown it again, just to know what the conversation refers to. It seems John Carpenter must've known we'd be sleeping ourselves through this movie.
Again the western style is apparent, the law enforcers (read Sheriff and his deputies) have shotguns and the sheriff has a long coat typical of western movies. There's an old style iron bar jail, the railroad (Mars express or whatever) and a bunch of outlaws (the ghosts).
So what about the bad guys in the movie? I almost s**t a brick when I saw them. They suck bad. They are simple miners than have been possessed by the ghosts and suddenly start piercing and painting and sickly decorating themselves. It's explained as something the ghosts used to do when they were alive....*sigh*....
Oh well, they have this leader guy and he looks like a devil or something, in the gothiest outfit I've ever seen in a sci-fi. It's leather, it's black, it has rings and stuff, bla, bla. The funniest part is when this guy issues commands or preaches to his flock. It's like he only can say one word and that word is something like "waah" or perhaps "raah". And he wants to say these complicated sentences of about 8-14 words each. But all that comes out is "waah, waah, raah, raah, waah, waah, raah, waaaaaah". I almost swallowed my icecream scoop when I first heard him, then I just laughed myself into a coma. And he's REALLY p***ed all through the movie. He's supposed to be mad because invaders (the humans) have set foot on his planet. But I'd say his rage is so immense that he's got a personal issue of some kind. He's just sooo mad. Maybe it's because he can't say any other words than "waah" and "raah". I know that would p**s me off.
The religious manner in which his subordinates worship him, with this whole "primitive caveman meets Jehova's witness bent on Nazi occultism" style is pathetic.
THE ACTORS Natasha Henstridge (ze girrrl from Schpecies) can do better, she's no actress, nor a model, but even she can do better. Ice Cube actually isn't all that bad, he proved that in "Boyz 'n' the Hood" among other films, this must be the worst performance from him that I've ever seen, much due to the script.
This movie so badly wants to be a good SCI-FI, but it can't be that, because it so badly wants to be a good WESTERN, but it can't be that, because it so badly wants to be a good MONSTER MOVIE, but it can't because the script and props suck.
OK, what about budget? Well "John Carpenter" is a name that should allow for some money to pour in. Hm...but not if the sponsors saw "John Carpenter's Vampires". I believe most of the money went into making the train that traffics Mars. The design is bad, humans would never build anything like that train. It looks OK though, in being actually there I mean. It's OK...nothing more. Explosions are plentiful (the ghosts have dynamite) and bad. Everyone's on a springboard and fly in a predictable trajectory in order to not hurt themselves. Typical "A-Team" action complete with tons of clichés and lame Wesley Snipes-like comments.
Do I sound a tad irritated? That is because I payed good money to view this movie. I feel people have the right to know what to expect as I have the right to be upset about what I saw. This review contains no profanity so there should be no reason to not post it.
Overall : I gave it a 1 in my vote. When disc 1 had finished I had to think for approx 10 seconds if I wanted to load disc 2. Or as my Japanese female friend would say : "Sucky-sucky".
Ghosts of Mars
Action / Horror / Sci-Fi
Ghosts of Mars
Action / Horror / Sci-Fi
200 years in the future a Martian police unit is dispatched to transport a dangerous prisoner from a mining outpost back to justice. But when the team arrives they find the town deserted and some of the inhabitants possessed by the former inhabitants of the planet.
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August 16, 2012 at 12:07 PM