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Movie Review: Martian Land

24 Jul

Martian Land

Released: 2015
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
IMDB Rating: 2.3 / 10

Watching this cinematically-induced lobotomy brought to mind the words of one of the world’s most eminent scholars:

“Yes, I see. Something involving that many big words could easily destabilise time itself.”
– 
Professor Hubert Farnsworth

This was all that lay at the core of this ill-conceived attempt by The Asylum to ride on the coattails of The Martian: if we throw enough big words at the audience, whether or not they make sense, maybe they’ll think that we understand what we’re talking about. Well guess what The Asylum? My penchant for reading hard sci-fi novels from the 60s and a few quick glances at Wikipedia have taught me more about what it would take to live on Mars than anything you tried to throw together!

Next time you build a Martian colony, maybe cover it in something a bit more resilient than Plexiglass!

Next time you build a Martian colony, maybe cover it in something a bit more resilient than Plexiglass!

The Plot

In the distant future the Earth has been lost to mankind. Our habit of burning fossil fuels and the subsequent global warming ultimately resulted in an unprecedented rise in volcanic activity across the planet, leaving the homeworld enveloped in an impenetrable cover of nuclear dust which left life on its surface impossible. And so we set off to Mars to build civilisation anew! Alas, our bad habits will once again be our downfall. While Earth was the perfect temperature to begin with and didn’t really need our help Mars was a bit chilly when we got there, and so we set about trying to warm the place up a little. This fractional rise in temperature has one horrible unintended side effect – it re-ignites Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system, which causes an enormous dust storm to erupt and begin spreading out over the Martian surface.

The domed cities of Mars are not designed to withstand the wind strengths generated by this storm, and Mars New York is quickly compromised when its dome is shattered. Over in Mars Los Angeles Miranda, a truly remarkable mind in a scientific field so generically named that she could literally be studying anything, needs to mount a rescue operation that will somehow both save her daughter who was in MNY when the storm struck, and deactivate the storm before it can cause similar damage to Mars’ other cities. Thankfully she knows just the right guy for the job.

Miranda has her current husband, Neil, bring her ex-husband, Foster, to Mars from Earth, where he has apparently been living quite comfortably while trying to restore the Blue Marble to its forgotten majesty. Foster devises the ultimate plan to stop the storm – by placing EMF emitters at key points, one of which must be in the eye of this eyeless storm, they can blast the storm apart and thus save mankind’s new home. But Mars is a frigid bitch and a hostile mistress, and it will take all of Neil and Foster’s acting inabilities to pull this plan off before all of the Martian cities are lost.

I would like, at this point, to assure anyone reading this that every word in this description has been carefully chosen to accurately reflect the plot of this film.

You know it's Mars because it has spacey looking buildings like this.

You know it’s Mars because it has spacey looking buildings like this.

The Visuals

This has all your typical The Asylum crap and then a bit leftover for you to take home afterwards.

As a rule of thumb The Asylum’s films all tend to have enough budget to produce maybe three CGI scenes which must then be made multipurpose. Martian Land is no exception, and one generic cityscape will just need to cover every city on Mars, with the only difference being how much damage has been done to it by the storm. There’s also no need for extras because all you need to do is copy and paste the same guy running over and over again into the same shot and voila! You have a crowd.

Below par CGI aside Martian Land also has many other wonders to behold. Martian bushes littered all over the planet, for example. And who needs technologically fancy spacesuits to survive a hostile alien world when all-over lycra and a spray painted welding mask with some coloured tape stuck to it will do the same job for a tenth of the price? Why build your Martian rover using fancy materials when all the interior really needs are some broken up crates and a bank of fans from that old PC you were going to throw out anyway? And why are we wasting so much money here on Earth looking into clean forms of energy when all you need is an old TV antenna to act as a lightning rod that can instantly charge batteries?

If bullshit were a currency, Martian Land would be worth its runtime in gold.

My expression throughout the whole movie.

My expression throughout the whole movie.

The Feelings

This movie touched me in a bad place and then went in dry.

I am by no means an expert on terraforming or any of the other countless subjects that Martian Land so haphazardly attempts to throw at its audience like Naomi Campbell throwing a cellphone at an assistant she doesn’t like, but I find the concept of interplanetary travel and the colonisation of alien worlds to be a fascinating subject. And to be honest, you don’t need to be an expert to understand that global warming won’t activate a volcano. You don’t need to be an expert to know that you couldn’t breathe on the surface of Mars (although, to be fair, only some characters do this sometimes). And for the love of the bloody maker you don’t need to be an expert to understand that a storm needs to have an eye in the first place if an entire plan hinges on throwing something into the eye of the storm!

You know, I get it – in any space adventure film you can never get all of the facts right, and sometimes you need to bend the truth a little bit in order to make the movie fun. But the only thing that Martian Land managed to get right is that there is, in fact, a planet called Mars, and that’s just not gonna cut it for me.

My Final Rating: 2 / 10
Buy Martian Land at Amazon.com

TRAILER

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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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