Mission to Mars

2 bone dogStars: Gary Sinese, Don Cheadle, Tim Robbins, Jerry O’Connell

Visually, Brian De Palma’s “Mission to Mars” is a feast, but as far as storyline goes, there’s nothing too original here.

Gary Sinese plays astronaut Jim McConnell, who along with wife Maggie, were to be the first couple on Mars. But Maggie died of cancer shortly before the recent mission to the red planet and instead, Commander Luke Graham (Don Cheadle) gets to take his place. Instead of a wife, he takes along French and Russian scientists. Bidding farewell are astronaut Woody Blake (Tim Robbins) and his astronaut wife Terri, younger bud Phil (Jerry O’Connell – recognizable from his role on the sci-fi TV show “Sliders”), and of course Jim, all of whom monitor the mission from the World Space Station, an international conglomerate of helping hands in space.

After things go awry with mysterious forces on Mars obliterating most of the team, Woody, Terri, Jim and Phil mount a rescue mission to save Luke whom they believe might still be alive. And of course they want to know what that mysterious force was. So do we.

The best special effects come from that mysterious force where an entire mountain bursts apart and turns into a giant Hoover vaccum cleaner sucking up dirt, rocks and people. Other spectacular shots are the ones in space or in shuttles and space stations.

The rescue mission has its downside and the usual heroic efforts are made to continue. Once on the planet, all becomes clear as to just what that mysterious force was, but we are still left feeling cold and unsatisfied to last constellation.

Lotta says generally good direction, music and sound but suffers from lots of dorkey, unnecessry dialogue and hokey actions. If your base camp were in ruins and your life in danger, would the first you do be to raise an American flag on a planet where no one else exists? I don’t think so!