When this site was launched eight years ago,
there was almost always excitement to watch and talk about a
movie, even before we knew what the movie was. Our
inspiration was simply the fact that we were given this
privilege, and to this day we respect the privilege.
What hasn't survived as much is the inspiration. As the
years have gone on, particularly now, the movie itself has to
inspire us to motivate us to write something about it.
Be it a great movie or a gawdawful one, we need this
inspiration, otherwise we are just typing words to get it over
with. Unfortunately, 'The Last Days on Mars' gives us no
inspiration. On paper it should, with its interesting
premise, nice visuals and top flight cast, but no, we got a
mediocre movie. Not good enough… not bad enough.
As the title suggest, it's the crew of the ship Aurora's last
day on Mars, before they pack up and make the six month trip
back to Earth. It's all routine on this last day, but
Marko (Goran Kostic) has made an amazing discovery which he is
keeping all to himself. Unfortunately, Marko falls into
a crater and gets himself killed. More or less.
Now I'm not sure what each member of the crew actually does,
but let's meet them anyway. There's Vincent (Liev
Schreiber) who's looking like our hero, there's his good
friend Rebecca (Romola Garai), there's Charles (Elias Koteas)
who is the captain of this vessel, there's Kim (Olivia
Williams) who will be serving as the queen bitch, there's
Robert (Johnny Harris) who I'm thinking is a psychiatrist or
something and looks to be the 'We All Gonna Die Guy' of the
crew, then there's Richard (Tom Cullen) who I think is the
Fix-It guy, and finally we have Lauren (Yursa Warsama), and we
could watch this movie a hundred times and not be able to tell
you why she's on this mission.
We do know that Lauren is pretty broken up
about Marko kind of dying and stuff, so you would've thought
she'd be a little bit happier when he came back to life.
More or less. She wasn't. It looks like that
whatever the microbe that Marko found, the most important
discovery in the history of history, has turned him into a
raving super strong zombie. A gift he gives to his
girlfriend. A gift that the two of them want to give to
everybody left alive.
The good thing is that the mother ship is coming down to take
them back to the base station in a few hours. The bad
thing is that they don't really have a few hours. These
Martian zombies are pretty darned relentless and unstoppable
and it looks as if their method of zombie transfer is just a
simple touch. Can our heroes survive? I hope sure
as hell hope not, because if they do, there's a good chance
they might bring that junk home. Nobody wants that.
For starters let me just say that personally, I found nothing
inherently wrong with 'The Last Days on Mars', at least as far
as a vehicle for basic entertainment goes. If you take a
look at the films individual parts, director Ruairi Robinson's
film has a lot going for it. It has a rock solid cast,
the atmosphere is effective, the set design is well executed,
I enjoyed the pacing as it moved fast enough to keep your
interest but not so fast that it felt as if it were out of
control, and it has monsters. Who doesn't love monsters?
But despite the fact that the film has some very good parts,
overall it seems to me that this is one of those occasions
where the final result is actually less than the sum of these
parts. Most of this I believe we can trace back to the
story, which while functional to keep everything moving along,
suffered from feeling so familiar. We do understand that
there isn't a lot of original ideas left out there anymore,
and we also appreciate that 'The Last Days on Mars' is a
fairly original production not based on something that's
pre-existing, at least officially, but the magic is in hiding
what you borrowed so your audience isn't shouting out the
movies they feel the film borrowed from. I think I saw a
little 'Alien' here, a touch of 'Vertigo' there, sprinkled in
with a dash of 'The Last Man on Earth', of course 'The Ghosts
of Mars' came into play, not to mention a healthy dose of '28
Days Later' and probably a few others that I could point out,
but I believe you get my drift. This does kind of make
'The Last Days on Mars' the most unoriginal, original movie
I've seen in an awful long time.
The movie does have a decent horror movie vibe to it, with its
solid atmosphere and ploddingly indestructible monsters, but
it also suffers from the typical horror movie conventions such
as amazingly stupid characters doing amazingly stupid things,
and really poor cell phone service when you need it
most. Space phone service I guess. And of
course the height of irresponsibility would be jumping on a
ship and heading back to earth carrying a known incurable
zombie pathogen. Sometimes you gotta take one for the
As we mentioned, 'The Last Days on Mars' isn't terrible, at
least not to us, but it is lacking. Be it in originality
or heart or storytelling style… something is missing.
Watchable but almost immediately forgettable.