DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

The Last Days On Mars, Blu-ray (2013)

Interesting Irish indie sci-fi feature, but the zombie-averse should skip it.

Published on March 14, 2014

The Last Days On Mars, Blu-ray (2013)

The Last Days On Mars, Blu-ray (2013)

Cast: Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas
Director: Ruairi Robinson
Studio: Magnet/Magnolia Home Entertainment 10631 [3/4/14]
Video: 2.35:1 anamorphic/enhanced 1080p for 16:9 color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Extras: “The Making of The Last Days on Mars;” Analyzing the Visual Effects; Behind the Scenes Comparisons; AXS TV: A Look at The Last Days on Mars; BD Live
Length: 98 minutes
Rating: ***

Being open to most any sci-fi movie, I was struck by the fact this low-budget effort comes from The Irish Film Board. Next, it had received some really bad reviews and I wanted to see if it was as bad as some felt it was. I felt it was overly dissed but I did feel cheated since I avoid all zombie movies and yet they slipped some into this otherwise fairly well-done sci-fi feature.

A crew of astronauts are stationed on the surface of Mars for six months and only have 19 hours left before a spaceship picks them up. The six months of claustrophobic confinement has created some hair-trigger sensitivities among the crew members. One of them becomes covetous of a discovery he has made that was the major reason for the mission: finding signs of life on Mars. The signs are a type of fast-growing bacteria which it turns out turns humans into zombies. Things rapidly go downhill from there.

The costumes and high-tech designs are great. The special effects team had worked on District 9 and Avatar, which helped convince me to review the movie. The “Making Of…” featurette shows that they used the desert of Jordan on which to film, and what the actors and camera crew went thru to bring this to film was not easy. The space suit helmets had small fans in them to prevent the front from fogging up so you could film faces, but the fans interfered with the sync sound recording, so they were turned off and the actors sweated in the desert heat in the confining helmets. I had to turn on the English subtitles so that I could understand what the actors were mumbling. One of them was Russian, which didn’t help a bit. Schreiber is perfect in his role.

There’s not much of a plot and what there is has a big hole in it near the end. There is also no back story on any of the crew members, so you are sort of left to your own imaginings. Some might consider this more of a horror film (another genre I stay away from) but as a sci-fi adventure I enjoyed it, though I don’t care to see it again.

—John Sunier




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