While the American robot Perseverance landed on Mars, focus on 10 feature films that set foot on the distant red planet, from “Alone on Mars” to “Ad Astra” via “John Carter” and “Total Recall “.
ALONE ON MARCH (2015)
In Interstellar, he was abandoned on a planet. A year later, actor Matt Damon finds himself in space again, this time … Alone on Mars. In Ridley Scott’s feature film, he is an astronaut left for dead on the Red Planet after a storm forced his teammates to take off urgently. Alone in a hostile environment, he will have to call on his intelligence and ingenuity to try to survive and find a way to contact Earth.
The planet Mars from Ridley Scott’s SF movie has been partly recreated in a gigantic hangar. Polystyrene was used for the sand, while the team also had 1,200 tonnes of red soil transported to the site. Steam also invaded the hangar to give a hazy aspect and thus make the Martian decor even more real. Finally, it should be noted that the exterior shots were taken in Jordan, the desert landscapes of this country approaching those of the planet Mars.
TOTAL RECALL (1990)
The planet Mars is the place where a nightmare leads, every night, Doug Quaid, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. After an experience that goes wrong, he realizes that he has indeed stayed on the red planet. Now pursued by killers, he must return there to face other memories and other dangers.
Paul Verhoeven’s classic SF addresses a little “Martian nod” to moviegoers. When filling out his hotel form, the character of Doug Quaid takes for assumed name “Brubaker: this is the name of the captain who should have been the first man sent to Mars in the movie Capricorn One (1978).
JOHN CARTER (2012)
The Disney adventure film John Carter, from the first book of “Mars cycle” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, tells the fascinating journey of a man who finds himself inexplicably transported to Barsoom (the planet Mars in the fictional universe of the creator of Tarzan). The hero then finds himself at the heart of a mysterious war between the inhabitants of the planet. Big failure at the box office, John Carter is led by the Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch.
After four months of filming in English studios, the team of John Carter moved to Utah to do the footage on Mars. The city of Moab, Lake Powell, the Delta salt marshes and Big Water are all places that served as the backdrop to recreate the planet. But unlike Martian temperatures (below 0 °), it was extreme heat that weighed on production, with peaks of 48 °!
RED PLANET (2000)
Led by Val Kilmer and Carrie-Ann Moss, the feature film Red Planet plunges us into 2050, when the Earth is dying, victim of deforestation, pollution and overpopulation. The only solution: colonize another planet. NASA then sends a spacecraft to Mars. This exploration without apparent difficulty quickly turns into a nightmare …
The filming of Red Planet, which took place in Australia (interior and exterior) and in Jordan (exterior only), was a test for the actors as well as for the technicians. The outside temperature (over 40 ° C) indeed overwhelmed the actors who were already forced to don costumes that were particularly poorly suited to the heat.
GHOSTS OF MARS (2001)
John Carpenter, great master of science fiction and horror, took a little tour of the red planet with Ghosts of Mars, a horrific western worn in particular by Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube and Jason Statham. A successful B series that plunges us into 2176, when the Earth made Mars a mining colony where 640,000 people try to live in a hostile environment. As a lieutenant and his team transfer a dangerous prisoner, a strange ritual takes place at the bottom of the open pit mine crater. Good will have to ally with Evil to fight the Worse …
MILO ON MARS (2011)
Inspired by children’s science fiction novel Mars Needs Moms !, Written by Berkeley Breathed in 2007, the animated film Milo on Mars tells the story of a little boy who gets out of bed to apologize to his mother after an argument. But as he approaches his mother’s room, the latter is kidnapped by aliens. Succeeding in entering their spaceship, the young boy finds himself … on the planet Mars.
Milo on Mars was fully been shot in Motion Capture. No wonder when we know that the film is notably produced by a certain Robert Zemeckis, who had used the process for Le Pôle Express and The Funny Christmas from Scrooge.
AD ASTRA (2019)
Ad Astra tells the story of Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), an astronaut who ventures to the far reaches of the solar system to find his missing father and solve a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. During his journey, which will take him in particular to the planet Mars, he will be confronted with revelations questioning the very nature of human existence, and our place in the universe.
American filmmaker James Gray, who is making his first foray into SF with Ad Astra, says: “I’m terrified of sci-fi. It’s such a touchy genre because there are elements of the fantastic involved. What I’m trying to do is portray space travel as realistically as possible to say essentially “Space is terribly hostile to us.”
Worn by Karl Urban, Dwayne Johnson and Rosamund Pike, SF Doom is the big screen adaptation of the famous video game hit, the first episode of which, released in 1993, revolutionized the “first person shooter”. We follow the mission of a commando sent to the Olduvai Scientific Research Station, based on the planet Mars. There, all the experiments stopped, the communication does not go any more, and the last messages received are at the very least distressing. Behind every corner of the base lurk nightmarish creatures of unknown origin …
In order to make the underground research station of the planet Mars exist on the screen, the producers called on decorator Stephen Scott. Closely interested in the technologies necessary for an underground architecture, the latter also analyzed the video game and declares: “I wanted to transpose the spirit, the atmosphere and the scale of the game into the design of certain sets. I was hoping that fans of the game would recognize some shape or device. “
COWBOY BEBOP (2003)
A cinematic adventure inspired by the cult Japanese series from the late 90s, the animated film Cowboy Bebop sees its action take place on the planet Mars. EIn 2071, when a tanker truck explodes in the Alba City crater, dozens of victims are killed and hundreds die of a mysterious disease. The authorities then suspect a terrorist biological attack and offer a huge reward for the capture of those responsible. Without a penny in their pocket, the bounty hunters of Bebop see there the opportunity to bail out and begin their investigation.
Note that, dWishing to create a universe specific to the film and independent of the series, the team of Cowboy Bebop notably moved to Morocco in order to create the sets for “Maroccan street”, the Arab quarter of Mars shown in the film.
MISSION TO MARS (2000)
At the helm of Mission to Mars, a giant of the seventh art in the person of Brian De Palma. Led in particular by Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins and Don Cheadle, the feature film, presented out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, tells about the very first dispatch by NASA of a team of astronauts to Mars, in 2020. PNot long after their arrival, they are confronted with a supernatural phenomenon of terrifying power and all communications are cut off. A second mission is sent to find them …
The Martian landscape reconstructed for the needs of the feature film measures 23 hectares. It rests on a sandy base carved with a bulldozer and covered with a layer of cement coated with red latex paint. For these scenes, the Filming took place at Fraser Sans Dunes in Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver, as well as in Jordan and on the island of Lanzarote (Canary Islands).