Destination Mars (2006) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Destination Mars (2006)

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Danny DISLIKEThe 2006 science fiction spoof Destination Mars is an unbelievably dreadful experience. It's a terrible film that's supposed to be a terrible film, but it wants to be a terrible film that's "so bad that it's good" but instead it's a film so terrible that it remains irredeemably terrible.

It's a fine line, really.

The movie starts with mock documentary, fifteen minutes pretending that the film you're about to watch has been suppressed five decades because of Communist leanings. I'll ruin the fairly dubious surprise: it's not real. It was shot in 2006, and there are more than a few things that give it away.

How so? Well, take the cinematography for instance. Even Ed Wood never made a black and white film this washed out; making a black and white film look good requires a lot more attention to detail than just adding a filter to the footage you're shooting.

On top of that, this film is supposed to have been actually shot in 1956. The massive, massive amounts of awful CGI will betray this idea almost immediately. This is almost mind-boggling; if you're going to do a tribute to Wood or other 50's science fiction films, the cheesy "hubcap as a flying saucer" effects should be the most important and easiest thing to mock. If you can't be assed to make actual models, then maybe you really can't be assed to make a movie.

Okay, okay. The plot of the film involves mankind finally creating a bomb powerful enough to destroy an entire planet (one of many references to Plan 9 From Outer Space) and the Martians swooping in to stop them from using it. There's a doctor who welcomed the Martians as a child who's asked to quell this interstellar war, and an American general who does everything in his power to undermine any peaceful solution to the conflict.

The Martians themselves are women, usually frumpy and wearing clothing to make themselves appear vaguely Egyptian. In a twist that almost reaches 'duh' on the Dumb-O-Meter, they're actually the benevolent species and only zap people into giant robots as a way to try and make peace.

There's a lot you could do with this material, and Destination Mars does all of it wrong. I have a special ire for the first ten minutes of the film, the mock documentary that tries to throw off the viewer-- it adds nothing and makes the movie look stupid for even pretending to be what it wants to be. It doesn't ruin the suspension of disbelief so much as piss all over it while laughing drunkenly.

And while the movie has some little details right (boom mics dropping in, robots for no discernible reason) it also has a swath of things wrong from all of these genre pictures, from the Mantan Moreland-esque wide-eyed black character to the awful song that the main character and his wife partake in whenever they want to express their love. I suppose the latter two are supposed to be the humorous parts of the movie, but they're both so painfully out of place that they completely fail to generate even a smile.

Like other genre homages Alien Trespass and Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Destination Mars tries to mix humor with outlandishness. Where Trespass was a fairly boring but faithful nod and Skeleton had it's moments (and, unlike the other two, actual jokes), Mars is a complete misfire. The humor is painful, and the nods are few. The only reason I imagine this movie was made is because a community theater had some time between shows and no one had anything else better to do.

For the viewer, there's plenty else to do. Jesus, just watch Plan 9 From Outer Space. Trust me, it's better at accidentally mocking itself than this film could ever dream of.

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Destination Mars (2006)

This film (IMDB) is currently on Netflix Instant.

Directed by Richard Lowry
Starring Bryan Bodine

Posted by Danny

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