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This week on The Sci-Fi Movie Podcast, Rem, Ian and Jonathan continue exploring Mars colonization themes by comparing Mission To Mars with Red Planet and post the question: Which movie is better?

The PositiveBoth movies delivers strong visual and sound effects, and we saw strong casting in each. We tended to prefer the story and character development in Mission To Mars. So when people inevitably start dying, we tend to care more about those characters. Red Planet had a cool robot...

The NegativeEven with relatively strong casting, both movies suffered from clunky dialogue and poor character development. Regardless of which story is playing out, poor character development made us care very little about the plight of either Mars crew.

The VerdictYou can skip both of these and go watch The Martian.


 Listener Feedback

We asked you: Which was the better movie?

Anthony FarnsworthNot the val kilmer one

Audrey SrodI like my horror films, so I like Red Planet more. It has a darker feel to it, I like the action, & those Alien bloodsuckers. Both movies have good actors, however Red Planet has hotter looking actors/actresses.

Steve FergusonNeither were great, but I liked Red Planet more. Mission to Mars got a little too silly at the end, like they were aiming for The Abyss but failed.

Brian CampbellI'll swim upstream on this one and say that Mission To Mars was the better produced and acted of the two. Yes, it quickly devolves into schmaltzy sentimentality. Yes, Jerry O'Connell should be relegated to cheap SyFy Channel movies. But these are overcome by stellar (see how I did that?) performances from the other actors, pretty solid special effects (except for the CG alien) and I liked the positive joy joy feelings that it inspired.

Doug FergusonIt's been ages since I've seen either. What I remember is that Mission to Mars was pretty good except the final act which sucked so bad that it ruined the whole movie. Honestly, one of the worst movie endings ever.Red Planet... I know I saw it, but I barely remember anything. So, what's worse: it being so unmemorable that it leaves no lasting impression or being memorable because it sucked?

Anthony RooneyOh, forget silly competitions, I'm not doing that. Mission to Mars is a superb movie and one that I find myself returning to time and time again. I disagree - strongly - with the negative comments above regarding Jerry O'Connell and the ending. I have no problem with that actor or the character he was portraying, and the ending, even though it left one wondering what happened next (for one crew member in particular), was a satisfying one. PS I was overjoyed to find a Mission to Mars ride at Disneyworld in Florida, a few years ago when I visited - give it a whirl if you're ever in the vicinity.

Nigel RudyardEr, Red Planet is rubbish. Val Kilmer's in it. Boss soundtrack though.


Dusty TweedhopeThis is a tough pick... Simply because I thought both films were bad. I remember seeing them when I was younger, and not enjoying it. I thought another view may reveal things I missed, or didn't appreciate, but no. Still no dice.I guess if I had to pick one, I would pick Mission To Mars. Although the scene when they meet the aliens, was one of the cheesiest scenes I've ever seen. I found the story to be somewhat better, and the effects were decent, but still, the ending was a big killer for me.

The Red Planet, I found to be so, so bad. An astronaut Val Kilmer who has to be told to spit his gum out, and take off his super cool sunglasses, and generally comes across as a badass rockstar...What the F.The rest of the movie I found to be full of scientific inaccuracies, lacklustre effects, and a story that really came across as uninteresting. Again, no dice.At least Mission to Mars had an element of mystery with the mysterious alien civilization, which added to the story. I found it at least left the viewer needing some kind of an answer. Too bad the answer was cheesy as balls.I love space movies, but these two missed the mark for me, and make me glad that Ridley Scott gave us the great Mars movie we have all been waiting for.

Nick JensenYes! The Mission to the Red Planet Smackdown, two great essential sci-fi classics! They need to get on the sarcasm font tech. These movies are in the Armageddon/Deep Impact vein, similar themed movies coming out at the same time. Neither are great movies but there are things to enjoy in both. On paper Mission to Mars has the better cast and director, but I find Red Planet the more watchable movie. Both are flawed attempts to explore mankind's first trips to Mars, hoping The Martian did this theme justice (haven't seen it yet!).

Fox SterlingRed Planet! Val Kilmer Dude!Been playing the new Metal Gear Game and I started listening to your podcast during the side ops. You guys are great! I've been flying through the episodes. Thanks for all the entertainment guys!

Roger Cousineau (The Geek haven't seen any of them and I bet that none of you are going to convince me otherwise.

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Sci Fi Movie Podcast The Red Planet SmackDown