director Ruairí Robinson
My little foray into movies of “our solar system” stemmed mainly from the 1950’s era of science fiction, pre-lunar landing. But as I thought out the theme of films regarding space travel to or from the planets and moons of our little piece of the universe, I was struck that this is still ripe material. In a few short weeks, Ridley Scott’s The Martian hits theaters and in many ways, though things have changed, some themes have not.
The Last Days on Mars I’ve had in my queue for some time. I don’t recall reading about it when it came out, so really didn’t know a whole lot about it. It stars Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, and Olivia Williams as part of a team of scientists studying Mars, only a few short days before leaving the planet, the first human visitors whose research has been somewhat of a bust.
That is, until on a last sojourn, one of the guys discovers an organism, microscopic but organic and alive! This would be great and all, but this organism is some form of parasite that kills you and burrows into your brain, re-animating your corpse and turning Mars into a world not unlike that of The Walking Dead. From here on out, it’s essentially a zombie movie on a barren and dangerous planet, hoping for rescue by the ship that is meant to pick you up. But now, you might be bringing the ultimate contaminant to Earth.
Outside of vague parallels to the awesome Planet of the Vampires (1965), the film isn’t anything very special or original. But I guess that was my idea in looking at films about local space travel in the first place. I also didn’t think the film was too bad.