Red Planet

Red Planet (2000)
Warner Home Video
Cast: Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Terence Stamp, Carrie-Anne Moss
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Cast & Crew Filmographies

In the 21st century, Earth is dying. Starved of food and water, mankind has to look in space for new supply sources and a mission to Mars is initiated. Sadly the missions goes awry when AMEE, the ship’s robot is malfunctioning and set on a mission to destroy the crew. Upon trying to escape form the lethal machine, the crew also find out that Mars is not as uninhabited as we always thought. There is life, and it too, is out to prey on the crew members.

As you can certainly tell form this brief synopsis, ’Red Planet’ doesn’t offer much new in terms of its story. While the film is beautifully lensed and offers some great effects, the plot is just too predictable and familiar to really excited viewers. From ’Dark Star’ to ’Moon 44’ and ’2001’ most plot points have been visited before in comparable films.

Warner Home Video brings us ’Red Planet’ in a great looking anamorphic widescreen transfer. Hardly surprising given the film’s recent production date, the print is without any flaws or blemishes, creating a perfectly stable and clean presentation. The image reveals an incredible amount of detail that brings out the best of the movie’s production design and its cinematography. Colors are incredibly rich, yet never oversaturated, and with its deep blacks, the transfer renders an image that is very dimensional with plenty of visual depth. No compression artifacts are evident anywhere in the transfer.

The DVD’s 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track is equally impressive. Voluminous and with a powerful dynamic range, the audio presentation perfectly suits the subject matter. With crystal clear high ends and a strong bass extension, the track makes very good use of the entire 5.1 setup and directs quite some signal to the LFE channel. Surround usage is very aggressive and highly effective, making ’Red Planet’ a true audio powerhouse.

The only extras found on disc are eight deleted scenes, presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, and selected cast & crew filmographies.
’Red Planet’ is not a bad film by any means; it is just not very imaginative. If you can look over that aspect of it, the movie makes for some great entertainment with suspenseful action in space.