Somebody over at the studio behind The Last Days on Mars screamed “We gotta make a movie, set in Mars“. And the board members all replied “We already have enough of them, Mission to Mars, Red Planet, Total Recall” and this other guy screamed again “Aha, that’s where you guys go wrong….our movies will have zombies…friggin…ZOMBIES!” Applause! Applause! And that’s how The Last Days on Mars came into being.
I was mildly intrigued when I saw the previews, it had everything going for it, a star studded cast, passable CGI and something sinister which I was unable to figure out from the 2 minute montage. In a nutshell The Last Days of Mars is a zombie movie set in…no points for guessing…Mars! Its not sci-fi per se, it could easily slide into the horror genre. We’ve already got our fair share of Mars-Horror movies, John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars, Red Planet, Mission to Mars etc. So whats so special about The Last Days of Mars you ask? Absolutely Nothing!
I still don’t get how this screenplay ever saw the light of the day. It seemed like it was written by an adolescent young ‘un who wanted to see zombies on space. We’ve seen that in John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars before and it was quite evident that it didn’t work out so well. The movie felt a decade too late. This could very well be made by Romero and might as well be called Mars of the Dead.
First off, two things: the movie Gravity is likely the most realistic space travel-based movie ever made. And post Gravity, no other space movie would feel the same. The budget of £7,000,000 shelled out on The Last Days of Mars where nowhere seen onscreen. Except for the Rovers, everything else felt cheap. Has a serious vibe that its all onstage and neither does it have any authenticity to pull off that things are happening on Mars.
How did the actors get convinced to act in this movie? Were they forced to at gun point? Just don’t get it. Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas, Olivia Williams and Romola Garai, seriously? Olivia and Liev was among them to atleast have laudable performances. On another note I found Liev in a role that’s actually quite warming than menacing. Having him among the cast makes for an interesting question leading to the fate of the movie at the same time making it predictable… Is he going to make it?
Based on the short story ‘The Animators‘ by Sydney J. Bounds and The Last Days on Mars was meant to be just that, a short story. Having seen Ruari Robinsons’ BlinkyTM and Silent City, it was unfortunate that The Last Days on Mars wasn’t made a short, which would have done it good. Its watchable only if u like zombies. I do like em but even that fondness didn’t redeem this movie for me. It was not unforgivably disappointing though. Its got an admirable pace and before testing your patience things get awry and its as good as any B-movie can get so if you set your expectations so, the better.