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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 7 March 2021

Movies about Mars: From 'The Martian' to 'Total Recall', classic films set on the Red Planet

Celebrate the UAE's space mission with one of these sci-fi flicks

'The Martian', 'Total Recall' and 'The Space Between Us' are three films set on Mars. 
'The Martian', 'Total Recall' and 'The Space Between Us' are three films set on Mars. 

Human fascination with Mars is nothing new. The Red Planet has long been mythologised in film, the setting for a host of pictures involving its rocky terrain.

With the hits come the flops when it comes to movies about Mars, so go into any vintage sci-fi flick with your eyes wide open ... or read the Rotten Tomatoes score.

As the UAE Mars mission gets set to make history with the Hope probe attempting to orbit the planet, here are six films to watch:

1. 'The Martian' (2015)

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

It almost feels too obvious, but it's impossible to write about movies set on Mars without mentioning Matt Damon's turn in Ridley Scott's The Martian. The Academy Award-nominated film tells the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who becomes stranded on Mars and his team assumes he is dead. Watney is left to rely on his ingenuity, trying to signal to Earth that he has survived.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 91 per cent

2. 'Total Recall' (1990)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

Expect gore, lots of gore, in this 1990's classic. Set in 2084, construction worker Douglas Quaid has a virtual holiday to Mars, meaning that scenarios are implanted in his mind. What follows is a chain of events that may, or may not, end up on the Red Planet for real.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 82 per cent

3. 'Red Planet' (2000)

Starring: Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss, Tom Sizemore

If cheesy vintage sci-fi is your thing, this is the film for you. Set in 2056, a team of astronauts and their robotic dog are on a mission to save humanity from an ecological crisis on Earth. They attempt to pick up tips on Mars, and naturally, it does not all go to plan.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 14 per cent

4. 'The Space Between Us' (2017)

Starring: Gary Oldman, Asa Butterfield, Britt Robertson

Who says that a science fiction movie can't also be romantic? The Space Between Us tells the story of Gardner Elliot (Butterfield), a boy secretly born and brought up on Mars when humans settle there. Fast forward 16 years, Gardner is a teenager who wants to move to Earth to meet Tulsa, a girl he has been talking to in an internet chatroom.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 16 per cent

5. 'Watchmen' (2009)

Starring: Malin Akerman, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Billy Crudup

Sure, this DC superhero movie is predominantly set on Earth, but Mars plays a key role when Dr Manhattan (Crudup) exiles himself to the Red Planet after it is speculated by a reporter that he is giving people cancer.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 65 per cent

6. 'Mars Needs Moms' (2009)

Starring: Seth Green, Joan Cusack, Dan Fogler

A family-friendly space flick, this animated Disney movie involves a mother (Cusack) being abducted by Martians, who are in need of Earth women to look after their baby aliens. Her tenacious son, Milo (Green), follows her to the Red Planet and embarks on a mission to get her back, building a greater appreciation for her along the way.

Rotten Tomatoes rating: 37 per cent

Updated: February 10, 2021 09:11 AM

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