Blu-ray/DVD, Reviews

“MARS” a Taut Sci-Fi Drama Mixed with Reality

 

The 6 part miniseries “Mars” has arrived on Blu-ray and DVD and it’s so realistic you would think we have already settled a new world on another planet. The TV series ran on National Geographic in 2016 and the home video includes 8 bonus features including the prequel “Before Mars”. Your imagination will take over within 10 minutes of the first episode as it opens a new world to space exploration.

It’s 2033 and the crew of the space ship Daedalus readies themselves for take-off to the planet Mars. Their trip will take seven months to travel the 37,250,000 miles to the red planet and there’s a lot of excitement and apprehension in the control room. Aboard are Ben Sawyer (Ben Cotton) Mission Commander and Systems Engineer, Hana Seung (Jihae) Mission Pilot and Systems Engineer, Javier Delgado (Alberto Ammann) Geochemist and Hydrologist, Amelia Durand (Clementine Poidatz) Mission Physician and Biochemist, Marta Kamen (Anamaria Marinca) Exobiologist and Geologist, and Robert Foucault (Sammi Rotibi) Mechanical Engineer and Roboticist.

Amelie Durand (Clementine Poidatz), the mission physician, looks at Ben Sawyer (Ben Cotton).  (photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Robert Viglasky)

The trip to Mars goes without a hitch until they make a rough landing injuring a crew member and missing their intended site some 75 miles from their pre-established base. In the freezing cold they attempt to make the trip to the safety of their new quarters where they have livable air, food and water. Thus begins an adventure to save a life and the rest of the crew with limited oxygen in a robotic rover.

Ben Sawyer played by Ben Cotton, the mission commander, onboard the Daedalus. (photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Robert Viglasky)

The story goes on from there consuming the next 5 chapters with the compelling script turning up the excitement and danger as they try to exist on the barren planet. Director Everardo Gout takes on the ambitious endeavor that vacillates between 2016 where actual pre-prep for a trip to Mars has already been started and the fictional 2033 first trip to the Red Planet. He incorporates what NASA has done in the past with the current projects that include the recent return of Scott Kelly who was sent to the space station to show the effects of a prolonged stay on the human body. Also incorporated are archival film of launches that took place leading up to the Scott Kelly’s mission.

Jihae as Hana Seung, Mission pilot, systems engineer. (photo credit: National Geographic Channels/Robert Viglasky)

BONUS FEATURES: There are 8 interesting and exciting extras on the Blu-ray Disc and include the following.

“Making MARS”
“BEFORE MARS – A Prequel”
“BEFORE MARS Behind the Scenes”
“Getting to MARS Featurettes”
“Living on MARS Featurettes”
“More MARS Featurettes”
“Behind-the-scenes Featurettes”
“Cast & Crew Interviews”

“Mars” has been rated PG by the TV bureau and contains no offensive material except for peril and a fictional bloody medical procedure. National Geographic has announced that a second series has been green lighted.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A nicely produced series with a lot of energy and Sci-fi suspense.

Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Ben Cotton, Jihae, Alberto Ammann, Clementine Poidatz, Anamaria Marinca, Sammi Rotibi
Director: Everardo Gout
Based on a Book: How We’ll Live on Mars by Stephen Petranek
TV Rating: PG
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Running Time: 283 min.
Video Release Date: April 11, 2017
Original TV Release Date: November 14, 2016- December 19, 2016
Language: English (changeable to French, Spanish and others on the Blu-ray)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Video: Widescreen, 1080p Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Number of Discs: 3 Discs
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Released in: Blu-ray/DVD

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com