Firstly i need to hold my hands up and say that the Flaming Lips are just about my favorite band, so i think this review will be a little over generous to their latest project.
Essentially Wayne Coyne's pet project for the last decade, Christmas On Mars finally gets its release, and i for one am relieved because it will hopefully mean the band will shift focus and release a new album, and then tour it, which lets face it is all that fans like myself really want from the band.
What fans do get is a well conceived package of music and a slightly offbeat science fiction movie that is equally full of the bands trademark,oddness and optimism, whilst maintaining the independence of spirit that the Flaming Lips guard so lovingly.The Fearless Freaks or UFO's At The Zoo this ain't, but it is made with sincerity and is the culmination of many years work for Coyne and the band.
On some levels Christmas On Mars is a homage to b'movie sci fi that appeared to have a major significance in the Coyne household, and is an attempt to write a movie based on a mythical story from Waynes childhood.However, this is not a great movie, merely a chance to lay to rest a major artistic ghost from Wayne Coynes past.The influence of John Carpenters "Dark Star " should also be mentioned, as the same sense claustrophobic boredom is evident in Christmas On Mars.
The soundtrack is welcome if only for some new Flaming Lips music, and although mainly instrumental, its debt to the film scores of Vangelis is notable,and does its job in complimenting the visuals.
Christmas On Mars is not a concert movie, or a documentary, but it adequately perpetuates the Flaming Lips reputation as true musical mavericks.Nothing more, nothing less.