5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A descent low budget sci-fi horror,
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This review is from: The Last Days on Mars [DVD] (DVD)
I was so looking forward to The Last Days On Mars. It seemed to be one of those movies that could take you by surprise and be a sleeper hit. Unfortunately the viewing public did not think so. I think I first caught sight of this movie by seeing a trailer for it on You tube. It looked fantastic and had so much potential. But I could not find a cinema in my area that ever screened it. I think the marketing and distribution campaign for this movie sucked, big time. How the hell can people view it if no one wants to screen it. Well either I missed the boat or it had a very, very limited theatrical run. Thus I turned to the Net to see it and it's a good job I did. I would have paid to see this little gem on the big screen because I eventually found out it's quite a descent low budget sci-fi horror.
This movie cost just £7,000,000 (estimated) to make and when you watch it, it seems as though it is in league with movies at least 3 or 4 times that budget and you should bare this in mind to really give the film makers the credit they deserve in making you believe it is more than it actually is.
Because this is a sci-fi movie you'd expect a lot of CGI but actually (and remember the budget) there is very little. The sets look great and most of the movie is shot on location in Jordan doubling for Mars which works nicely as well as sound stages for the interior scenes. All this works in favor for the movie giving it a sense of realism that masses of green screen and digital matt paintings would not. When watching it I was reminded of 2001 and Moon it has that kind of feel to it in terms of art direction. Probably the biggest strain on the budget might have been securing the two American actors, Liev Schreiber and Elias Koteas which make up a cast filled mainly with British actors. Schreiber's involvement gives the movie pulling power from a marketing point and he is a fairly descent actor so I was happy that he took a chance on this project.
Now the story. Well, it really deliver's nothing that breaks the mold or sets a bench mark in this kind of genre but it handles it's limitations well and deliver's some nice tense scenes and the odd shock. However if you have seen Ridley Scott's Alien (and lets face it who hasn't) then again you have seen this kind of thing before. There are no aliens here though. Only a microscopic virus which changes infected persons into Zombie like crazies much like 28 Days Later and World War Z. That said, it's an enjoyable ride while it lasts and should be viewed on it's own merits rather than being compared too much to other movies such as mentioned here. I for one enjoyed it a lot even though I would have liked to have seen it on the big screen. I know there are some people out there that will slate it and hate it and well, you can't please everyone but for a low budget British movie it looks visually stunning and proves you don't need massive amount of money to fund a movie just to make it look amazing. Note to the producers though, you need to put more into the marketing. I bet this movie passed a lot of people by the first time around and in doing so it did not make up it's returns at the box office. A real shame.
So then. If you liked Alien, Moon, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Mission to Mars, Pandorum, and Prometheus you should really give this one a go. It may end up hitting the Zombie genre rather than bringing us something unique but then again I don't think I have seen a Zombies in space film before this. I for one will be ordering this, probably on Blu-ray as soon as Amazon gets a release date. I just hope there are some nice bonus features to look at as well.