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Stranded (2001)

July 27, 2012

MY CALL:  Mars has a secret, but it may not be worth the suffering through this film to get to it.  [C-/D]  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEADMission to Mars (2000), Red Planet (2000).  IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCHMoon (2009), Sunshine (2007), Alien (1979), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

The story swiftly begins when our crew crashes during their approach to Mars.  The low budget is evident from the beginning—largely due to the writing.  The dialogue is terrible, as is its delivery and the ill-felt sense of urgency.  Major problems are recognized as futile, someone immediately asks a question or suggests an overly simplistic solution, and in a total of ten seconds there is a solution—then wash, rinse and repeat for each problem they may encounter for the film’s duration.  Nothing like the nerve-tugging troubleshooting scenes of Apollo 13 when Gary Sinise was trying to beat the clock so that Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton wouldn’t run out of oxygen…and they were much closer than the 26 month journey from Earth to Mars.

“I just used this calculator and, by my calculations…we’re HOW far from Earth!?!  FML!!!”

“Listen to me. I’m a scientist. I’ve thought of everything!” –Vincent Gallo delivering, yes indeed, a direct quote from this stillborn menace of a film

More significant problems come when the five-man crew faces a moral dilemma: the oxygen, food, water and energy stores can only allow two individuals to survive long enough to be rescued…so three of them have to go (to their death, evidently).  Naturally, this is where the camaraderie and trust go out the window.  After a deliberation that lasted even less time than would drawing straws, the three “unnecessary” crew members suit up and leave the module to “walk around” until, I suppose, they die.

Where on this lifeless death orb shall we venture next as we run out of oxygen?

To give meaning to their final hours and to salvage some victory from this failed trip, the captain records their land travel in hopes of capturing something useful.  So off the wander, trying to fill screen time with insightful lines—and failing miserably.

Then they come across a cave, at which point the two in the space module have lost contact and camera feed and have just learned that the module’s energy won’t last more than 12 hours—down from two and half years!—by the time an alarm goes off because of some leak or something.

Believe it or not, a pertinent quote.

“Too bad we didn’t bring an archaeologist with us.”  He said when gazing upon the greatest discovery in human history. “An archaeologist would have killed us in cold blood for not taking precautions before coming in here and distorting everything with our fingerprints.”  She replied, her body completely encapsulated in a f***ing space suit!  Idiot writers.

As she comes across an even greater discovery (Than the greatest discovery in human history that they discovered five minutes prior? Nice pacing, writers.) she is practically apathetic!  Anyone would have been stunned—anyone!!!

This unfortunate film featured some recognizable names, and some not.  Vincent Gallo (Buffalo 66) is intolerably annoying, more as an actor than a character.  I actually can’t tell if the character is annoying, or meant to be, or not, since Gallo did such a shit job.  But not as much as Maria de Medeiros’ (Pulp Fiction)child-like demeanor; she can’t even say “shut up” or drop an F-bomb without it sounding forced.  But she did have the only genuine, intentionally funny moment.  Joaquim de Almeida (Desperado, Fast Five) offers the most tolerable performance.  Maria “Luna” Lidon narrates, acts and directs—she tries so hard, but the narrations are dry and you never feel the “deepness” you know she’s trying to achieve; it’s more of a kiddie pool than an oceanic abyss.  The worst actor by far is “Herbert” played by some nobody.  As they die off their deaths are so agonizingly bad to watch that you’re not sure it was worth it to not have to watch them act any more.

SPOILER ALERT!!!  They can breath!  How ironic since 30 minutes ago one of you ran out of oxygen and asphyxiated in your spacesuit.  Oh, and that’s not Mars’ secret.

All this to consider, I felt as stupid as the filmmakers for watching this POS.  It was a good idea.  But wait!  That idea was done twice just the year before (2000’s Mission to Mars and Red Planet).  Speaking of which…

Has there ever been a space mission movie that wasn’t met with catastrophe?  2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Sunshine (2007), Planet of the Apes (1968, 2001), Apollo 13 (1995), Apollo 18(2011), Alien (1979) to Prometheus (2012), Pandorum (2009), The Event Horizon (1997), Mission to Mars (2000), Red Planet (2000)…  Seems like even if the movie starts with someone returning from a space mission something bad has to happen, as in The Astronaut’s Wife (1999) or Species (1995).

If you actually want to see this it’s on Netflix streaming.  If looking for it online, include the year in your search as there are about 20 movies of the same name on IMDB.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2014 2:14 am

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering problems
    with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I cannot join it.
    Is there anybody else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the answer can you kindly
    respond? Thanx!!

  2. Pedro permalink
    November 16, 2015 10:13 pm

    you didn’t get the movie

    • John Leavengood permalink
      November 20, 2015 9:31 am

      That could be. Do you have a link to a review (yours or otherwise) that you’d recommend for another opinion? If so, please include the link in a comment.


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