The Earthlings are coming, the Earthlings are coming...
Ray Bradbury's classic tale of a Mars landing and the colonization of Mars. This was a TV mini-series that aired in the late 70s. Rock Hudson, Bernie Casey, and Darren McGavin star, among others. The film's special effects were weak considering it was made post Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. In fact they probably had just enough money for the special effects in the middle part where the mysterious beings floated above the canyons, the rest of the effect were cheesy. Heck, even the original Star Trek's special effects were better. This movie was apparently made on the cheap. Charles Fries is probably best known for his fact based film "Crash"(a film based on the mysterious 1972 crash of Eastern Flight 401)and this was his swan song to get more variety in his repetoire. Its still campy but in a way, fun to watch. Not in one sitting. I still like the story and hopefully someday, someone might do the story justice someday with real effects and quality actors (not that Rock wasn't good)
The Martian Chronicles (2004, DVD)
I usually don't care for miniseries, but this one was different than most. I believed it aired on the NBC network for three nights in 1980.
When I was in high school, I was asked to write a book report on The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. It took me a whole weekend to read. I couldn't put it down!
This DVD is that miniseries. NBC did an excellent job in reproducing the book to film. They really followed the book to a "T" when it came to telling Bradbury's mesmerizing story. Good production values and a good story too, which told of a colonizing mission to Mars. We thought it was a dead planet, but there was still life underground.
Rock Hudson gave the performance of a lifetime playing Colonel John Wilder, who becomes the leader of the expedition. You also have Darren McGavin, Roddy McDowell and Bernadette Peters performing credibly in their roles.
Highly recommended for all Bradbury fans!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
The Martian Chronicles
This mini-series has some great moments as well as a few flaws. For one thing, the music isn’t all that great. We must remember that this film was made only shortly after Jerry Goldsmith (with Alien) and John Williams (with Star Wars) established a reasonable standard for science fiction film music. Prior to that, Sci-Fi music was all over the place, ranging from weird noises and woo-woo electronic music to failed attempts at terminal hip ness. I can’t listen to the soundtrack to ‘The 7th Victim’ without rolling on the floor laughing. Apparently, the producers of this film hadn’t got the word yet.
The special effects are also below the standards of the time. Forbidden Planet had better effects and it was made in the 1950’s. But this is what you get when you try to make a four hour and fifty-three minute film on a dollar and ninety-eight cent budget. The effects can be forgiven, the music cannot.
The real strength of this film lies in the acting and the writing.
Screenplay writer Richard Matheson, who wrote for Star Trek and Twilight Zone, relies heavily on Bradbury's narrative style. The result is a thinking man's, or woman's, science fiction film, rather than just another people in conflict story. The acting is pretty good as well. Everyone turns in good solid three dimensional performances, even in the smaller roles. Nobody's walks through this one. Special mention should go to Fritz Weaver whose portrayal of a priest driven too hard and too far by his faith strikes just the right balance between outward obsession and inner doubt. All in all The Martian Chronicles is worth the money. But don't expect square jawed heroes or gee-whiz effects.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
2-Disc DVD Set - The Martian Chronicles
When this 3 episode mini-series aired on TV in 1980, I missed part of it. (I didn't have a VHS at the time-not sure they were even available then!) I never saw it air again. When I was looking a eBay one day, I saw it! I just had to have it! And the price was great. After almost 30 years, I finally saw the part I missed. I loved reading Ray Bradbury novels and when they made this into a movie, I was very excited. It may seem a little hokey in this age of computer generated special effects, but I grew up on the original Star Trek. I love the movie!
Please read the book first. Then watch the movie. If you like Sci-Fi, I think you will enjoy it. Anyone for a quick trip to Mars?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
TItle was a litte terse but accurate
I had an old VHS copy of the second episode of the original made-for-TV mini-series and was very pleased to find the complete series available on DVD. Ray Bradbury's unique science-fiction storytelling is preserved well in this screen adaptation. Knowing what we now know about Mars sometimes gets in the way and one has to remember at the time the story was written and even when the films were made, little was know about our nearest planetary neighbor and the writer was free to imagine it as he chose based on the minimal information then available. The story is imaginative, the plot sometimes predictable, but overall it is an entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking movie. Science-fiction offcidandos, especially Ray Bradbuy fans, will find this to be a very satisfying addition to their collections. If you're like me, you'll watch it again and again.