Movie Review: The Last Days on Mars (2013)

Starring: Liev Schreiber, Elias Koteas and Romola Garai

Directed by: Ruairi Robinson

Coming to the end of their manned mission on Mars a group of astronauts discover some form of bacteria as a sign of life on the planet. They soon realise the horrifying impact this bacteria can have on the human body.

The only real draw that this movie had for me was Liev Schreiber who I consider to be a hugely talented actor who consistently delivers in a wide range of diverse roles. The sci-if element appealed to me slightly but I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to watch the horror side of the story develop. In my head I envisioned this movie to be a lot like Apollo 18 which was a bit of a car wreck of a movie but in Liev we trust so I was willing to see beyond my skepticisms and hope for a good movie.

The Last Days on Mars was quite a simple and easy movie to follow which didn’t try and be too intricate with its story as it was quite simply about a team of astronauts are coming to the end of their stay on Mars and it documents the team preparing to leave. As with all space movies, it’s never quite as simple as packing up your equipment and travelling home as there usually is something that happens which results in chaos. Here the chaos comes in the form of a bacteria that is found near one of their research sites which could be seen as the greatest possible find in human history, an answer to the question “are we alone?”. As with all living space organisms it’s not friendly to the team as slowly it begins to infect them one by one and all of a sudden it’s a race against time to get off the planet infection free and back home.

All in all the acting was fairly decent with nobody really standing out from the rest and Liev Schreiber was solid but failed to really show any kind of emotion until right at the very end. I really disliked co-star Olivia Williams but I think it was more the character than the person as her character truly was an awful person and regardless of whatever good deed she tried to do towards the end she failed to make me care about her characters demise, which was quite a welcome demise at that. The setting was quite simple but fitting to the movie as the Mars scenes were filmed somewhere in Jordan and looked spectacular at times. One aspect which was disappointing was the transition from sci-fi to horror happened all too quickly and it came rather early on in the movie too. Despite my initial hesitations towards the horror it was done surprisingly well as the movie remained quite tense throughout the last 45 minutes or so.

Overall, The Last Days on Mars was a fairly decent attempt at a sci-fi horror movie but could’ve toned down the horror slightly. Pretty decent effort from the cast collectively without having any standout performances. Worth a watch but probably wouldn’t revisit.

6/10

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