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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Martian Chronicles (1980)

After two failed expeditions to Mars, a third mission proves successful. But not before one of the astronauts, an archaeologist (Bernie Casey), turns "Martian" and attempts to eradicate his fellow astronauts in order to save Mars from the corruption of humans. But it won't belong before the settlers arrive to colonize the planet. Loosely based on the 1950 book by Ray Bradbury, adapted for the screen by Richard Matheson (I AM LEGEND) and directed by Michael Anderson (AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS). Reputedly Bradbury wasn't pleased with this adaptation of his book but on its own, it's an intelligent well thought out piece of science fiction. Divided into three parts (The Expeditions, The Settlers, The Martians), the film touches on some interesting aspects of space colonization. Do we have the right to "invade" a world that has its own culture that is alien to us? The film's portrait of mankind isn't flattering at all but I wouldn't call it unfair either. Filmed in Malta and the Canary Islands which provide a nice substitute for the Martian terrain by Ted Moore (A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS). The film's running time pushes the five hour mark and is inhabited by many characters. Anderson's direction is decent although he seems to hold a shot much longer that he needs to instead of moving forward. The large cast includes Rock Hudson, Roddy McDowall, Bernadette Peters, Maria Schell, Darren McGavin, Fritz Weaver, Gayle Hunnicutt, Jon Finch, Barry Morse, Joyce Van Patten, James Faulkner, Nyree Dawn Porter, Barry Morse, Robert Beatty, Christopher Connelly and Michael Anderson Jr.       

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