A look at sci-fi Hollywood films based on the planet Mars

Whether they are little green men or giant aliens, Hollywood's fascination for planet Mars continues

India's recent mission to planet Mars has been touted to be less than the budget of the 2013 Hollywood space film, Gravity. At around $74 million, it was way short of the budget of the George Clooney-Sandra Bullock flick which was pegged at $100 milion.

Mars being the closest planet to Earth, has always fascinated us. Though India's space agency has released pictures of Mars, taken by its satellite, Martians are depicted as little green men or giant aliens in Hollywood flicks. Here's a look at some of the sci-fi films based on the red planet.

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
This flick occupies pride of place on the list of the worst films ever made on the red planet. Directed by Nicholas Webster, it stars John Call as Santa Claus. The story revolves around how the Martians, upset that their children have become obsessed with Santa Claus, hatch a plan to kidnap him. The Martians bundle Santa to Mars, but Santa ends up spreading cheer among Martian kids.

Mars Attacks! (1996)
Mars Attacks!
Based on the cult trading card series of the same name, the comedy sees the Earth invaded by Martians with invincible weapons and a cruel sense of humour. The cast included Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Natalie Portman and Sarah Jessica Parker. An army of Martians surround Earth in flying saucers with an intention to colonise Earth. The filmis about how the American President deals with the threats.

Total Recall (1990)
Total Recall
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone headlined the cast in this film about a man who goes on a virtual vacation to Mars. However, a harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real.

Species II (1998)
Species II
After returning from the first successful manned mission to Mars, the astronauts are forbidden from sexual activity for a certain time. However one of them disregards the diktat and turns into an alien. Directed by Peter Medak, it starred Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger — who were also part of the first installment, Species (1995), which was about scientists tracking down a killer alien seductress.

RocketMan (1997)
This comedy was directed by Stuart Gillard, starring Harland Williams, Jessica Lundy and William Sadler. While preparations are on for a manned mission to Mars, an eccentric programmer finds himself hit by the model of the spacecraft that injures him. The Mars mission is in jeopardy as NASA has to decide whether to delay the programme or find a new person for the job.

My Favorite Martian (1999)
My Favorite Martian
Starring Christopher Lloyd and Jeff Daniels, the film is a comedy about a Martian who is bundled off to Earth and is intrigued by friendship bonds.

Red Planet (2000)
Red Planet
An Antony Hoffman flick, Red Planet is about astronauts searching for solutions on Mars to save a dying Earth, only to have the mission go terribly wrong. The cast included Val Kilmer, Carrie-Anne Moss and
Tom Sizemore.

Mission to Mars (2000)
Mission to Mars
In 2020, a manned Mars exploration mission backfires. American astronaut Jim McConnell then plans and coordinates a rescue mission for his colleagues. Brian de Palma's movie was high on special effects and starred Gary Sinise, Tim Robbins and Don Cheadle.

Ghosts of Mars (2001)
Ghosts of Mars
The movie is about human colonists on Mars who have to be rescued after they get possessed by Martian ghosts. The
action horror film directed by veteran horror director John Carpenter (The Thing) starred Natasha Henstridge and Jason Statham, but it proved to be a dud due to its ridiculous plot that gave way to laughter.

Lost on Mars (2002)
It portrays what it might have been like if Mars had a civilisation and an atmosphere billions of years ago. Written and directed by Eric Shook, the cast included David Long and Megan Glosser.

Doom (2005)
Inspired by the video game series of the same name, Doom tracks the journey of space marines who are sent to investigate strange happenings on Mars. Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, it starred Karl Urban and Dwayne 'The Rock'. The marines have to contend with humanoids with an artificial extra chromosome pair that makes them superhuman.

Mars Needs Moms (2011)
Mars Needs Moms
Simon Wells' film centred around Milo, a nine-year-old boy who finally comes to understand the importance of family, and has to rescue his mother after she is abducted by Martians.

John Carter (2012)
John Carter
The film is based on the book A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. A war veteran gets transported to Mars, which is inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. He is imprisoned, but manages to escape, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a saviour. The cast was headlined by Taylor Kitsch in the title role.


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