It was, the IMAX mini-doc Roving Mars tells us, the equivalent of launching a basketball from Los Angeles to New York City and sinking the shot without hitting the rim. It was also, to stick with the sports metaphors, a ”300-million-mile interplanetary hole in one.” In July 2003, two robot rovers bearing a mild resemblance to Short Circuit’s Johnny Five zoomed across the universe and, six months later, landed right where they were supposed to…on the surface of Mars, where they proved conclusively that the planet once contained, as the oh-wow narration fetchingly tells it, ”wine red pools under a pink Martian sky.” So maybe, 3 or 4 million years ago, there really was life on Mars. The mission is an impressive coup for NASA — these scientists are smart! — but it doesn’t quite slam-dunk as a fully satisfying IMAX experience. The rovers radioed back real, IMAX-ready stills of Mars, but only a series of pics featuring a set of strange little nodes that look like blueberries planted in a pile of red rocks carry any kind of translatable otherworldly kick. The other true-life snaps get buried under a ton of CGI imagineering, which drains their impact. The real Mars, in this film anyway, doesn’t compare with the fake one.
(Roving Mars: JPL/NASA/Caltech)
Genre: Documentary; Director: George Butler; Runtime (in minutes): 40; Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Posted February 1 2006 — 12:00 AM EST
- A$AP Rocky dropped his new album at midnight
- Even Taylor Swift's mom thought it was 'Starbucks lovers'
- Two of B.B. King's daughters allege father was poisoned by employees
- Hear Icona Pop's new single 'Emergency'
- 'It' on hold; director Cary Fukunaga exits
- 'Jurassic World' director Colin Trevorrow dishes on deadly new dino Indominus Rex
- Drake: 'Madonna' out, 'Rihanna' in?
- 15 scary movies we saw as kids... that still haunt our nightmares
- Summer Movie Preview: 10 must-see documentaries
- 'Fear the Walking Dead' First Look: 7 photos from the set
- Cannes 2015: What's buzzing in film and fashion
- 'Survivor': Meet 20 alums you picked for a 'Second Chance'
- George & Amal, Prince Harry, Ansel Elgort & More!