Red Planet

Posted by barb on May 15, 2004 in Movies |

2/5 stars

I was ready to put all the bad science behind me and just enjoy a good sf movie, but there were so many other holes in the plot that I just couldn’t do it. For example, at one point, the surface navigation robot, AMEE, gets switched into “military mode” from “navigation mode,” and overhears the team members saying that they need to “kill” her to get the power they need for something (I already forget). Instead of killing them outright, she just maims one and runs off. Gallagher, Val Kilmer’s character, explains that she’s playing war games, and will come back and kill them one by one. Huh? She was clearly having no trouble with the three of them, so there would be no reason not to just kill them then and there. Come on.

So, since it was so bad in other respects, let’s chronicle the bad science that I can remember:

  • Enough green algae on Mars will produce oxygen. Bloody unlikely — the green algae would die first.
  • Where there is oxygen and water, life will follow. Well, maybe, but it’s highly unlikely that the life will go from green algae to insane omnivorous bugs. Way more likely to be some variation on the green algae, and a long, painful path from plant-life to animal-life.
  • Mars will produce a breathable atmosphere in just a few decades (or less). Even with enough green algae alive and some kind of super bug, there ain’t going to be enough oxygen to have a viable atmosphere on Mars anytime soon.
  • Astronauts could survive on the surface of Mars for a day without protective gear. Even if I could believe that Mars could have a breathable atmosphere, there is virtually no protection on Mars from the harmful radiation of the Sun. On Earth, we have the upper atmosphere to protect us from the harmful radiation of the Sun (gamma-rays, X-rays, UV) On Mars, there would not yet be a complex-enough atmosphere for such protection. Even if the astronauts did survive a day without their helmets, they would have severe radiation poisoning.

That’s all I can remember for now. I’m not going to re-watch it just to find bad science.

Perhaps I could have enjoyed this movie if there had only been plot holes and no bad science or no plot holes with bad science, but I just couldn’t look beyond both.

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