Ghosts of Mars (2001) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Horror / Science Fiction
Sony || R - 98 minutes - $28.95 || March 31, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-04-17


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: John Carpenter
Writer(s): Larry Sulkis & John Carpenter (written by)
Cast: Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham, Clea DuVall, Pam Grier


Theatrical Release Date: August 24, 2001


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 3 Featurettes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Melanie (Natasha Henstridge) wakes up on a train, handcuffed to a rail above her head. The train has been put on auto-pilot to the station and soldiers approach it with caution to find Melanie in a dazed state. She appears a few days later before the council for questioning about what happened to her crew and on the planet Mars. We go into the flashback mode as she tells the story of the fateful adventure known as The Ghost of Mars. Thatís not what she calls it, but since I need to incorporate the movie title somehow into this review I figured that would be a good way to.

Melanie, along with Jericho (Jason Statham), Bashira (Clea DuVall), and Commander Helena (Pam Grier) are sent to a mining camp on Mars to rescue a prisoner and bring him back to their hometown to serve trial for crimes he committed. Heís a dangerous person, as though they learn he has killed people as well as stolen items, so they are to use extreme caution. James Williams (Ice Cube) is holed up in the town, but communication hasnít been had recently at the area so they are sent to investigate what happened and bring him back safely.

The group head off to the mining facility but struggle to find anyone. While searching the town for someone to help them out they find an arm that belonged to a female which has been severed. They decide to hasten their expedition on finding James, but find a prison full of other people who are holed up from something dangerous in the area. They donít really say much, but the group consists of people whose names donít matter since theyíll be dead at some point in the film and commit nothing to the movie. Everyone except Dr. Whitlock (Joanna Cassidy) who crash landed in a blimp (yes, you read that right, a blimp. The movie is set in the future but somehow a blimp is able to fly on the planet of Mars.) recently and came here to seek refuge. Refuge from what though exactly?

Jericho and Helena head outside to investigate the area, when they see get scared by a guy in one of the buildings who warns them not to open up a door nearby. He pleads with them not to, but Helena attempts to anyways and the guy slits his throat and dies in front of Jericho. Jericho tries to help the guy, and Helena vanishes into the background. He tries to find her but canít, so he returns to the group still in the prison. Meanwhile, they manage to find James locked up in a cell and let him out only for him to kick the crap out of both Bashira and Melanie. He also steals their guns and flees to another building to try and gain his freedom.

Melanie chases after James and catches him but not before getting attacked by former humans who are now infected with the ghosts from past deaths of other people. It doesnít make any sense what so ever, so just try and act entertained. James saves her by shooting the one attacking her, and then she returns the favor, and says that heís not the one you have to worry about on this planet, that these people are. Jericho stumbles around the area outside until he finds a strange woman carrying a cleaver and a head, which turns out to be, get ready for it, Helena! Spooky right? Not really, thereís another forty or so minutes that involve stupid plot twists that donít add anything at all to the already mundane script and a bunch of people die off.

This is just an awful film and I donít know how it was even made. Did anyone read the script and think ďWow, who in the world is going to want to see this?Ē In a horror film itís never a good idea to give the ending away to the film in the first two minutes and then tell the story of how everyone died. What fun is that? Another complaint is that this film looks like it was shot in 1980, as the special effects are lame as can be and the background/set used looks like crap. I could go on and on about how horrible this film is, but you should have already gotten the idea by now.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Director and Henstridge Commentary: If I hear one more commentary that starts off with ďThereís the logo for this company on screen nowĒ Iím going to stop listening to all commentaries forever. Itís not funny, it might have been ten years ago but when nearly everyone says it, itís not entertaining. Sorry, moving on. The two talk about the cast and the shooting of the movie in a delightful commentary that is by far more fun than the movie itself. Henstridge is cheery and Carpenter carries the more serious overtone, but it still is ten times better than the flick.

Video Diary (17 minutes): This is basically a making of feature, as it shows the location of the film and some of the scenes being shot. Not that interesting, other than the fact this movie somehow needed over 400 people to shoot.

The Music behind the Movie (6 minutes): The music is given its own feature for some reason, and provides some interviews with the bands that performed the musicís score.

Special Effects Deconstructions (7 minutes): Apparently this film had special effects, I had no idea. It takes a look at how some of the scenes were shot behind a green screen.

** BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES **
The only exclusive we get is BD-Live, and thereís nothing available other than the usual items such as previews for other Sony films and trailers.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

It takes a lot for me to loathe the video quality of a film, but this one made me sad right off the bat. Noise and grain is abundant in nearly every scene of the film, and at times makes the picture look more like a DVD rather than a Blu-Ray. Colors also appear washed out and faded, and contrast is also an issue in multiple scenes. Some were too bright and others darker than they should be. There isnít really anything I can say that is good about this transfer; it looks more like an up converted DVD than anything else.

The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is underwhelming as well and I found it to be disappointing. It starts off loud and surrounds engaged, but after the first thirty seconds it dips into major dialogue territory and surround use was minimal after that. Even the movieís many actions scenes sounded dull and flat. Dialogue levels were also inconsistent throughout, as at times the levels were too high and others fell short. This honestly sounded more like a non-high def track than a TrueHD track, especially one coming from Sony who is normally spot-on with their audio.



.::OVERALL::.

With an incredibly stupid story, bad visual effects, and some of the worst acting ever imagined possible, Ghost of Mars will go down in history as one of the worst Sci-Fi/Horror films to ever be made. The technical package is also just as bad, sporting below-average video and audio with a special features package just as lame as the film. This is one ghost to not bother chasing after, even with those guys from that ghost hunting show helping you.