Life on Mars? Why, yes there is…and it wants to kill us. That’s the premise of this Friday’s
and about a hundred more Hollywood movies about the Martian planet, inspiring this week’s gallery of the 24 best & worst movies and TV shows set on Mars. Get your ass to it! Life
(1964, 94%) Robinson Crusoe on Mars
The only movie about Mars you can find in the Criterion Collection, a Martian retelling of the Daniel Defoe classic novel.
(2015, 92%) The Martian
Smart, thrilling, and surprisingly funny, The Martian offers a faithful adaptation of the bestselling book that brings out the best in leading man Matt Damon and director Ridley Scott.
(2010, 85%) Mars
Remember the early days of this decade, when not even travelling 40 million miles through space could get you away from mumblecore?
(2015-present, 85%) The Expanse
The Expanse blends sci-fi elements and detective noir into a visually compelling whole, though it takes a few episodes for the story to capture viewers’ intrigue.
(1990, 82%) Total Recall
Under Paul Verhoeven’s frenetic direction, Total Recall is a fast-paced rush of violence, gore, and humor that never slacks.
(2006, 70%) Roving Mars
Roving Mars is a decent thrill ride even when it starts feeling like a commercial plug for NASA’s failing space program.
(1958, 69%) It! The Terror From Beyond Space
People living with the doors unlocked goes to far in the ’50s, when a skulking Martian beast walks onto a spacecraft through the entryway someone left open.
(2001, 64%) Cowboy Bebop: The Movie
This may be strictly for anime junkies, but they’ll find much to like about Cowboy Bebop‘s casual violence and cool dialogue.
(1955, 60%) Conquest of Space
A talky, realistic take on sci-fi more than a decade before 2001, about the first trip to Mars from an orbiting manned station above it.
(2016, 59%) Mars
Ron Howard’s direction ensures that Mars is an attractive endeavor, even if the show struggles to move smoothly between its documentary and fictional elements.
(2012, 51%) John Carter
While John Carter looks terrific and delivers its share of pulpy thrills, it also suffers from uneven pacing and occasionally incomprehensible plotting and characterization.
(2008, 50%) Christmas on Mars
The Flaming Lips funded and shot this cinematic stunt over several years about a colonist looking to put together Mars’ first Xmas celebration ever.
(1998, 40%) The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars
That feeling when your kitchen appliances accomplish more in life than you have.
(2011, 37%) Mars Needs Moms
The cast is solid and it’s visually well-crafted, but Mars Needs Moms suffers from a lack of imagination and heart.
(2000, 25%) Mission to Mars
Beauty only goes skin deep in this shallow but visually stunning film.
(1997, 24%) Rocketman
Employment rates were so high during the ’90s even Harland Williams could get the lead part in a Disney movie.
(1964, 24%) Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
The theatrical poster encourages you to get space-blazed to prepare for its goofy mix of sci-fi trinketry, slapstick, and wholesome family values.
(2001, 21%) Ghosts of Mars
John Carpenter’s Ghosts of Mars is not one of Carpenter’s better movies, filled as it is with bad dialogue, bad acting, confusing flashbacks, and scenes that are more campy than scary.
(2013, 20%) The Last Days on Mars
Neither intelligent enough to work as thought-provoking sci-fi nor trashy enough to provide B-movie thrills, The Last Days on Mars proves as cinematically barren as the titular planet.
(2005, 19%) Doom
Sure to please fans of the video game, but lacking in plot and originality to please other moviegoers.
(2017, 17%) The Space Between Us
The Space Between Us strands its star-crossed young lovers in a mind-numbingly vast expanse of shameless cheese that will send all but the most forgiving viewers eye-rolling for the exits.
(2000, 14%) Red Planet
Why Mars? It was the only place in the Solar System big enough to hold Val Kilmer’s ego back during the Batman days.
(1959, 0%) The Angry Red Planet
The creature feature ’50s couldn’t close out the decade without one last movie denigrating Mars, this one using a heady mix of animation and color filters to achieve its low-grade thrills.
(1967, 0%) Mars Needs Women
Having had its way with Moms, the neediest planet in the galaxy expands its taste to every last Earth woman in this groovy piece of garbage starring Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl in the Batman TV series.