STUDIO:  Buena Vista Home Entertainment
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME:  40 Minutes
• Bonus movie: Mars and Beyond, Walt Disney’s 1957 investigation into the mysteries of the universe and space travel
• Mars: Past, Present and Future: Personal reflections on Mars from the filmmakers, JPL Rover team members, and students from the "Imagine Mars" program

The Pitch

Mission to Mars meets Short Circuit.


Johnny 5’s out trollin’ for robot ass.

The Humans

The crew of scientists and engineers who made this attempt at history possible as well as the silken voice (and what salad dressings!) of Paul Newman.

The Nutshell

Man make robot. Robot go space. Robot take picture. Man celebrate.


You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the IMAX panoramic view of Danny Trejo’s profile.

The Lowdown

There’s something just moving about movies like this, where the effort takes on a epic scale so one feels like these accomplishments just aren’t those of the men and women who created the rovers and the spacecraft to safely carry them to Mars, but that of the entire human race. That Disney sense of wonder is a perfect match for the IMAX documentary aesthetic, really displaying full out why the things that comprise our universe are pretty fucking cool. It’s the type of film that will enchant kids and adults alike and leave them abuzz with the possibility of life that our universe offers.

A nice touch on the filmmaker’s parts were not having a celebrity voice narrate the entire piece (Paul Newman provides the introduction); having astronomer Stephen Squyers provide the voiceover works perfectly as his excitement for the proceedings is palpable and transfers over to the audience over the running time. The computer-rendered reenactments of the deployment, landing, and movement of the rovers on Mars is absolutely fantastic and in the case of the latter, completely realistic. The sequence showcasing how the rovers get sent to Mars is a delightful bit of business as the craft constantly breaks down into smaller parts, a sci-fi take on the nesting dolls of old, something that you wouldn’t believe to be real until you see it. The scads of footage of the assembly, testing and monitoring of these rovers is also a treat as the tension in the room is palpable as the NASA scientists and engineers await a signal back from their first rover after he’s landed on Mars. 

Overall, this isn’t a monumental success of a picture (the running time almost ensures it’s slight, although it still feels epic in scope despite it’s television episode length), but it’s the type that makes you proud to be human (which is a rarity these days, considering the current landscape) and is an appropriate monument to the achievements that science can bring forth. It’s also a beautiful IMAX film that shows us heretofore unseen landscapes of Mars that make the universe feel a little bit smaller, but it’s almost a comforting feeling of insignificance knowing that life did and most likely will continue to persevere elsewhere.  Reccommended.


"…as my robot accomplice, the Hebrewmash 5000, will demonstrate to you now."

The Package

The cover art is acceptable, but not particularly dynamic. Of course the film is going to be pimped out in the A/V category due to its former IMAX status, so it’s no surprise that all is well on the technical front. As for extras, it would seem Disney realized a 40 minute IMAX film does not a feeling of completeness engender, so they bulked this fucker up with some substantial goodies. First up is the “Mars: P, P & F” featurette which goes a little more in depth into certain aspects of the filmmaking process and how the project came into fruition while also supplying more great info on the rovers and the engineers who helped create them. All in all, it’s all interesting stuff and a worthy supplement to the film itself. The real jewel of the disc though is the 1957 Walt Disney program “Mars and Beyond”, which is just a really fascinating glimpse into the mindset of space exploration in the 1950’s, as well as an extremely imaginative platform for all different kinds of fantastic 2-d animation. It may not seem like a substantial amount of extras, but when one considers the bonus material doubles the running time of the feature, you begin to see why they’re such welcome accompaniments.

7.7 out of 10


Although everyone else had grown tired of Jeremy’s Ace Ventura impersonation, Rod continued to goad him on incessantly.