Mission To Mars is a real mess of a story about the how the first landing on Mars goes sour and the second wave crew that attempts to discover what happened. Also includes lots of interpersonal relationship stuff between crew members and their loved-ones back home. Note to Tim Robbins:
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 DVD exhibits image quality that is very impressive. Colors are vibrant and nicely balanced with accurate fleshtones and deep blacks. Images are sharp and detailed. The darkest scenes exhibit excellent visual information throughout, while colors remain bold with stunning contrast. The Mars scenes exhibit a reddish-orange filter, affecting all colors, but with that in mind, these scenes are wonderfully balanced. There are only occasional instances in which pixelization is noticed, as well as some isolated shimmering patterns, but edge enhancement is never a factor.
The same PCFriendly installation is used for this title, and after completing it you are brought to the DVD-ROM main menu. This menu is done well, with a simple theme that ties in perfectly with the movie. The options you are given from this menu are Play Movie, Enhanced Playback Track, Mission Specialist Exam, Website Archive, and Mission to Mars DVD Destination Site. One of the best features I have seen on a DVD-ROM title is the Enhanced Playback Track. This section takes you through the entire movie, highlighting scenes sometimes giving educational information as well as facts about the film. When stopping by on it while reviewing, I got so engrossed with this section I ended up watching half of the movie. The Mission Specialist Exam gives you 20 sections where you must test your knowledge. The questions here range from the order of the planets in our solar system, to what Robert De Niro's first film was. Some of the questions do get difficult for those who do not know much about the Universe. Lucky for me, there is a little handy button on the bottom labeled "Answer" that flat out gives you the answer to the question. The Website Archive section is really a series of Flash games, where you have to do everything from land on Mars to reconstruct a fragment of DNA. None of these sections are very difficult, and the only prize you get are three desktop images. The Mission to Mars DVD Destination Site will take you straight to the Internet to view the current Mission to Mars Web site. All this site includes is a promotion to buy the DVD or Video, and a link to the same game located in the Website Archive section. When trying to play the movie from the PCFriendly software, I was instantly brought to the Touchstone advertising agency, where I enjoyed the preview for Bicentennial Man. After this was finished, it brought me to the DVD-Video main menu, which works well with a mouse. Mission to Mars is nicely presented, with great attempts at games. Even without a script, this title is going to receive the highest rating possible, simply because of the educational superiority this title has over every other title released. (Danny Richelieu)
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