We gave it a C
It’s the future, and Greenpeace is screaming ”I told you so!” Earth’s an overpopulated, polluted dump, so an astronaut team rockets to Mars to create Earth 2 — and gets marooned. ”I kind of play the janitor,” says Kilmer of his tech guru turned reluctant hero. Such circumstances provide for much existential angst in a project once called ”Alone.” A bleak part of Iceland was cast as the Red Planet, until an algae outbreak spoiled its desolate look. Instead, deserts in Australia and Jordan assumed the role. ”We really didn’t have to act,” says Kilmer. ”If you run up a hill, and it’s 110 degrees, you LOOK like you’re on Mars when you get on top.”
Though ”Planet” bears marks of ”The Matrix” (production designer, sound effects supervisor), it doesn’t have a seal of approval from NASA, which objected to the depiction of squabbling astronauts. Producer Mark Canton says bumping the film from summer to fall made time for finishing more than 700 F/X shots, and kept it away from ”Mission to Mars.” ”Frankly,” says Canton, ”I wanted to get as great a distance as possible from any association to any Mars movie, good or bad.” GOOD SIGN With a sexy but inexpensive cast, most of the $70 mil budget is probably on screen. THEN AGAIN Does Hoffman, a commercial director making his film debut, have the right stuff?