|Explaining the Genesis of Life on Mars
Kinky Friedman plays the President of the United States in the movie, “Mars.” Leveraging variously on being a humorist by profession, Friedman garnered more than 12 percent of the votes running for Governor of Texas in 2006. His well cast presence in this film is indicative of the low-key fun at hand.
Set in the not too distant future, this satire answers the question, “Is there life on Mars?”
The discussion could have gone something like this: “Is not.” “Is too.” “Is snot.” “Is too.” Yes, snot is involved early and throughout, but the humor is generally far subtler than that concocted exchange.
The lead trio in “Mars” are the astronauts sent to check out what needs investigating from previous robot missions. Interest in the space program has waned, and finding life on Mars could turn that around. The long flight time rocketing to the red planet attracts complications, including filling news/entertainment air from the interplanetary vacuum.
You’ll feel like everybody involved in making the film had a good time. The filmmaking may feel a bit too casual, but more likely than not, this will infect you for the better.
“Mars” makes fresh use of the rotoscoping style of filmmaking, where live actors make the movie, and then the reality they create is transformed into animation. The storytelling makes tried and true use of cuteness and crisis, of romance and individuality mixed with teamwork. The closest thing to a bad guy is the mission commander, but he’s just a tight-aired band leader – nothing a veteran space dancer can’t sashay around.
When Kinky Friedman is the biggest name in a film, it’s not likely to have much distribution beyond the film festival circuit. (Actually, much of the cast have decent young resumes.) Showcasing features such as “Mars” is one of the reasons to keep opportunities like the Nevada City Film Festival in mind.