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Mission to Mars (2000)

Mission to Mars (2000)

Chapter 25 Mission to Mars (2000)
Brian De Palma's Split-Screen
Douglas Keesey
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter investigates themes of innocence and childhood in the 2000 film, Mission to Mars. The story follows a group of astronauts as they journey toward the titular planet and uncover its secrets. This chapter asserts that the “fraternal” rivalry among three of the main male characters in the film mirrors the relationship De Palma has had with his brothers, and moreover depicts his childhood fondness for science fiction—a trait that he likewise shares with his brothers. It argues that the film can be seen as De Palma's attempt to imagine a way beyond male rivalry, whether that competition occurs between the film's protagonists, the De Palma brothers themselves, and De Palma's rivalries with other filmmakers. The film, however, proved to be far too idealistic for audiences to swallow, and would recoup a modest return on its $100 million budget.

Keywords:   Mission to Mars, fraternal rivalry, male rivalry, innocence, childhood experiences, science fiction

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