Ghosts Of Mars Blu-ray Review

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Reviewed by Chris McEneany, 31st May 2009
Ghosts Of Mars is justifiably derided. It continues a ghastly career-decline from a former master of genre and reveals a treacherous lack of narrative understanding. From a hack filmmaker intent on shoving his exploitation-opus straight to disc, this would be have been true to form and quite acceptable, but from John Carpenter this is just further proof, if ever it were needed, that his golden apple has fallen very far its tree.

A worthless watering-down of what was fundamentally solid potential. Some atmospheric shots interspersed throughout turgid, ochre-tinted tosh can't save this 24-carat clunker. Being harsh on Carpenter for producing drivel like this is totally justified. No-one, but no-one is a bigger fan of his earlier films than me – as my other reviews will bear out – but Ghosts Of Mars is pure dreck that hurts like hell to sit through when you consider the talent that its maker once wielded and what could have been had he still been so inspired.

The intense lack of love for the movie shines through with its lack of interesting bonus material. Apart from the BD-Live, there is nothing here that wasn't available on the SD edition and certainly nothing that offers us anything even remotely rewarding. Ghosts Of Mars is a wretched film by anyone's standards – although obviously still a classic when compared to something from Uwe Boll – and I simply cannot recommend it. From any other director this would be pitiful, but from someone of Carpenter's pedigree this is unforgivable.

Unless you are a Carpenter-devotee, this is one to avoid.

Read the full review...
 
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Cinema Squid

Standard Member
Was the review copy actually a UK release and not a USA import?

The Amazon catalogue # listed on the specs tab (B001P3SAAI) refers to the region-free USA release, and I didn't know that this title was released separately in the UK on Blu-ray.
 

Alan_Be

Active Member
Interesting review, I have a slightly different take on John Carpenter and quite like this film! I also adore They Live and enjoy Vampire$.
I'm not a fan of Starman or Escape from LA (which I thought was a comedy remake of New York) and the reason, I think, is the lead characters. In Starman the lead character is not human, thus not a normal Carpenter lead.
What I'm leading up to is that the lead grow out of the story. If they are defined first leading the plot he's not the same storyteller, and I think that's what happened to this remake of Precinct 13.
Carpenter's work only really works when he's being original, and that includes The Thing, none of the characters are anything like those in the original film or book
I have a theory that he's been to film school around 2000, realised why his films work, but ironically that knowlege prevents him from repeating it, lightning in a bottle and he's broken the bottle, I hope to god one day he proves me wrong...
 

Chris McEneany

Well-known Member
Was the review copy actually a UK release and not a USA import?

The Amazon catalogue # listed on the specs tab (B001P3SAAI) refers to the region-free USA release, and I didn't know that this title was released separately in the UK on Blu-ray.

Hi there,

This is definitely a UK check disc - just received massively in advance, as sometimes happens. It is not yet available to buy in the UK. The US release has different TrueHD 5.1 languages than this one, and less subtitle options but, otherwise, they are the same. So, if you cannot wait for the UK release, then go for the American which, as you say, is region-free.

Cheers,

Chris McEneany :devil:
 

Cinema Squid

Standard Member
Ah yes, I should have noticed the language track differences since Sony USA usually only goes with French/Portuguese/Spanish audio options.

Thanks for the clarification!
 

MJeeves

Well-known Member
I'm not a fan of Starman or Escape from LA (which I thought was a comedy remake of New York) and the reason, I think, is the lead characters. In Starman the lead character is not human, thus not a normal Carpenter lead.

I've never seen "Ghosts of Mars" (It's the ONLY Carpenter films I've never seen. I actually REALLY rate "Starman". Great performances by Jeff Bridges and Karen Allen. It was very un-Carpenter though. :smashin:
 

petet66

Active Member
Don't believe all you read in this review - yes it's not a great film but ultimately the beauty of the best John Carpenter films is that they are B movies - but B movies with a craft and style that raises them above the majority of straight to DVD fodder. Big Trouble in Little China got slated on its release but watch it - it's actually pretty good as a low budget Indiana Jones. They Live is one of my favourite Carpenter movies and keeps its tongue firmly in its cheek throughout. Vampires similarly belies it's zero budget roots as does Ghosts of Mars (Apart from the train model which never looks anything other than a model sadly).

John Carpenter has a style and vision all of his own and I wonder if he ever aspires to direct an Oscar winner or whether he is happy making great horror movies on a Poundland budget.

I'll hold my hands up and say now that Mr C is my favourite director of all time so I'm biased (I'm not saying he's the best director, I'm saying my favourite) but really Ghosts of Mars isn't that bad. If you've got friends round for a horror movie marathon with beer, pizza and popcorn then the time you spend with this movie won't disappoint. But use it early on in the night while you're still warming up - don't save it for the grand finale :)
 

bookle

Active Member
stumbled upon this review, glad I don't read them here often.
Watching the movie would be quicker....:eek:
 

lee667

Distinguished Member
It's not one of his best films, and the acting is god aweful lol. I'm just waiting for Big Trouble In Little China, one of Carpenters best films imo.
 

de_fin_itive

Standard Member
The review was an enjoyable read, many thanks but you could be clearer on the verdict ;) because the film is a stinker, a turkey, an unmitigated disaster. No one should be inflicted with this dross of a film by a director who is spent.
If it was free in a news paper on blu-ray, I would not take it home. Just to be clear, it is woeful.

Seacrest out!
 

24 P

Well-known Member
I will defend JC here. I have most of his movies, he does not care what others think, he makes movies for himself to enjoy.. If you didn't enjoy it, he does not care that much.. Yes he is a renegade director, a mavrick, and thats why we get some of the best glimpses of real talent from him, some just dont work, but he continually experiments.. Kudos to him...
I enjoyed the movie, it was him at his older status with his unique input, not the greatest granted, but who cares, its still carpenter, take it for what it is...
 

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