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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Monday June 15, 2020 

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"There has hardly been a critic from Urban Cinefile to Uranus that hasn’t loathed Mission to Mars (the film). I should point out that I haven’t seen it myself – and everything I read encourages me to maintain the status quo in that regard.

Most of the criticism has revolved around a charge of style over substance, so there was no reason for me not to harbour high expectations of the Morricone score, particularly to a film with "Mission" in its title.

It certainly begins auspiciously, with a sparsely accompanied heartbeat (a splendidly effective strategy on Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, so why not Mission to Mars?). But the uninspired figure of ascending scales it introduces is, ironically, a major let down. If this is supposed to be taking us skyward, it does so with all the magic of climbing an extension ladder.

Gradually – via a slow moving sequence of lush strings and angelic voices – it segues to the main theme, which is, thankfully, the highlight of the score. Lyrical and lovely, the quietly contemplative melody evokes the subtle majesty of space and the mythical romanticism that has long been associated with the Red Planet.

All the great moments on this soundtrack are variations on this theme. Sadly, they’re punctuated by all manner of ambient electronic meanderings that sound like Morricone is randomly stuffing around with any old spacey blimp, bloop and glook patch on his synthesiser.

More original is the long passage of endless organ drones and repetitive bass pulses of the cue titled Towards the Unknown. It’s more original but a very bad idea. Akin to a forsaken piece of NASA space junk it goes nowhere slowly, and is almost painful to listen to.

If you don’t mind constantly cuing your CD player there are pleasures to be enjoyed from this soundtrack. But be sure to keep the remote at hand. If you simply let it play through, getting to the best bits will seem interminable, or at least like a long, slow trip to Mars without an in-flight entertainment system."
Brad Green

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TITLE: Mission to Mars

ID: HR 622572
Hollywood Records


PRODUCER: Ennio Morricone

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