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John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Discussion

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John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Discussion

Old 01-27-03, 04:04 PM
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John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Discussion

I like this movie a lot. I wanted to start a discussion because I donít see this much maligned film mentioned around here too much. I watched it again over the weekend and also noticed something today on IMDb.

First of all, I donít think it was any mistake that they filmed this whole film on an Indian Reservation in New Mexico. The film is clearly a western set in space. I think that the ďGhostsĒ of Mars are intended to be an allegory for Indians. When one is killed the ghost leaves the dead host body and takes over another body. This could be read allegorically as a comment on the enduring legacy of violence against Indians.

I also noticed at IMDb that the Natasha Henstridge character was originally to be played by Courtney Love. With Ice Cube and Courtney Love in the movie it would have been out of control rock and roll/western/sci-fi. I would guess that Carpenter wanted Rob Zombie or Marylyn Manson as the head Martian, but couldnít get them. He doesnít mention any of this in the rather s**ty commentary on the DVD. Does anyone know if there is any truth to this? Did Carpenter want to make a rock and roll sci fi western?

Last edited by Pants; 01-27-03 at 04:08 PM.
Old 01-27-03, 06:07 PM
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I thought it was okay.Nothing special but still pretty good.
Old 01-27-03, 06:55 PM
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I really enjoyed this movie. Not classic Carpenter, but better than a lot of thrillers released nowadays.

I liked just what you said about it - it was a Western set in space - and a good one at that. It is what it is. Not going to win any awards - nor should it, but it was a great B movie...make that a B+ movie. Another great score from Carpenter as well.

Old 01-27-03, 09:48 PM
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I also liked this movie. Just a fun action movie. My only problem was the "western" thing.

He already did it in Vampires.
Old 01-27-03, 10:00 PM
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Re: John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Discussion

Ghosts is pretty much a remake of Carpenters own Assault on Precinct 13 which was his original take on the under-seige type western.
Old 01-27-03, 10:58 PM
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Pleased to see that fans of this one are out there - wasn't easy to find very many at the time of the theatrical release, or even when the DVD first came out. It's by no means a "great" movie, but it is thoroughly enjoyable.
Old 01-28-03, 01:19 AM
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I liked the movie. Is it great? No.

Is it a good movie? Yes!

Of course everyone I know thinks I am crazy for liking this movie
Old 01-28-03, 07:55 AM
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Re: John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Discussion

Originally posted by Pants
I like this movie a lot. I wanted to start a discussion because I donít see this much maligned film mentioned around here too much. I watched it again over the weekend and also noticed something today on IMDb.
Funny that someone who likes Idi i smotri also liked Ghost of Mars. Here's how I saw it: My roomate and I stayed up on a worknight past 1am to see it and at the end we were mad we stayed up that late. But, to the movie's credit, we did stay up and it kept us interested while we were very sleepy -- I give it 2.5 stars overall, 3 for the genre.
Old 01-28-03, 12:44 PM
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Re: Re: John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars Discussion

Originally posted by The Bus
Funny that someone who likes Idi i smotri also liked Ghost of Mars.
I like everything
Old 01-28-03, 12:59 PM
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To be honest, I don't think I'd like it as much if Courtney Love was the lead instead of Natasha Henstridge.
Old 01-28-03, 06:22 PM
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Didnt like it much but I will agree some of the death sceens where well done kept me in the mood to watch the hole movie,im a Carpenter fan so I had to.
Old 01-28-03, 11:51 PM
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For the most part Carpenter seems to work in two arenas: horror (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, In the Mouth of Madness, etc.) and over-the-top action/comedy (Escape From NY/LA, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live). Of course there is stuff like Memoirs of an Invisible Man and Starman, but those seem to be the exceptions.

Ghosts of Mars seemed like an attempt to marry his two main genre styles. (I've never seen Vampires, so I can't comment if it did this as well). I found it entertaining, but disappointing since I know what Carpenter is capable of. The structure was disjointed, and the flashback within flashback thing was just a poor storytelling device.

The basic idea had promise, but Carpenter unwisely played the middle road between those genres too well. So it ended up not as suspenseful as The Thing, but not as fun as Big Trouble or Escape. It's one of my least favorite Carpenter films, but I still found it worth a watch.
Old 01-29-03, 02:21 PM
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I will also admit to enjoying this movie. I (and about 5 others) actually saw this in the theater. Since I am a sucker for SE DVD's. France has a nice 2 DVD set of this with a DTS track. Only problem with it is the French subs are force with the Dts track.

But after a second viewing I liked it even more. Great pounding soundtrack. The only thing I would have liked more is a little more background on the Ghost of Mars as to what their motivation actually was. But either way it was a kick a$$ flick! Great action and the setting was killer.
Old 01-29-03, 02:45 PM
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I might have to check this out, I never gave it a chance because the few people I know who actually watched it said that it was absolutely terrible and painful to watch. I had never heard another opinion before this thread.
Old 01-29-03, 06:27 PM
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For anyone who has not seen Ghosts of Mars (and is skeptical of doing so due to bad word-of-mouth), check out Ebert's 3-star review.

http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/ebert_...08/082403.html
Old 01-29-03, 06:41 PM
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Ebert gave it 3 stars but never bothers to tell us why he likes it.
Old 01-30-03, 03:06 AM
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Originally posted by Pants
Ebert gave it 3 stars but never bothers to tell us why he likes it.
I think Ebert makes his point clearly how he likes the movie. As for me, I enjoyed the movie a little, but that's all.
Old 01-30-03, 07:54 AM
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Originally posted by Pants
Ebert gave it 3 stars but never bothers to tell us why he likes it.
...a brawny space opera...

...The payoff is a series of well-staged action sequences, made atmospheric by the rusty red atmosphere which colors everything....

..."Ghosts of Mars" delivers on its chosen level and I enjoyed it...

...This one does have one original touch...
It does seem a bit light on the reasoning.
Old 01-30-03, 11:32 AM
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My point is simply that it doesn't read like a 3 star review. If I read the review without seeing the stars at the top I would guess he gave it 2 stars at the most. I'm glad he liked it, I liked it too.
Old 01-30-03, 02:54 PM
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It actually got 2 thumbs up from Ebert and Roper! They both liked it.
Old 01-31-03, 02:23 PM
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Some one loaned the me the movie a few weeks ago. Complete crap.
Carpenter has definitely lost his touch.

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