Review: National Geographic ‘Mars’ Series Brings Space X Vision To Life
“Mars” brings Elon Musk’s Space X vision to life through cinematic engagement.
From executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, National Geographic’s series “Mars” is an informative series presented with a cinematic touch. Outlining the current state of Mars colonization, this series creates a fictional story based off of scientific projections. The duality of this series provides both an adequate amount of entertainment as well as information.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 3.5
It takes a bit of getting used to the flow of this series. At first it seems like a dramatic interpretation of an expedition to Mars with simultaneous shift between present and future.
Once the distinction is made that the present day sequence is reality and the future is factually-based fiction, I quickly became interested in this series’ unique arrangement.
There’s an unorthodox methodology to this series combining elements of a documentary and science fiction. But while this series may not conform to typical standards, this approach adheres to the underlying theme. Rather than presenting us with the science of Space X and the goals of Elon Musk, we’re given characters and a story to convey the vision of the future. Systematically placing momentary pauses of information in between key turning points supplements the fictional story with contextual and factual elements that provide a well-rounded, cinematic experience.
While the character development is a bit light, the mystery and informative side of the series makes up for that loss. Throughout the first episode things may seem a bit disjointed but by the time the next episode begins, everything falls into place. From there on out, the story truly gathers substance and the vivid Mars landscapes are seen more frequently.
Overall the series takes many risks but they pay off in the end.
Entertainment Value – 3.5
There’s a specific audience that appreciates informative media but “Mars” definitely casts a wider net. For those who don’t find interest in the science and mechanics of space travel, Brian Grazer and Ron Howard have created an engaging, futuristic story that melds in with documentary aspects of the series. As the real world science is applied to fictional characters that we become invested in, it makes the science all the more interesting.
For those that see a film like “The Martian” and then wonder about what was science and what was “movie science,” this series brings the whole package. The visuals of the Martian landscape painted the picture for us while the documentary moments answered the questions about the story. Visually things are kept in a more confined setting than in a blockbuster film, but they are stunning eye candy nonetheless.
For those interested or find themselves wanting to be interested about our future mission to Mars, this series is an entertaining place to start.
Re-Watchability – 3
Rarely would I say that a docuseries ranks high on the rewatchability scale, but “Mars” is very effective in this realm. Whether it is reliving the moments of the story and visual appeal or brushing up on some knowledge, “Mars” is an informative series worth revisiting. Given its unique structure, I wouldn’t say it was at the top in this realm, but it definitely falls in the middle.
For those looking for even more investment in the story, the Blu-ray comes packed with extras including a prequel story. The prequel adds more context which should fill in the gaps missing in the first episode. In addition, for the “science nerds” out there, there are a variety of other features including interviews and how the series was made.
“Mars” is available on Blu-ray April 11, 2017
- Entertainment Value
The subject matter is geared towards a niche audience but its split personality successfully bridges the demographic gap. As the series progresses, you may find your interest being piqued while also learning something about a future mission to Mars.