As far as science-fiction goes, Mission Mars is fairly standard fare, but one cannot help but fall in love with this movie and it is purely for one simple reason – the music.
The story is nothing completely new, especially for 1968, but it does not mean that it is wholly uninteresting. If finds a few astronauts on a mission to Mars, trying to beat the Russians when on their way there, they run into a couple bodies floating in space, those being the aforementioned Russians. Arriving on Mars, they set out to look for their supply capsule and discover it, the ship being breached with an alien residing inside along with another Russian whom they soon revive. Things start to get out of control with the alien as they find it is preventing them from leaving the planet and soon, they realise that the only way to escape will cost one of them their lives.
Starring Darren McGavin whom many will recognise as the future Kolchak: The Night Stalker and Nick Adams in his final film role, both great actors in their own right, it is somewhat surprising to see them in a film of this calibre or maybe not. Given that Adams was in his heyday a decade earlier and McGavin just coming up, perhaps it was not exactly surprising at all. With some of the hokiness present, it was easy enough to guess that filmmaker Nick Webster was not given a lot of money to work with, but make it work he did and it was ultimately a fun ride with both an alien and beautiful women to keep things lively.
Bringing it all together though was the music, from the theme song entitled No More Tears by The Forum Quorum to the rest of the soundtrack featuring more prog rock/surf rock type pieces and to say it was odd is an understatement. It also could not have been any better – its strangeness going hand in hand with what was happening on-screen. The only real bad thing about it was that it sometimes distracted you from what was happening, the music so fitting and out of place, that it took one away from the picture.
All in all, Mission Mars was not a masterpiece, but it was a decent experience that many will find enjoyment out of if given a chance. If nothing else, viewers will at least get to experience a little drama, a bit of horror and a throwback science-fiction vibe all set to some weirdly-incredible music.
3 out of 5