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Things to keep in mind about Ruairi Robinson's sci-fi horror movie The Last Days on Mars: It's based on a short story originally published in a 1975 anthology called Tales of Terror from Outer Space, and in 2010 the script was voted one of Britain's best unproduced screenplays. So, if it seems derivative of any space-set horror movies of the past 40 years, remember that its source material got there first, and the movie is already award-winning. The problem is that the final product — in which a group of bickering multinational astronauts on Mars (led by no-nonsense Canadian Elias Koteas and wisecracking American Liev Schreiber) start turning into murderous zombies — isn't as fun or pulpy as a movie about zombies on Mars should be. The film's low budget doesn't necessarily need to be a hindrance — a mega-budget didn't do any favors for last year's space-zombie movie Prometheus — but perhaps because it tries to look realistic, the picture lacks a visual flair, never creating a cinematic illusion of being on Mars. Remember when Mars used to have a red sky in movies? A brilliant red sky would have been nice. Or maybe what The Last Days on Mars needs is a British fop running around with a sonic screwdriver, just to give it some life.
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