Hollywood and the planet Mars have had a long and complicated relationship. Tinseltown fell early and hard for the Red Planet, and has produced dozens of Mars movies over the decades. Most of these flicks are cheesy and chintzy, but with the release of The Martian we finally have an outstanding movie set on Mars, with a believable, compelling, and thought-provoking plot.
And bumpy though it was, the cinematic journey leading up to The Martian, through decades of hilariously campy and scientifically surreal flicks, has been filled with many odd, unpredictable, and even poignant moments. Here, Spectrum’s executive editor Glenn Zorpette takes a look back at Hollywood’s love affair with Mars, and a look forward into our Martian film future.