Saturday, April 21, 2007


The Mars Underground by James Michael DooleyThe Mars Underground...Surfaces!
Review by Christopher Coleman

Mars is certainly no newcomer to Hollywood feature films. We've seen it depicted countless times in the not-so-distant-past: RED PLANET, MISSION TO MARS, and TOTAL RECALL, to name just a few headliners. It certainly hasn't been skipped as a subject for documentary features either. Our fascination with the red planet is no surprise. It being a our closest, potentially-inhabitable, planet, how could we not be intrigued? How could we not speculate about first getting there...and now living there? Dr. Robert Zubrin's ideas about us setting foot on the planet in just a matter of years is the topic for one of the more recent Mars-documentaries, THE MARS UNDERGROUND.

Composer James Michael Dooley was asked if he would provide the musical backdrop for the documentary and embarked along with the director and producers in this labor of love. Musically, the end result certainly communicates at least a portion of the love poured into the project. James Michael Dooley takes the score in a minimalist direction. Ironically, for a minimalist score, there's quite a bit to appreciate. It would be easy to think that Dooley, a professed "follower" of composer Phillip Glass, might have been influenced by Glass' recent effort for ROVING MARS, but the fact is Dooley had long written THE MARS UNDERGROUND before Glass' score for the Disney/Imax production likely came to be. Once you've listened to both, you'll see that there isn't a lot in common between the two. In fact, one would find more commonalities between THE MARS UNDERGROUND and Glass scores such as THE HOURS.


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