Despite reading all the bad reviews (and I mean horrific) I saw the movie anyway and was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't nearly what so many of these negative reviews. I'm no great writer so I'll just list the biggest and loudest complaints and give my take on them: "CGI is like legos" "Boring, slow" "Horrible special effects" "Bad acting"
The first thing to do is to put expectations in check and have at least a little understanding of what you're watching before making judgements. If you go into this thinking it's Transformers or any of the current Star Trek movies then yes, all of those reviews are absolutely correct. It did not deliver any of that because it is not (nor sold as) that kind of movie.
Now, set the correct expectations in that this is more of a dialogue driven story with a minimal budget and you will find this to be a thought provoking movie that talks about the future of humanity and AI and the idea of what if... There wasn't a long cast of characters. By my count five with actual lines. Two of which were voice only and a handful (like five maybe) of extras with no lines and are shown for about 8 seconds)
So basically it's Katee Sackoff who is charged with investigating a previously manned mission to Mars that resulted in the deaths of her crew, one of which was her father. She is to partner with an A.I. called A.R.T.I., (an onboard A.I.) and together they will remotely land and operate a rover that was sent to Mars, all from a control room. From there the story takes off and throughout the movie it takes you through some tense moments trying to land the rover successfully. Some twists and turns, more tense moments when making discoveries that in turn create more questions than answers. Katee Sackhoff was great, did a great job. The AI was also good, they had good exchanges. It kept an appropriate pace, nothing felt dragged out nor like I was waiting for anything. It had a start, a build up, and ended with something interesting with a twist.
The negatives I read: "CGI is like legos" ---- Nope. Although it was no Avatar it wasn't anywhere the "awful" description some have given it. It was perfectly reasonable and fit the story. I never found myself wondering about the CGI (and I am a big fan of ID4, star trek and and all the huge budget ones) "Boring, slow" --- I didn't find it slow at all. It moved, there was tension throughout and it did keep me guessing "Horrible special effects" ---(see the CGI answer...) "Bad acting" --- By who? There's 3 faces with lines, 95% Katee and how was she bad? I thought she did a great job
I gave it a 6 (and NOT a 1) because overall I liked it and was pleasantly surprised after reading so many bad reviews.
I gave it a 6 and nothing higher because although I liked it, it wasn't anything earth shattering (no pun intended...) and an extremely over played subject done by many. More than anything it seemed like another interpretation of an over done subject. That said I thought they could have done a better job of explaining things. Though very very interesting the ending didn't quite tie things together as well as I would have liked and I found myself a little confused. However I think I got it, (maybe..) Worth a rent (for me).
Review by Frankie Sez from the Internet Movie Database.