part 1 of 2:
part 2 of 2:
TCM has an overview. Moria's review pulls no punches:
Like the ending of The War of the Worlds (1953), Red Planet Mars sees that religion is what is needed to bring society back from the abyss of war, the threat of Communism and the Pandora’s Box of the A-bomb. But the terms that the film tells it in, halfway between ludicrous 19th Century hellfire oratory and sentimental images of heart and God-fearing home, are utterly saccharine.
Red Planet Mars is badly written on most regards. The characters are single-dimensional ideological mouthpieces, giving pompous speeches filled with flowery and overwrought dialogue.
1000 Misspent Hours describes the film as
one of the most purely cerebral films in the genre, with barely any onscreen action and almost none of the usual special effects spectacle. Instead, it concerns itself entirely with ideas, particularly with the notion that humanity in the mid-20th century had, for all practical purposes, deified technological progress and the scientific thinking that makes it possible, elevating the man in the white lab coat nearly to the rank of false messiah.and says,
It may be a bit lacking in dazzle and excitement, but Red Planet Mars is one of the most thought-provoking sci-fi films I’ve ever seen.
I agree more with Moria. I don't find it thought-provoking; I find it sappy and heavy-handed.
3/23/2009: WTF-Films does not recommend it:
RED PLANET MARS may be of some interest to those keen on the more bizarre propaganda efforts of the fifties but will provide little of value to anyone else.