Category Archives: special bulletin

Special Report: Journey to Mars

WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN

A Review of “Special Report: Journey to Mars”

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

I looove stunts like this. I love Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast and have listened to numerous times. I even like the contemporary version NPR did using traffic reporters from a few years back.

When I ran a video store I took great delight in putting in a tape called Special Bulletin which was produced by NBC in the early 1980s. Special Bulletin told the story in nearly real time with real commercials interspersed of terrorists nuking Charleston, South Carolina. I thought it was a blast that we’d always get a handful of customers glued to the TV monitor thinking it was real.

So this is my kind of thing, that’s why I loved Special Report: Journey to Mars as well. Structured like CNN broadcasts of recent wars and other events we are live witness to the first manned mars landing in the year 2005. Of course they play down the time frame in case someone comes in in the middle and get sucked in.

It’s very easy to get sucked in. The drama is high as we find that the mission has been sabotaged by terrorists who want money spent on problems here on earth rather than the billions it took to get to Mars. The attack is both biological and technological as the mission’s captain is struck down by an infection and the ship’s navigation systems affected by a computer virus.

The effect of a real news broadcast is only ruined by the casting of Judge Reinhold and Alfre Woodard as journalists but otherwise it is an excellent illusion. I wish there were more shows like this. It runs on HBO from time to time. Catch it if you can.

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