In the 2030s, the crew of Ares III, a manned mission to Mars, has established a temporary artificial habitat, called the Hab, on Mars, where they are to stay for two months and depart back to Earth in their orbital probe. Eighteen days into the Mars mission, however, a massive Martian storm hits the base and the crew is forced to abandon the planet and launch themselves because of the danger that their escape vehicle will collapse and leave them stranded. While evacuating, astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead as his biomonitor is damaged. With the lives of her crew at stake, mission commander Melissa Lewis is forced to leave the planet, leaving Watney behind.
The narrator (Morgan Freeman) explains how humans were unaware that intelligent extraterrestrials were making plans to occupy Earth. Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) is a divorced crane operator longshoreman who works at a dock in Bayonne, NJ. Ray is estranged from his children. His former wife, Mary Ann (Miranda Otto), later drops off the children, 10-year-old daughter Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and teenage son Robbie (Justin Chatwin), at Ray's house in Bayonne on her way to visit her parents in Boston. Unexplained changes in the weather occur, emitting lightning that strikes multiple times in the middle of an intersection and disrupting all electrical technology in the area.
After the sudden death of John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), a former American Civil War Confederate Army captain, Carter's nephew, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Daryl Sabara), attends the funeral. Per Carter's instructions, the body is put in a tomb that can be unlocked only from the inside. His attorney hands Burroughs Carter's journal, which Burroughs reads in the hope of finding clues to Carter's cause of death.
In 2084, Earthbound construction worker Douglas Quaid is having troubling dreams about Mars and a mysterious woman there. His wife Lori dismisses the dreams and discourages him from thinking about Mars, where the governor, Vilos Cohaagen, is fighting rebels while searching for a rumored alien artifact located in the mines. At "Rekall", a company that provides memory implants of vacations, Quaid opts for a memory trip to Mars as a secret agent fantasy. However, during the procedure, before the memory is implanted, something goes wrong, and the story diverges between the question of what is real and what is hallucination. Apparently, Quaid starts revealing previously suppressed memories of actually being a secret agent. The company sedates him, wipes his memory of the visit, and sends him home. On the way home, Quaid is attacked by his friend Harry and some construction coworkers; he is forced to kill them, revealing elite fighting-skills. He is then attacked in his apartment by Lori, who reveals that she was never his wife; their marriage was just a false memory implant and Cohaagen sent her as an agent to monitor Quaid. He is then attacked and pursued by armed thugs led by Richter, Lori's real husband and Cohaagen's operative.
The "Minutemen", a team of costumed crime fighters, was formed in 1939 in response to a rise in costumed gangs and criminals; the "Watchmen" was similarly formed decades later. Their existence has dramatically affected world events: in particular, Doctor Manhattan's superpowers help the United States win the Vietnam War, resulting in President Richard Nixon being reelected. Doctor Manhattan gives the West a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which by the 1980s threatens to escalate the Cold War into a nuclear war. During that time, growing anti-vigilante sentiment in the country leads to masked crime-fighters being outlawed. While many of the heroes retire, Doctor Manhattan and the Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents, and Rorschach continues to operate outside the law.
En 2020, la NASA envoie pour la première fois une équipe d'astronautes sur Mars. Mais peu de temps après leur arrivée, ils sont confrontés à un phénomène surnaturel d'une puissance terrifiante et toutes les communications sont coupées. Une deuxième mission est envoyée à leur recherche...
In Kentucky, a family watches an enormous horde of cattle running past their home, having caught fire, and a flying saucer leaving Earth. The ship explodes before it returns to Mars, and hundreds of other Martian ships leave Mars and head towards Earth.
Six membres de l'équipage de la Station spatiale internationale (ISS) réceptionnent une sonde revenant de Mars et contenant un échantillon de sol, qui pourrait contenir des signes de vie extraterrestre. L’exobiologiste Hugh Derry relance une cellule dormante de l'échantillon, et il se développe rapidement en un organisme multi-cellulaire. La mission est suivie sur Terre par la population. Un concours est même lancé pour donner un nom à l'organisme. Des écoliers américains le nomment Calvin.
In the year 2046, a research facility on Mars is suddenly attacked by an unknown assailant. Following a distress call sent by Dr. Todd Carmack, a group of marines, led by Asher "Sarge" Mahonin, is sent on a search-and-rescue mission. One of the Marines, John "Reaper" Grimm, accompanies his sister, Dr. Samantha Grimm, to one of the labs within the devastated sector to retrieve data; here he learns that the dig site where their parents were accidentally killed was re-opened and bones of an ancient group of genetically enhanced race were discovered.
Nine-year-old Milo (Seth Green, voice-over by Seth Dusky) is just beginning summer vacation, and his father (Tom Everett Scott) is leaving for a business trip. While Milo is wanting his summer to be a fun one, his mother (Joan Cusack) assigns him chores and tasks like taking out the trash. At dinnertime, Milo is given broccoli. His mother has a "no broccoli, no TV" rule which Milo cleverly evades. When Milo feeds his broccoli to his cat, his mom grounds him and sends him to bed early. After a heated argument with his mother, Milo wishes that he never had a mom. Later that night, his wish comes true when his mother is abducted by Martians who plan to steal her "momness" to rear their own young.
The film opens on Mars, showing the last moments of a Mars rover's mission. As the rover prepares to sample a Martian rock, the rover loses power and becomes inoperable. The scene pans up from the dead rover to show a huge, undiscovered Martian city just beyond the rock the rover was about to sample. A spaceship is seen quickly rocketing from the city and accelerating into space.
In 2056 AD, Earth is in ecologic crisis as a consequence of pollution and overpopulation. Automated interplanetary missions have been seeding Mars with atmosphere-producing algae as the first stage of terraforming the planet. When the oxygen quantity produced by the algae is inexplicably reduced, the crew of Mars-1 investigate; a crew consisting of Quinn Burchenal (Tom Sizemore), an agnostic geneticist, Bud Chantillas (Terence Stamp), an aging philosophical scientist and surgeon, systems engineer Robby Gallagher (Val Kilmer), commander Kate Bowman (Carrie-Anne Moss), pilot Ted Santen (Benjamin Bratt), and terraforming scientist Chip Pettengill (Simon Baker).
Roughly two years after the first film, an American space mission lands on Mars; Patrick Ross, the commander of the mission, collects soil samples. However, the temperature on board the ship thaws a mysterious substance within a sample, which then attempts to infect the astronauts, causing a seven-minute time gap in radio contact between Earth and the shuttle. The mission is still considered a success and the crew safely returns to Earth. Only Dr. Cromwell, a former scientist and now an inmate in an asylum, reacts violently to their return.
NASA is training for the first manned mission to Mars by the spacecraft Aries. Due to a supposed glitch in the computer navigation system, NASA looks for the original programmer of the software to see why the software seems to be broken. Fred Z. Randall (Harland Williams), the eccentric programmer who wrote the software, meets Paul Wick (Jeffrey DeMunn), the flight director of the Mars mission; William "Wild Bill" Overbeck (William Sadler), the commander of the Mars mission; and astronaut Gary Hackman (Peter Onorati), the computer specialist. After a display of hard-headed stubbornness by Gary, he is hit in the head by a model of the Pilgrim 1 Mars lander, resulting in a skull fracture. NASA decides to replace him instead of delaying the mission. Fred is brought to NASA to see if he has what it takes to be an astronaut; he, along with Gordon Peacock, go through a series of exercises, which sees Fred do well, even going as far to break every record that Bill had. In the end, Fred gets the job.
The space armada from Mars, known as the Imperial Atomic Space Navy (Battle Group Seven), fights an interstellar war against their long-time enemy, the Arcturans. The armada is forced into battle by Enforcer Droids, tasked to keep the Martian soldiers in line, despite objections by some that it won't work. Meanwhile, an incompetent crew of a small Martian spaceship, from the Civilian Asteroid Patrol, intercept a distress signal from the fleet, followed by a Halloween rebroadcast of Orson Welles' 1938 The War of the Worlds radio dramatization.