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Mars Express is a smart and stylish addition to the sci-fi noir canon

A still image from the animated film Mars Express.
Image: GKids

Mars Express is a futuristic detective story about the autonomy of synthetic beings — which is to say, it’s the latest in a long line of sci-fi influenced by Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner. But while its premise may be familiar, the movie makes up for it with style and energy. The debut feature from director Jérémie Périn, Mars Express features absolutely stunning 2D animation, a fully realized world, and a pulse-pounding story that kept me guessing right until the end.

It’s set in 2200, a point in time when Earth is described as a “slum for the unemployed,” while Mars has become somewhat better… at least for the rich, who live in what’s best described as a futuristic vision of the suburbs under a protective dome with bright…

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