Guy Cry CinemaThe Most Pants-Wetting Terrifying Space Peril Movies
The sister movie to Red Planet but somewhat less dumb, this film tried to walk the path between realism and crazy spaaaacy adventures. Really, you watch it because The Martian hadn't come out yet, but there are some good parts. In my mind the film has two good ideas: a sound-lock that challenges you to complete a DNA puzzle in order to open a door, and Martians fleeing Mars and seeding Earth with the building blocks of life on their way out. Even that second idea isn't exactly new, but then there was a sentient tornado on Mars so I forgot all about it.
Sure, these are all flaws we hope Matt Damon doesn't have to deal with in his new movie, but what Mission to Mars did do properly is kill off Tim Robbins. Years before George Clooney would do the same, Tim sacrifices himself before letting his crewmates sacrifice themselves saving him. Maybe distinguishingly greying astronauts all have death wishes, I don't know. But seeing Tim's wife almost save him several times is edge-of-your-seat stuff. Then as Tim stares at his loved one while taking off his helmet in space...you could put that in a gif as a weaponized tear agent.
5. The Right Stuff
I realize I'm cheating a little, here. This is the only film in this list that is based on true events, namely the Mercury missions that propelled NASA from a fledgling amatuer rocket club into a hanger full of the smartest people on earth. While peril in space is breathtaking and filled with thrills, this movie gives us some real human drama as well.
Between Gus Grissom escaping drowning in his sinking capsule only to be publicly blamed for cowardly popping the hatch too early, John Glenn overcoming his fellow astronauts' criticism and surviving a near-fatal equipment failure, or the tragically forgotten Chuck Yeager nearly killing himself breaking an altitude record just to prove that he could have been an astronaut if they had taken him...this movie is a veritable Shakespearean tragedy. Except everyone is wearing shiny spacesuits and drinking Tang.
Remember Tang? Yuck.