The Red Planet - a popular cinematic destination (Tristar Pictures)

The landing of Nasa's Curiosity Rover on Mars has drawn the world's attention back to the stars and the spectacular discoveries that could be made.

For the lazier among us, the first images beamed down as the Rover landed on the Red Planet will conjure up cinematic nostalgia for the most evocative of our planetary neighbours when it comes to an adventurous film location.

There is something special about Mars, and the idea of its invariably unfriendly population, that causes it to capture the cinematic imagination. It has been the location for dozens of films - with varying degrees of success.

IBTimes UK takes a look at some of the most memorable Mars movies.

Total Recall (1990)

Total recall
Total Recall: Arnold Schwarzenegger dreamt of a trip to Mars (Tristar Pictures)

Surely one of the most loved Mars movies, Total Recall enjoys cult status as well as the endlessly quoted line "Get your a** to Mars".

Arnold Schwarzenegger tests his acting abilities by playing a bored miner on Earth, who visits a company named Recall in order to gain the memory of a more exciting life on Mars. Instead he discovers he was a freedom fighter all along and is able to leave the acting behind him and enjoy his favourite hobbies of machine-gunning bad guys and punching Sharon Stone in the face.

Director Paul Verhoeven's classic sci-fi action adventure really kicks into high gear when the action heads to Mars, where the atmosphere is so unhealthy that a few moments outside causes your head to explode. Verhoeven opts out of including any Martians, choosing instead to feature the odd mutant, the most famous being a woman with three breasts.

A remake starring Colin Farrell is to hit cinemas although it has dropped the Mars setting. A shame. Although you can bet the chesty mutant will make the cut.

Red Planet (2000)

Red Planet
Red Planet - Mars is no place for running (Warner Bros)

In Red Planet astronauts Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore and Carrie-Anne Moss are part of a team of scientists sent to investigate why their attempts to terraform the planet are failing.

On paper, this film had everything. Mars, a lunatic robot and surprisingly flammable alien insects. However, it was a critical and commercial failure, placing itself somewhere between an action film and a philosophical discussion. Instead the majority of the film resembles a council meeting punctuated by random deaths.

Nonetheless, you get plenty of Mars for your money, the majority of the film being spent on the titular planet's unwelcoming surface.

Mars Attacks! (1996)

Mars Attacks
Jack Nicholson and an alien - what more could you want? (Warner Bros)

Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! (the exclamation mark says it all) is light on Mars, heavy on Martians.

The film carved its own niche as a dark, nostalgic semi-spoof science-fiction comedy action film, which surely provides the most memorable incarnation of Martian invaders committed to screen.

The aliens are perfect. Hilariously expressive skeletal faces topped by huge, bulbous heads allow them to be a mixture of horrifying and strangely loveable.

The whole film is pulled along by a fantastically game cast, with Jack Nicholson having a whale of a time in multiple roles, supported by Pierce Brosnan, Glenn Close and Danny Devito.

No-one knew what to expect with Mars Attacks! but it will be a long time until we see something like it again.

Mission to Mars (2000)

Mission to Mars
Mission to Mars has exactly one interesting scene - this is it. (Touchstone)

With a title like Mission to Mars and a cast including Tim Robbins, Gary Sinise and Don Cheadle surely nothing could go wrong.

Somehow, despite the strong cast and promise of space adventuring, Mission to Mars is an experience akin to watching an exceptionally polished spreadsheet presentation. Everything looks nice and has been colour-coded well but at the same time it's boring to the point of induced narcolepsy.

In fact, within the whole runtime of Brian De Palma's sub-philosophical wanderings there is exactly one exciting scene in the film - and it doesn't even take place on Mars.

John Carter (2012)

John Carter
John Carter - Picture represents the average cinema audience numbers (Disney)

John Carter has the unfortunate honour of joining the list of one of the biggest cinematic flops in history. It's worth wondering whether one of the reasons nobody went to see the film, costing Disney an estimated $200m, is because the studio dropped "...of Mars" from its title.

Instead, the film, which followed a confederate soldier who is transported to the planet and finds he has super-strength and speed in its atmosphere, had an opaque title that did little to attract audiences outside fans of the source novel.

Many reviewers claimed the film was better than its audience figures suggested, which should teach studios a lesson. If you set your film on Mars, keep it in the title.

John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (2001)

Ghosts of Mars
Pictured - a typical critical reaction to Ghosts of Mars (Screen Gems)

John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars is one of those films that really shouldn't work ... and doesn't.

Revolving around a team of survivors made up of Natasha Henstridge, Ice Cube, Jason Statham and Pam Grier attempting to escape from a Martian mining town, where the survivors have been turned into gothic psychopaths by Martian ghosts, it fails on every conceivable level.

However, the film is so ridiculously poor it crosses the delirious "so bad it's good" threshold and is actually quite enjoyable. The whole film takes place on Mars, although there is very little to show that. The cast recite action dialogue as if they are complaining about the bill at an overpriced restaurant and the soundtrack has a mind of its own.

In other words, Ghosts of Mars is gloriously entertaining. At the very least you get to see someone get their head knocked off by a metal frisbee. Worth the DVD price alone surely.