Mars Attacks [retro review]

“Rest assured that we shall soon come out at a very real outcome.”

The Scoop: 1996 PG, directed by Tim Burton and starring Jack Nicholson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Tom Jones.

Tagline: Nice Planet. We’ll Take It.

Summary Capsule: Goofy aliens invade Earth and take advantage of gullible humans.


Justin’s Rating: Ack! Ack, ack.

Justin’s Review: Poor planet Earth. We are a galactic joke, the Number One target for jokes and invasions. Will the universe please just leave us alone and go hack up Alpha Centauri? I hear they have better pizza!

Tim Burton, the director of this review’s Mars Attacks!, is a very odd little fellow. He has a particular genius for crafting unique dream worlds, from Batman to Beetlejuice to Edward Scissorhands. But unfortunately he comes up a bit short in this spoof on old alien invasion B-movies (and the previous year’s Independence Day). A fleet of aliens from Mars lull Earth into a sense of dullard safety, then attack without mercy. That’s it. It’s intended to be cheesy, yes, but it went the way of Mr. Cheesy-Bad instead of Mr. Cheesy-Good.

Despite a slew of star talent (Jack Nicholson-who plays two characters, Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, et al), I cannot think of one good actor in the movie. They all stunk royally. And, for the love of all that’s holy, can we please stop sticking Las Vegas performers into films? Tom Jones in this one, Wayne Newton in Vegas Vacation, blah blah blah. I feel sorry for these actors who were betrayed by a poor script and little screentime. Annette Bening played a new age chick who gave me a reason to hate again. DeVito, Michael J. Fox, Martin Short… all given a couple minutes before being wasted.

The real stars of the movie are, of course, the aliens. The cerebrum-affluent gangsters are hilarious and pretty fun to root for. They may not look very real, even for aliens, but their antics and gleeful destruction of property and humankind make the film worth watching. At one point, after humans have been duped time and again by “We come in peace” messages, the aliens are rampaging a Nevada town and one is carrying a translator machine spouting, “Do not run. We are your friends.” as they blast the place up. Absolut sarcasm.

So, for your Movie Survival Kit, just fast-forward to the alien scenes and skip the humans. Who wants those fleshy freaks to win the day, anyways?

Recommended for: actors with too much time on their hands, invading aliens that need to be reminded that, stupid as we are, we shall always triumph, and me, since I like saying “Ack” a lot.

"So, I still have to wear gruesome fashion, but I'll be the star..? Sounds good, sign me up! What's the name of the show..? Oh God, really? Well, okay. Just as long as there are no more bad movies."

Intermission

  • This movie is inspired by the Topps trading cards by the same name created by Len Brown.
  • Mars Attacks! is also a comic book series.
  • Soundtrack Review: A good, yet forgettable, score by Danny Elfman. I personally liked the opening credits theme

Groovy Quotes

Gen. Decker: Intellectuals! Liberals! Peacemongers! IDIOTS!

President: Rest assured that we will soon come out at a very real outcome.

President: I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad.

If you liked this movie, try these:

  • Beetlejuice
  • Batman
  • Independence Day
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3 Comments

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