Mars Attacks! (1996) Poster

(1996)

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8/10
Misunderstood ???
Coventry7 January 2004
There's one guarantee in life : When you're reading 5 reviews on Mars Attacks, FOUR of them are negative ones! Why, I ask?? It's really hard for me to believe that all these movie-lovers fail to see the film like Tim Burton intended it. Mars Attacks! is a great film and - above all - a very effective parody. Burton takes the opportunity to spoof and laugh with almost every form of nowadays filth...Politics, religion, the army, television, greed in Las Vegas and God knows what else. Mars Attacks! is the purest form of cinema anarchy I've seen so far, and I really want to encourage you to see it again if you didn't like it the first time. Tim Burton is a genius. Practically all movies he did before ( and after ) Mars Attacks! prove that. Do you really believe that he would deliver a failure? Or do you think the entire brilliant cast would agree to starring in an inferior production?? They all acknowledged the genius of this movie...why can't the audience do the same?

Mars Attacks! is a very remarkable achievement for yet another reason. This very well might be only film that cost a fortune in order to look cheap! Burton probably wasted a huge budget to make the settings and the design look like they did in the typical 50's Science Fiction movies. Burton is a big fan of these movies and he saved neither money or trouble to make his satire look like those films. The direct tribute to Edward Wood in the opening credits is an obvious example of this as well, I think. Perhaps, this would be the only real thing you can accuse Tim Burton of...Mars Attacks! is a very personal project of his. I really doubt he worried much about the question whether Mars Attacks! would become a success or not. He told his tale and he clearly enjoyed doing so...Why wouldn't you enjoy watching it then?

Note: This review is dedicated to Mailen. A great regular user here on this site and I know for a fact that she adores this film as well...
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9/10
A guilty pleasure that grows on you
rbsjrx30 January 2005
When I first saw this in the theater with my granddaughter, we both found to be pretty lame and disappointing, but not without some wit to it. Since then, it's been on the cable channels multiple times, and I always find myself watching it again. I really hate to admit it, but this thing has really grown on me - so much so that I finally bought the DVD.

When I first saw it, I wouldn't have given it more than a 4 out of 10, but after repeated viewings, I now give it a 9. I can't really say why, and I certainly can't justify it in any rational sense, but it all just works for me. The wry wit, the blatant social and political commentary, I find it all immensely satisfying.

My confession's over, I'll do my penance. But I have to also say that my granddaughter's opinion of it has never wavered. She considers this movie as evidence of my incipient senility...
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ACK!ACK! ACK!ACK!
stiv-71 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Anybody who hated this movie missed the point. This is a fun little satire on the American culture of assimilation, the great cultural melting pot. It dares to ask the question: What if another group of people doesn't want to be adopted into the American consumerist culture? The results are hilarious, as we have a group of Martians double-talking their way through the annihilation of the US of A, and the only people capable of stopping them are those who could really care less about the American Way: the President's daughter, who shows more respect for culture and history than her parents could ever muster; and Richie the donut store kid, whose primary concern is the welfare of others, specifically his grandmother, who ironically provides him with a way out of this mess. I've only seen this film twice, but it still makes me laugh my head off and provides me with the antidote for the jingoistic finale to the other alien invasion film of 1996, Independence Day.

In short, say what you want about Mars Attacks! If you don't understand it, that's not my problem.
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8/10
Honestly,Mars attacked!
doyce4sub13 May 2004
Warning: Spoilers
After reading some of the other comments, there's only one thing everyone should keep in mind. This film is for laughs and is spoofing the early 50's sci-fi films that some of us grew up watching. In the early film, War of the Worlds, the Martians were killed by micro organisms that were in our atmosphere. Here they were killed by Slim Whitman music. How about when the Martians were chasing people and zapping them while the "translator" machine keep saying "Don't run,we are your friends". The Martians like Tom Jones so much that they joined his back up singers. Every time I watch this film I see something else that's there for a "joke". Don't try to make this movie fit the sci-fi mold; just watch it for the spoofs and enjoy yourself.
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Music saves the earth from the ruthless martians
pbhowmick6 March 2001
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is hilarious. It works at all levels. Its funny, its original in its approach, and is a perfect satire on all those euphoric sci-fi movies. Its a laugh all the way roller-coaster with a script that never stops to shock you. It is such a pleasant diversion from the serious, heavy and pretentious sci fi disaster films full of preachings and heroism of a few.

The characters in the film are damn funny and very well developed. The huge cast has been assembled so well by the casting director, that I feel each and every actor was born to play his/her character in the film. The double dose of Jack Nicholson is awesome. He plays the Texan millionaire cowboy so well, that I couldn't identify him when he appeared the first time. Tim Burton does a commendable job of building up so many characters with so little time. He doesn't waste any time at all, every one gets a few minutes as the movie is on the run from the word go, but still each character is rock solid. I wonder how was he able to manage Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnon, Annette Benning, Glenn Rose, Michael J Fox, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Natalie Portman, Danny Devito, Pam Grier and Tom Jones. Each one of them deliver a worthy performance. The special effects are too good. They are not sleek and heavy as in other big budget films, but unpolished and cocky, in line with the message of the film. The martians are hilarious, but devilish at the same time. The music has the touch of 60s sci fi films which only adds to the effect.

Finally, here is a film which doesn't try to be wise and sensible in a cliched way about our fantasies of life in outer space, instead takes a lighter and jollier approach.
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9/10
This is where Independence Day is put to shame.
vasco_cid25 September 2002
As someone stated before, with tremendous accuracy, Mars Attacks! is one of those movies in which you rarely encounter a mid term: either you love it or you hate it.

Personally, I have to say that I stand on the "loved it" part. Mars Attacks! is great entertainment at it's best, and Tim Burton did an incredibly good job, as usual. One of the things that seems to bother me the most is that some people may not understand the purpose and the message of the film: it's mission is to spoof all those action and Sci-fi movies that abound on clichés and laughable scenes; in which Independence Day is one clear example. Independence Day is bad, relies too much on SFX, and abuse the audience's sanity, believing us to be fools. This is the idea that Jonathan Gemes (screenwriter) and Tim Burton(director) had in mind.

Also one high point of the movie is it's main attraction to it's cast: Box Office names like Jack Nicholson; Glenn Close; Danny DeVito; Pierce Brosnan; Sarah Jessica Parker; Michael J Fox; (th great) Natalie Portman; Lukas Haas; Jack Black; Pam Grier and Annette Bening, all of them come together, representing a part of society and social status that they spoof themselves. The special effects are also a funny part, because some of them are very well achieved and some of them are really cheesy: that's their purpose.

Anyway, much more shouldn't be said, since Mars Attacks! is one of those films that you have to see for yourself, and ultimately evaluate. 9 ou of 10
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9/10
Mars Attacks! and Revives 50 B-Films!
Jay-9012 October 2002
The greatest aspect of _Mars Attacks!_ is that it is not supposed to be great. The film was shot on a low budget, and many of the crew, namely actors Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito, and director, Tim Burton, agreed to make the film as an homage to the TOPS Bubblegum wrapper comic series.

The film works because it doesn't present itself as being more than what it is: a parody of '50's B-films. Throughout the film, obvious references to those B-film classics, like _The Day the Earth Stood Still_ and _This Island Earth_, are present. When the Martians land in Nevada (alleged home of Area 54), Burton reminds us of those famous scenes in which the U. S. army battles the aliens with crude artillery, matched against the sophisticated ray guns of their adversaries. Because the sci-fi B-films of the '50's were infused with anxiety, precipitated by the McCarthy era, Burton plays upon this context when the Martians visit Congress and destroy every senator and representative in attendance ("We still have 2 out of 3 branches of government working for us," President Nicholson reminds his fellow Americans).

Aside from the riotous parodying which takes place, the film draws upon a cast of Oscar-nominated talent. However, realizing their true motivation for such a film as _Mars Attacks!_, Oscar nominees Glenn Close, Annette Bening, and Jack Nicholson camp it up. Immediately, an audience member acknowledges that these actors know the Academy will not reward them for their efforts in this film. However, an informed audience member would see that their acting, meant to be campy and hammed up, is at the heart of their performances. Given the fact that these are award-winning actors acting poorly, any viewer would have to applaud the performances as "sheer talent-less."

I give this film 9 out of 10 points. While not a great film, by any stretch of the imagination, it is a fun film which fulfills its purpose. Nicholson, DeVito, and Burton can be pleased with the results of their desire to bring the famous TOPS story to the screen. In an age in which Hollywood either promotes lavishly expensive, high-tech scripts or promotes artistic plot-driven storylines, _Mars Attacks!_ finds its own place and does not put on the facade of being something other than it is, an homage and revival of the classic '50's sci-fi B-film.
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10/10
Outstanding Entertainment; Burton's Most Underrated Film
ccthemovieman-129 November 2006
What a wild movie! I've begun to appreciate this more and more with multiple viewings. I think it's Tim Burton's most underrated film. Unlike many of his previous films, this seems pretty impartial when it comes to the satire: everyone gets it here, not just the usual Christians. Here, New Ange devotees and Liberal advisers and generals are also made to look stupid. This is probably one reason the national critics - who are overwhelming Left Wing - didn't like this movie. They weren't used to the same abuse some of us put up with all the time.

Politics aside, this is one funny movie. It's a combination of science fiction, drama and comedy. It's a parody of the 1950s flying saucer films except it has 1990s color and good special-effects. Burton was a fan of those corny '50s sci-fi films so he made his own!

The story quickly moves from one character to another, from the low-key President of the U.S. played by an unusually-reserved Jack Nicholson to the wacky New Ager Annette Benning to Martin Short with his goofy smile....well, there are so many characters here - most of them completely whacked - it's too many to mention. The diversity of these people and the subtle humor in which they are all presented is just as much fun to watch as the special-effects. The Martians are a real hoot. They have to be seen to be believed.

I didn't like all the characters but, most people won't either. For me, showing elderly people as senile (Sylvia Sidney's role) is mean-spirited; Rod Steiger has the stereotypical war-mongering General is getting tiresome and the obvious politically-correct role for Jim Brown also went overboard.

All in all, however, this is about as entertaining a film as I have ever found, nd one that gets more enjoyable with each viewing.....which is why I rate it so high.
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The best movie of all time. Or maybe one of the worst.
Slothrop10 December 1998
This is one of these movies you absolutely like or absolutely dislike. I liked it, sure. It's such a sarcastic view of America: its people, its government, its army, its television, its culture, everything and everyone falls under Tim Burton's incredible axe. Many talented stars gather for an incredible script. It is unbelievably funny, absurd and full of contradictions and nuttiness. It's like a mixture of Star Wars, Animaniacs and the Clockwork Orange. For sure, you will like it a lot and believe it is the best movie you have ever seen or you won't understand a thing and feel disappointed. If you like Jim Carrey or Brad Pitt, please go and choose another movie.
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8/10
Mars Attacks is the definition of a cult classic.
brandonmatzke-698192 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I want to start this review by saying that I can understand why people may not like this film: it's bizarre, corny at times, and filled with one to many celeberties. But, that's exactly why I like it. Mars Attacks! is reminiscent of the classics 50's science fiction films, when Hollywood was more concerned with being entertaining than making sense. And that was the spirit of Mars Attacks: entertain, but don't be afraid to be strange. I mean, the martians are killed by "Indian Love Call" for crying out loud! Again, not for everyone. But for those looking for a stranger take on the alien invasion story line, this if for you.
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Very enjoyable sci-fi spoof
bob the moo22 February 2002
When Martians make contact with earth opinion is split into two camps between seeking peace or preparing for defence. When the inital meeting is turned into a massacre by a misunderstanding surrounding the dove of peace, the camp seeking war seem to have the stronger case. However the Martian Ambassator apologises and is allowed to meet before the joint houses in the US. However when the Martians use this as an way to wipe out America's leaders in one move. Security is stepped up and the world is put on a war footing, however the martians seem only interesting in destruction and death and deliver both with a wickedly cruel sense of humour.

We all know that Tim Burton and sci-fi blockbuster movies don't always deliver the goods (planet of the apes anyone?). This was released in the same summer as Independence Day and ID came off much, much better. That was mainly because ID gave the people what they wanted - they wanted a little comedy, lots of fancy FX and explosions, nothing different that would cause them to think in any way, and the good guys (the Americans) must win and save the earth! Burton gave them most of that, but it was just too different!

What we have here is a ID style story but it is infused with Burton's manic vision. This takes away from the blockbuster appeal of the average ID, but it makes it a much funnier, wierder experience. Some of it doesn't work, Nicholson's multirole performance is nowhere near the standard of Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove (which he clearly aspires to) and some of the cameos are forced and silly. However all the stuff with the aliens works really well because it is so OTT and it knows it - Burton just lets his vision run wild. In place of ID destruction of the white house, we have the aliens knocking down the Easter Island statues like 10 pin bowling etc. Where ID took itself very seriously, Mars Attacks plays like a spoof of the 1950's sci-fi and comes off much better for it.

As for the ending - of course it's absurd! Yes it's a bit of a leap to imagine that the aliens would be defeated in this way, but it doesn't matter because it's all tongue in cheek. It is no more stupid than ID which sees the aliens destroyed by Goldblum and Smith flying a spaceship (Smith flies it because he's seen one before - the scientists who have been studying it aren't allowed, even though they know how it works), into the core of the mothership, downloading a computer virus from Windows 98 onto the alien system and clearing off! Both endings are dumb, but at least Mars Attacks doesn't try to cover it up.

There are so many actors here that to try and say who does well and who doesn't would take ages. So here we good. Good -Nicholson (as the president), Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, MJ Fox, Steiger, Pam Grier, Lukas Haas, Jim Brown and Lisa Marie. Bad - Glenn Close, De Vito, Short and a pointless "oh look it's...." cameo from Tom Jones. The actors given screen time are good but stars wheeled out for novelty value are a bit wasted generally.

Overall this may not be to everyone's tastes. When it come out everyone seemed to expect another ID style film. However Burton's mad vision and comic touches make this a very enjoyable spoof.
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9/10
We Come in Peace!
claudio_carvalho28 August 2006
When the USA satellites photograph many flying saucers coming to Earth, the American President James Dale has a meeting with his advisors. He is convinced by Professor Donald Kessler (Pierce Brosnan) that Martians would be a developed culture and therefore peaceful by nature, in spite of the warnings of General Decker (Rod Steiger). The authorities, some civilians and the press prepare a welcome committee for the aliens, but they realize that Mars is actually attacking Earth.

"Mars Attack!" is one of the most hilarious and entertaining movie of Tim Burton. Using a parody to the sci-fi of the 50's and like a shotgun, he criticizes the politicians and their greed to be popular; the arrogance and lack of humility of some intellectuals; the lack of sensibility of the army; the lack of ethics in the press; the shallow behavior of the first lady; and some silly cults. In the other side, he highlights the importance of friendship, loyalty and love. I particularly like very much the characters of Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan and Rod Steiger in the cast that is actually a constellation. Unfortunately Jack Black dies in the very beginning, because his character was also very funny. This movie is one of my favorite cult-movies, and a great homage to Ed Wood ("Plan 9 from Outer Space"). My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Marte Ataca!" ("Mars Attacks!")
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9/10
Wow, this movie is bonkers...
beetle-259-55414816 October 2017
Okay, so what do you get when you take War of the Worlds, Earth vs the Flying Saucers, Independence Day, and combine that with the mind of the director of Ed Wood, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands who grew up watching those types of movies? The result is Mars Attacks!, a sci- fi parody with an all-star cast; Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Danny DeVito, Jack Black, Paul Winfield, Annette Bening, Rod Steiger, Natalie Portman, Lisa Marie, Glenn Close, Martin Short, Michael J. Fox, and Jack Nicholson!!

Oh yes, this movie has stars a-plenty! This movie has more stars on Earth than you see in space!

This movie is one that you either love or hate. I love it! Though there are reasons why I rated it 9 stars rather than 10. One reason is because a lot of the characters I wanted to see live don't survive. Hell, one of my favourite characters dies very early on.

If this was another movie, the dated CG would've made me dock another star. But for the type of movie it is and for the genre it's spoofing, the now-poor CG works. In the '50s and '60s alien invader films that this makes fun of, the effects were dated in 1996 (strings visible that hold up the saucers, aliens obviously people in suits, etc). As a result, the effects in here being dated now unintentionally harks back to the dated effects of the '50s and '60s.

One very interesting scene is when one of the buildings in Vegas is destroyed. In real life, that building was actually scheduled to be demolished! Tim Burton got permission to film the demolition of the Landmark Hotel and Casino from multiple angles and it's demolition was used in the film so when you it destroyed in the movie, it was actually destroyed (though no one was actually inside.).

My mom told me that she saw this in the theatre and that it was the most terrifying movie she'd ever seen. Goes to show that Mars Attacks! isn't for everyone.

So if you like Tim Burton, alien invader films, sci-fi comedies or even all three, definitely give this film a watch.

Also, keep an eye out for the meat packing tycoon from Ed Wood, one of Burton's earlier films. He plays an investor in this film too.
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10/10
It's satire, not spoof!!!
feanorelf10 October 2005
I enjoy reading 'hated-it' reviews of movies I like. Here most of negative reviews complain about it being a no-fun spoof, some compare it with Airplane, mentioned as a good example of successful parody. and yes its restless gags, and countless cinephile quotes make it a very funny movie.

Mars Attacks is not Airplane: regardless what Tim Burton said about, Mars Attacks irony is not as much about '50ies movies: it is about STUPIDS, and, definitively, about how ALL mankind, with no exceptions, is stupid (especially US mankind in Burton intentions, I suppose).

Each character in the movie represent a cliché, and let them be intellectual, pacifist or their opposite, tycoons, Machiavellian, ambitious: all of them are greedy and blunt idiots beyond redemption, and without redemption they get killed by the martians who find it incredibly easy and funny (even though, the martian themselves are not much better than us, the movie suggests).

Some comments say the characters are unrealistically dumb... well they are dumb, but I still haven's seen in a movie or in a book such a high level of dumbness as to be unrealistic.

So, you will find this movie simply delicious if you accept being laughed at together with everyone and everything that surrounds you. On the contrary, if you think your supposed intelligence is too sacred to laugh at it, you've best watch another movie.
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10/10
Hide the Van Buren china!!!
crhoads-114 September 2007
I'll make this quick. Jim "Give Me The Ball" Brown speed-bagging bubble-headed martians as he journeys home to Pam "Foxy Brown" Grier. Tom Jones finger-snapping and rocking out to "It's Not Unusual" with a bald eagle on his arm. Las Vegas getting a demolition only Steve Wynn could dream of. And just about the most serous A-list cast not taking themselves seriously and having a ball. Your family and friends will have you committed for loving this but who cares! Just crank up the Slim Whitman and watch their heads explode. It's "Independence Day" meets "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" with Tim Burton again at the helm. The best picture of 1996!
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6/10
If you have a warped sense of humour, you'll enjoy this
rebeljenn21 January 2006
Tim Burton's film, 'Mars Attacks!' combines elements of dark humour with an alien invasion to create a hilarious film. There's no doubt about it that audiences will be torn between those who enjoyed the film (the comedy) and those who hated it. This film is a parody of other Earth-invasion films, such as 'Independence Day' and 'War of the Worlds', which have been a common theme in story-telling for decades and particularly in the 1950s. In this film, the aliens are content on destroying Earth and humiliating the humans for the sake of it. It's not a serious film at all, and you'll either love it or hate it, depending on how warped your sense of humour is. I thought it was fun, even though it is not the best film of all time.
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8/10
The best of it's class
MrVibrating30 March 2006
This lovingly created 50's movie homage by Tim Burton is one of my favourite sci-fi comedies. Since I regularly watch these kinds of movies, for example the work of late and great Ed Wood, I know the settings and the plot quite well, and most of the things in Mars Attacks! are spot on.

The cast is truly remarkable too. Never has so many actors fought for so little screen time without over-acting. Jack Nicholsson almost manages to steal the show with his two characters, but there are lots of other actors doing various roles, ranging from Pierce Brosnan as the sophisticated scientist(smoking a pipe!), Danny de Vito as a lawyer, Tom Jones as himself, Natalie Portman, Tim Burton's girlfriend Lisa Marie, Glenn Close, Michael J Fox(yay!) and quite a few others I've missed.

The effects are cheesy but well-made. Multi-coloured skeletons from multicoloured alien ray-gun blasts, flying saucers which are truly that(flying saucers), and lot's of pyrotechnics.

The aliens are really cool and come straight out of one of the cultiest of all 50's movies(I've sadly forgotten the title). Huge brains, staring eyes, and a sadistic sense of humour.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes the cheesiness of old-time sci-fi and can appreciate Tim Burton's love for it. 10/10
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8/10
The Perfect Alien Movie In My Eyes!
DomNickson84312 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler Alert!!! I really love Tim Burton's work but this movie is the icing on top of the cake and it really stands out! This movie has just about everything you could ever want from the legendary Tim Burton. It's got the dark humor, high body count, famous celebrities being killed in a hilarious fashion, and the funniest but creepiest looking aliens I have ever seen in my life. This movie is literally the most perfectly scripted movie I think I have ever seen for a Tim Burton film. I liked all of the characters even though a good chunk of them get killed. The reason I say this is the most perfect alien film was because I mean it has the basic idea of an alien species coming to Earth. Although it has a realistic idea of the aliens seeing the resources we have on this planet and wanting to take it from us- therefore having them completely destroy us as a nation and a race. I loved this movie so much it's my favorite movie ever, it's a 10 out of 10.
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10/10
Satire From Outer Space...
poe4268 November 2014
Warning: Spoilers
MARS ATTACKS! wastes no time whatsoever establishing its own intentions: we see a pair of rural neighbors exchanging pleasantries. One of the two gets a whiff of something and realizes that they must be standing downwind of a barbecue. Before you can say "pile it on a plate," a herd of burning cattle comes thundering over the horizon. If THAT doesn't make clear the filmmaker's intentions, nothing could. Tim Burton pokes loving fun at- of all things- a series of bubble gum cards from the 1960s- and he does it brilliantly. A former friend whose tastes run to just about everything every filmmaker has ever produced told me that he "hates" this movie. I've frankly never been able to figure out why: it has ALL of the elements he loves so much in so many lesser efforts. Only done far better. Looking at the info provided on this site, I see that the original cards were written by one Len Brown. I wonder if this is the same Len Brown who served as the model for Wally Wood's Len Brown- Dynamo- in the old Tower comics...?
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7/10
Refreshingly mean-spirited
Leofwine_draca25 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Tim Burton's sci-fi spoof was a massive flop on first release; this was because audiences were expecting a straight science fiction film, when what they got in fact was a comedy. People either love or hate this film, there is no in between, and thankfully I'm in the former camp in this case. As a comedy, Burton's film is wonderful. A star-studded cast of famous faces send themselves up shamelessly, all of those tacky alien invasion pictures of the 1950s are referenced and paid homage too, and on top of all this, we have loads of excellent CGI effects to contend with. The comic book feel of the film comes from the rich, bright colours, everything looks fake and tacky, and it's meant to.

Along the way we get take-offs of WAR OF THE WORLDS, EARTH VERSUS THE FLYING SAUCERS, and INDEPENDENCE DAY. The Martians themselves are a delightfully mischievous little bunch who enjoy mass destruction and sadism. Comedy highlights include a scene where one such Martian runs through the burning streets with a tape playing "Do not run. We are your friends!"! The bulging brain and eyeballs of these creatures make them very distinctive and difficult to forget, and as a bonus they're excellently animated too. The UFOs are also wonderful.

As with any comedy, things are hit and miss, but as a whole this film is a success. It's difficult to believe the ensemble cast assembled here. Jack Nicholson overacts in not one but two roles as the president and an entrepreneur. Glenn Close appears briefly as his wife before being crushed by a falling chandelier. Annette Bening is an annoying New Ager who sadly doesn't get incinerated by the aliens. Pierce Brosnan plays a clichéd British scientist who ends up minus his body in one of the film's many odd and unique moments. Sarah Jessica Parker is the braindead chat show host who gets her head attached to the body of her dog. Danny DeVito is an obsessive gambler who fails to impress an alien enemy and gets fried. Michael J. Fox loses his hand. Martin Short mistakes an alien in disguise for his newest girlfriend and has his finger chewed off for his troubles. Rod Steiger goes way, way over the top as an antagonistic general ("Annihilate! Destroy! Kill! Kill!) and gets shrunken and then stepped upon. Lukas Haas (all grown up from WITNESS) is a dumb teenage hero. Natalie Portman is the president's daughter. Tom Jones cameos as himself. Jim Brown and Pam Grier come back from the '70s. The list goes on.

Everybody sends themselves up and acts appallingly. They seem to be having a really good time and this feeling rubs off. Burton also doesn't skimp on the violence, revelling in burning cattle, destruction (the stone heads on Easter Island turned skittles is a good one), people being ray-gunned and turning into multicoloured skeletons, amputations, and various other gory highlights, all in the spirit of the original sadistic Topps trading cards of the '60s. Ever wished that dog in INDEPENDENCE DAY had bought it? Here's your chance to see a canine fry. As a satire, MARS ATTACKS! has a winning formula and should be seen by any good-natured science fiction addict.
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10/10
Hilarious slapstick!
MovieAddict201626 August 2002
I thought MARS ATTACKS was great. I must say though I'm a little surprised all the famous actors that were in this film joined the cast considering the film's no "breakthrough" for this generation filmmaking. Tim Burton's best since BATMAN, MARS ATTACKS never lets us satisfy for less. 3.5/5 stars-worth seeing JUST for the stars, let alone the comedic brilliance of it all.

JOHN ULMER
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10/10
A wonderful and more realistic version of Independence Day
Serva24 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
It's truly sad to see the people here that don't understand this movie and take it way too seriously. Mars Attacks is a parody of jingoistic movies like Independence Day and the likes of that film, and a brilliant such. I just love how in complete opposite to films like Armageddon and the mentioned Science Fiction blockbuster, it is the weak normal people with no real power (read: with no money) that come out the winners and get the awards in the end when the materialistic values around them lies in ruins - not the strong male macho heroes we're used to. The Martians themselves are so beautifully politically incorrect it almost hurts, yet in a good way. They have a passionate hatred for the most innocent beings they can find - such as animals and old people - and kill them every opportunity they get. And not once throughout the whole movie do we get an explanation to the Martians evil behavior, that's simply the way they are. Film-making-wise this is pure genius. Danny Elfman's music is awesome, and the special effects are really effective as well - just as fake-looking and cheesy as they should be. People complain about the story but there's really nothing to complain about, like mentioned it's a good story of underdogs and outcasts defeating evil through common sense, while the greedy, power-hungry and egoistic get what's coming to them.

If you like Sci-Fi and have a sense of humor - preferably non-PC satirical and black humor like Monty Python, The Simpsons, American Beauty etc - then this is a film for you. Otherwise you should stay away from this one and go back to brain-dead films like Air Force One or Team America: World Police which don't need the viewer to think, where the current system is applauded and the reason that the day is saved in the end.
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10/10
Comedy Films Of The 90's: Mars Attacks!
FloatingOpera71 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Mars Attacks! (1996): Starring Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Martin Short, Natalie Portman, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Danny Devito, Rod Steiger, Pam Grier, Tom Jones, Christina Applegate, Jack Black, Paul Winfield. Director Tim Burton, Screenplay Jonathan Gems.

At first glance, Mars Attacks is a hilarious and colorful spoof of "Independence Day" (1995), but it also parodies science fiction/flying saucer films of the 1950's. While audiences generally disliked this comedy, no where else will you find a genuinely funny and fun film that boasts a cast of Hollywood icons like Danny Devito, Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Martin Short, Pierce Brosnan, Pam Grier and Michael J. Fox, who are each straying from their usual repertoire and doing some good, zany, offbeat comedy. The premise: A race of funny-looking aliens who talk like ducks come to earth, betray a peace pact with humans and begin to rain destruction over dozens of cities, including Las Vegas. Alien specialist Barbara Land (Annette Bening) welcomes the aliens along with her hippie-like, New Age, alien enthusiast friends. Jack Nicholson portrays the President, in a role that he is clearly having fun with. Glenn Close, also, is having fun in the role of the First Lady. Natalie Portman, not yet a well-known actress, plays their daughter Taffy Dale. Martin Short plays Jerry Ross the Press Secretary who in a memorably humorous scene attempts to seduce an alien who has assumed the shape of a beautiful, tall striking woman with a beehive hairdo. Sarah Jessica Parker portrays Nathalie, a news reporter covering the invasion, who is in a relationship with political activist Jason Stone (Michael J. Fox). Nathalie falls for the brilliant and sexy Professor Donald Kessler (Pierce Brosnan) and both become victims of the alien's transformation power, so that for much of the film we see Sarah Jessica Parker's head on the body of a dog and the head of Pierce Brosnan inside a glass container. It's hilarious! Pam Grier, taking on the tough black girl/single mother persona she does so well, portrays Louise Williams whose husband is in the army and an obvious black G.I.Joe type of guy. Sure, much of this is outlandish, cartoonish and appears to cater to child-like audiences, but it's an entertaining movie nonetheless. And although no one saw it at the time, this movie paved the way for the more successful space alien comedies Men In Black. Mars Attacks is well-written, with characters who, although flat and straight out of comic books, are interesting. You have to be able to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy this movie and you have to be willing to lose yourself in the laughter, as this is the kind of film that depends on visual and spoken comedy. This is a document of comedy films of the 1990's, but the kind of comedy that is specifically targeting a demographic- younger, fans of alien invasion movies and fans of good comedy.
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8/10
Relax . . . It's Not Supposed To Be High Art!
capteagen11 June 2013
I used the summary I did because I get the feeling reading other reviews that people were expecting SFX like those of "Independence Day" or "Alien(s)," etc., and were disappointed in not finding them here. In truth, I believe producer/director Tim Burton and the older cast members in particular knew exactly what they were doing. They directed the film at a general audience to be sure, but also targeted a segment of older viewers like me; the Baby Boomers who came of age at the height of the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation, and/or accidental contamination by nuclear fallout or waste wherein the consequences included things as harmless as "Blinky" the three-eyed fish of The Simpson's fame, to atomic mutations on steroids such as the giant ants in the 50s thriller, "Them."

I am the quintessential member of that target audience; I'm 57 years old, male, and grew-up on a diet of Saturday afternoon and "late, late show" television that often included a healthy (or unhealthy depending upon one's views) dose of 1950s SciFi "classics," such as "Earth vs. The Flying Saucers", "War of the Worlds", "The Day The Earth Stood Still", the aforementioned "Them", "I Married A Monster From Outer Space", "The Thing From Another World", and others. Those were the high quality films; those with good scripts, good acting (e.g. Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, etc.), and enjoyable, if not exactly believable, story lines. Then there were those of much lower quality, e.g. "Zontar, Thing From Venus", "Beast With A Million Eyes", "The Crawling Eye" (known in the UK as "The Trollenberg Terror"), and others. The thing is, at the time people of my generation loved them all, regardless of quality. They were escapist fun, period; and sometimes the cheesier they were, e.g. "Plan Nine From Outer Space," the better.

One suspects that Tim Burton, two years younger than me, wasted a lot of Saturday afternoon watching such fare. We know Steven Spielberg did because he said so! Regardless, what Burton and the cast have done is that they created a very tongue-in-cheek and very campy homage to the entire 1950s SciFi genre. I don't want to be a spoiler but suffice it to say that there are sly, and some not so sly, allusions to much of the finest in 1950s schlock.

I don't think this next observation will spoil anything, but perhaps one of the most significant, and I believe heartfelt, references to yesteryear is the appearance of the Martian "flying saucers." They clearly are meant to honor the work of the late Ray Harryhausen, the master of stop-action photography. Ray died only last month (May 7, 2013) at the age of 92, but his work as director, cinematographer, and special effects coordinator in such films as "Clash of the Titans", "Jason and the Argonauts", "It Came from Beneath the Sea", and "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers" just to name few, was considered to be the high tech leading edge of SFX in its time. Before the advent of today's computer generated wonders, Ray was a true wizard and even though computer generated graphics are used here, Burton's crew made the saucers look like the work of stop-action photography, which had to be something of a labor of love.

In any event, while it may not be the be all and end all of film making, the movie nonetheless accomplishes it's goal of sort of taking us back to a somewhat simpler time, and doing it with equal parts humor and loving attention to cheesy detail.
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8/10
Awesome!
Scars_Remain20 February 2008
I borrowed this from a friend because I've really been getting into Tim Burton lately and want to try to see all of his films. I expected this one to be kind of a rotten egg because of the rating on IMDb and just the whole premise of the film. I was wrong, this movie is a hilarious and action packed load of fun.

Tim Burton does another great job directing and has a star filled cast. Everyone is awesome, especially Jack Nicholson, and Lukas Haas. I usually hate CGI a lot but the cheesy CGI in this film added to the cartoony feel and made it that much more fun. The story is ridiculous and bizarre but awesome nonetheless. I also thought the humor was spot on. This is a new favorite.

See this movie if you Sci-Fi/Comedy. It's a must!
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