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Mars Attacks!

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Mars Attacks!

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close
Director: Tim Burton
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: December 1996
Genres: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy




Review by Dragan Antulov
1½ stars out of 4

In 1990s Hollywood discovered new sources of inspiration, and sometimes those sources of inspiration proved to be more than unusual. In case of Tim Burton some of those sources were downright bizarre. The best example was his 1996 science fiction parody MARS ATTACKS!, based on the set of 1960s trading cards.

Just as the title says, plot deals with planet Earth being invaded by aliens from Mars. They come to Earth in thousands of flying sources, armed with powerful ray guns and sadistic sense of humour. Their apparent aim is to exterminate all life, including humans, and they have great fun in doing so. However, clueless US President (played by Jack Nicholson) would need extra proof before he gets convinced in true nature of Martian intentions. By the time he knows what awaits Earth, it is too late - unstoppable Martians are killing and destroying all in their path. However, small band of survivors, that includes donut shop clerk from Kansas (played by Lukas Haas) would by chance discover a way to defeat the invaders.

In 1994 Tim Burton directed ED WOOD and thus paid the ultimate homage to Ed Wood, filmmaker (in)famous as the author of the worst film ever made. But it seems that Burton wanted to go even further and make film with reputation equal to PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, Wood's best known achievement. Unlike Wood, he had some 70 million US$ of budget at his disposal and this budget is very visible in the film. There are plenty of CGI shots and the cast is really impressive, with some famous actors like Nicholson having to play more than one role. However, all their efforts seem wasted because the characters they play are so one-dimensional and annoying that the audience wouldn't notice or even care when they get pulverised by Martians. Another big problem of MARS ATTACKS! is lack of humour in Jonathan Gems' script - and since this is comedy, that means that the audience would have to watch a single joke all over again. However, occasionally there are few hits among many misses and those patient enough to sit through the entire film would be awarded with an memorable image or two. But those memorable images are hardly the reason to be subjected to MARS ATTACKS!, the most unpleasant surprise to all those who had based their expectations on the previous work of someone like Tim Burton.

Copyright 2003 Dragan Antulov

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