Mars Attacks

Weekly Alibi


REVIEWED: 07-08-97

Director Tim Burton's entry in the new wave of extraterrestrial menace movies flopped pretty hard in the wake of Independence Day, but we're talkin' apples and oranges here. Where ID4 treated the subject seriously (using the term loosely, of course), Mars Attacks goes for all-out goofiness and, for the most part, succeeds wildly. I'll admit, when I saw the film in its theatrical run, I went ape bananas for the Martian sequences, but the scenes involving humans left me a little cold. Whether it's that I knew what to expect or just that the film works better on the small screen, I didn't feel the same way watching it on video. The Martian stuff still had me busting a gut, but I found myself entertained by my own species, as well. Based on the supercool Topps trading cards, Mars Attacks wastes no time in establishing itself as an over-the-top ass-slapper of a movie, as a herd of flaming cows stampedes over a hillside and a flying saucer zips away into the sky. President Jack Nicholson tries to prepare the world for its first contact with the Martians, but the little bastards start blasting the hell out of everyone in sight and before long, it's nothin' but panic in the streets. The all-star cast assembled by Burton is pretty astounding--Nicholson (in a dual role), Pierce Brosnan, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Jim Brown and Pam Grier, to name a few--but the real stars are the computer-generated Martians. These bulbous-brained pricks are the most mean-spirited, wise-assed little scumbags in the history of cinema, and if you're like me, you'll be inhaling your pork rinds in hysteria at their vicious antics. A few slow places, and Will Smith might not be in it, but recommended 100 percent. (Warner Home Video)

--Scott Phillips

Capsule Reviews
Mars Attacks
Mars Attacks

Other Films by Tim Burton
Sleepy Hollow

Film Vault Suggested Links
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Mystery Science Theater 3000: Shorts

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