Release Year: 1996
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Jonathan Gems (story & screenplay)
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Benning, Pierce Brosnan, Martin Short, Danny DeVito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Hass, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Winfield, Jack Black, Joe Don Baker, O-Lan Jones
Earth is invaded by Martians with unbeatable weapons and a cruel sense of humour.
In a way it is very fitting that Tim Burton’s follow up to his 1994 film Ed Wood, is a tacky space invasion movie which spoofs the older sci-fi movies of Ed Wood’s day. It is far fro mBurton’s best film and has very few of his trademarks, be it actors or themes. But it is good fun. The computer effects are still decent in the sense that they are good enough not to distract from the story. Jack Nicholson (Chinatown, 1974) is great as the U.S. president, while Pierce Brosnan (The Ghost Writer, 2010) delivers a funny portrayal of the arrogant scientist. Some plotlines work better than others; Sarah Jessica Parker (Failure to Launch, 2006) and her unlikely whirlwind romance with Brosnan’s Professor Kessler seem there mostly for comic relief, where as the storyline revolving around Lukas Haas (Inception, 2010) and his wacky family is by far the most interesting and the one with the most heart. Goofy and unrestrained this is far from Burton’s best but a loving nod to the sci-fi films of a bygone age.
Mars Attacks! is meant as a spoof of the classic 1950s alien invasion films. That is why all U.S. army uniform, tanks, artillery, and sicentific apparatus dates from the 1950s even though the story is set in the 1990s.
Picture Copyright: Warner Bros.