Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. 50
    Mars Attacks! has the look and feel of a schlocky 1950s science-fiction movie, and if it's not as bad as a Wood film, that's not a plus: A movie like this should be a lot better, or a lot worse.
  2. 50
    A stillborn affair that could have been -- and should have been -- a whole lot hipper and funnier. If you've seen the two- minute theatrical trailer, you've seen nearly everything that's worthwhile in the feature.
  3. In its nothing's-quite-at-stake way, Mars Attacks! has Tim Burton's flaked-out spirit -- it makes you feel like a very knowing 8-year-old, seeing through the artifice yet believing in it at the same time.
  4. The result can be viewed as an uproarious satire of science fiction in the "Independence Day" mold, or as a rehash of "Gremlins" without the novelty of the original.
  5. Not as much fun as it should be. Few of its numerous actors make a lasting impression and Burton's heart and soul is not in the humor but (remember the "Batman Returns" backlash) in deadpan postmodern horrors, of which this film has a few.
  6. With the exception of Burton's jolting sight gags (I may never recover from the vision of Parker's head grafted on to the body of a chihuahua), the comedy is half-developed, pedestrian material. And the climactic battle between Earthlings and Martians is dull and overextended.
  7. I'm not sure what it all means, but, as in Ed Wood, Burton's visual flair and affection for the characters make it fun.
  8. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The picture is lacking in the uproarious humor that might well have ensued from the material, which instead inspires occasional laughs but, much more often, bemused fascination and wonderment at the bizarre imaginations and impressive skill of the filmmakers.
  9. A flashy nineties flick with a campy fifties feel -- it's playful, naive, clever, silly, often inventive, occasionally uneven and, compared to studio offerings to date, the best present under this year's cinematic tree.
  10. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    What makes you giggle your way through much of the movie isn't the jokes--Jonathan Gems's script is surprisingly feeble, and Burton's comic timing is often flat-- but the sheer, oddball chutzpah of it all. [23 Dec 1996]
  11. 10
    It's stingy at heart. Burton, who collaborated with British screenwriter Jonathan Gems, brings nothing of "Edward Scissorhands's" magic or "Beetlejuice's" wacky fun to this sadly empty exercise. Aimlessly plotted and blandly written.
  12. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Perhaps they don't create quite enough deeply funny earthlings to go around, but a thoroughly meanspirited big-budget movie is always a treasurable rarity. And those little guys from far away are a hoot. [30 Dec 1996]
  13. Nicholson squeezes every wretched drop of buffoonery from this character, and it's distressing to watch him play an easy role for easy laughs.
  14. Just a parade of scattershot gags, more often weird than funny an dmost often just flat. [13 Dec 1996, p.C5]
  15. This messy science fiction comedy blows most of its inspired moments because of its mean-spirited, deafening siege mentality, which turns rich promise into a tiresome parade of half-baked skits. Hilarity never seemed so tedious.
  16. Reviewed by: Staff (Non Credited)
    It may seem mean-spirited to complain that in the end Burton's spectacle is a bit hollow. But his genius has always resided in his ability to give depth and a curious, dark richness to the ephemeral fluff of his pop-culture memories -- this is all sparkly surface.
  17. Reviewed by: Alison Macor
    A holiday film with no conscience whatsoever, Mars Attacks! will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and it definitely will make you wonder about Earth's ability to defend itself in the face of higher life forms.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Part homage and part demolition job, Mars Attacks! is perhaps the funniest piece of giddy schlock heartlessness ever committed to film.
  19. Reviewed by: Scott Rosenberg
    It turns out to be more a throwaway piece of pop ephemera, like a '90s "Casino Royale," momentarily arresting and soon forgotten.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 5 out of 16
  1. Feb 7, 2013
    If you're looking for a B-movie quality parody of B-movies with a bunch of well-known actors thrown into a plot-less confusion of a movie then you'll enjoy this! But if you are like me you'll just leave the theater after viewing it scratching your head saying "What the hell was that I just watched?" Full Review »
  2. Sep 9, 2010
    Martians are look like completely not realistic graphics but a good plot
  3. Jun 22, 2013
    An all star cast leads to Tim Burton's first sub par film. This film has a who's who of talented actors and actresses, but unfortunately it has a silly script and ridiculous aliens. Full Review »