Warner Bros. Pictures | Release Date: December 13, 1996
6.6
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 118 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
64
Mixed:
39
Negative:
15
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6
FilmVirtueSep 10, 2014
A very well constructed parody of 50's films. The effects are not convincing but are well created, plus the action filled story combined with comedy makes for a well rounded film experience---for what It's worth
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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5
NecromusFeb 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 scratchingIf 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?" Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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5
MovieMasterEddyApr 3, 2016
A goofy cultural artifact, Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!" is a cult sci-fi comedy miscast as an elaborate, all-star studio extravaganza. The technically brilliant picture possesses a quirky insider tone that will appeal to specializedA goofy cultural artifact, Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!" is a cult sci-fi comedy miscast as an elaborate, all-star studio extravaganza. The technically brilliant picture possesses a quirky insider tone that will appeal to specialized student-age audiences and older sci-fi fans but will fly over, under and around the general public.

Although the intent and feel of the film, which is based on some rare Topps trading cards of the early ’60s, are very different from “Independence Day,” this pic’s belligerent aliens and massive worldwide destruction they unleash, including the demolition of Washington, D.C. landmarks, unavoidably remind of the blockbuster. Burton’s picture could even be construed as something of a satire of the summer’s monster hit, although it was clearly made with no reference to it.

After a surreal curtain-raiser involving some stampeding barbecued cows, pic gets down to business quickly, as hundreds of hubcap-like, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”-style flying saucers approach Earth, and Americans, led by president Jack Nicholson, optimistically prepare to welcome them in friendly fashion.

During the initial half-hour, as the world awaits the Martians’ landing, an assortment of characters in three distinct locations present themselves. In Kansas, there is a trailer-home family in which gun-nut son Jack Black heads off for Army duty while his misfit brother, Lukas Haas, mans the donut stand and looks after Grandma (Sylvia Sidney).

n Las Vegas, a sleazy hotel entrepreneur, also played by Nicholson, is hatching a scheme for the biggest hotel yet on the Strip while wife Annette Bening swears off booze in favor of New Age enthusiasms. At the same time, former heavyweight champ Jim Brown, reduced to working as a Pharaonic greeter at an Egyptian-themed hotel, is plotting a return to his family, consisting of no-nonsense Pam Grier and two teenage sons, in D.C.

But the main action is in the White House, where gung-ho general Rod Steiger, looking like Mussolini, and first lady Glenn Close urge the prez to nuke the visitors posthaste, while pipe-smoking scientific adviser Pierce Brosnan assures everyone of the Martians’ undoubted civility and goodwill.

When the big day of the space invaders’ landing arrives, the Martian spokesthing, with its skeletal head, bulging, rolling eyes and enormous brain emerging atop a dazzling red robe, assures the crowd of military, led by Colin Powell-like general Paul Winfield, media, leftover hippies and New Agers that they come in peace — and then abruptly leads its cohorts in frying the assembled humans with ray guns.

Despite this shock, the president invites the Martian ambassador to address a joint session of Congress, whereupon the politicos are promptly incinerated as well. Thus begins a full-scale war, with the Martians invading in force, laughing uproariously as they wipe out everyone and everything in their path and killing off a good many of the principals in the process. Ultimately, the least likely character in the piece is the one to find the aliens’ unexpected Achilles’ heel.

But 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. Pic is loaded with wit, nifty little ideas and an extraordinary sense of design, but its allure is of quite a particular nature, much closer to that of “Ed Wood” than of Burton’s earlier, and far more commercially successful, works.

For connoisseurs, then, there are many pleasures to be had; others may find the film amusing but hardly compelling. The affection Burton and his cohorts possess for the sci-fi of the Cold War era is unmistakable, and is conveyed here through a loving reinterpretation of the aesthetic of the period. Hats off to the exceptional production team, from production designer Wynn Thomas, costume designer Colleen Atwood and lenser Peter Suschitzky to the many special- and visual-effects hands, who have done a superlative job making deliberately cheesy and artificial effects look seamless and utterly convincing. Music also plays a key part in the proceedings, from Danny Elfman’s patented fun-house sounds to some mordantly used pop tunes.

The insidious little Martians are great fun to watch, especially as they cast withering glances at the naive Earthlings and take great sport in doing them in. Creatures were computer-generated, and interact with utter precision and believability with the human actors and real backgrounds.
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1 of 2 users found this helpful11
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4
BrianMcCriticJun 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.
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
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6
Rox22Apr 16, 2013
Mars Attacks tries too hard to be an intentionally bad movie. Even so, it still is charming and definitely nails the "so-bad-that-it's-good" category. Tons of cameos of stars that really shouldn't be in the movie at all.

Overall: This is
Mars Attacks tries too hard to be an intentionally bad movie. Even so, it still is charming and definitely nails the "so-bad-that-it's-good" category. Tons of cameos of stars that really shouldn't be in the movie at all.

Overall:
This is a bad movie, no doubt about that. But, it is also incredibly charming and worth a watch for a quick tasteless laugh.
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0 of 0 users found this helpful00
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