Mars Attacks!

Mars Attacks! Image
Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 19 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 113 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Earth is overrun with mean, green invaders! They're armed with insta-fry ray guns, endowed with slimy, humungous brains, and enlivened with out-of-this-world but state-of-the-art special effects. Thrill! As Earth fights back with an unexpected weapon. Take that, Martians! (Warner Bros.)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 19
  2. Negative: 2 out of 19
  1. 90
    Part homage and part demolition job, Mars Attacks! is perhaps the funniest piece of giddy schlock heartlessness ever committed to film.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Nicholson squeezes every wretched drop of buffoonery from this character, and it's distressing to watch him play an easy role for easy laughs.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 19 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 19
  2. Negative: 6 out of 19
  1. Sep 9, 2010
    10
    Martians are look like completely not realistic graphics but a good plot
  2. StephenS.
    Sep 14, 2006
    10
    I just love this movie. I'm 58 years old and have been watching sci-fi movies for over 50 of those years. This movie has all the laughs I just love this movie. I'm 58 years old and have been watching sci-fi movies for over 50 of those years. This movie has all the laughs of Matinee (another terrific movie) without the slightest attempt to soften the satire or blunt the humor with pathos. Great music, beautiful photography. It gets better with each viewing. Expand
  3. Jan 31, 2013
    9
    The aliens are upon us, and they do not come in peace! After a fleet of warships are spotted on their approach to Earth, the world leadersThe aliens are upon us, and they do not come in peace! After a fleet of warships are spotted on their approach to Earth, the world leaders prepare to welcome the intergalactic invaders from Mars, but are instead vaporized by their laser death rays! Who will save us when MARS ATTACKS? Tim Burton's irreverent black comedy combines the high camp of a Roger Corman production with Sam Raimi's particular brand of "splatstick" humor for an end result that is nothing short of hilarious! MARS ATTACKS features an all-star lineup that includes Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Annette Benning, Michael J. Fox, and many, many more playing ridiculous caricatures of our social and political figureheads. Academy Award winners Jack Nicholson and Rod Steiger stand out in particular as the two opposing heads of government. Nicholson plays the politically-correct President of the United States who overlooks the aliens' initial attacks as being a "cultural misunderstanding," while Steiger gives us a taste of DR. STRANGELOVE as General Decker, whose hand is always on the button as he anxiously awaits the authorization to deploy his nuclear deterrents. Expand
  4. Feb 7, 2013
    5
    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 thenIf 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
  5. Apr 3, 2016
    5
    A goofy cultural artifact, Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks!" is a cult sci-fi comedy miscast as an elaborate, all-star studio extravaganza. TheA 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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  6. Jun 22, 2013
    4
    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 itAn 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. Expand
  7. BobB.
    May 29, 2006
    0
    Tim Burton made this? or was he just making an attempt at a modern Ed Wood film?

See all 19 User Reviews

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