Welcome to the continuation of my Tim Burton “REWIND” review series! Today, we’ll be taking a look at Mars Attacks!, the 1996 film that may or may not be Burton’s biggest example of how weird he can make a film. Let’s get into it!
So, the setup for Mars Attacks! is pretty simple. Martians arrive on Earth, we find out how to communicate with them, and they decide to wipe out the human race in a funny, weird, and campy way. The tagline for this film is “Nice Planet. We’ll Take It!” That’s pretty much how the film plays out. The aliens don’t even hesitate. As soon as that bird flies into the air, the siege begins, and the massacre starts. It’s a hilarious scene that pretty much encapsulates the whole film into one, complete with the Martians’ famous quacking sounds.
The writing in this film…I know it’s supposed to be written like an old B-movie, and when you look at it like that, then it works. I appreciate that about this film. However, when it comes to having actual developed characters, the movie misses the mark. I totally understand that the vision intended for Mars Attacks! doesn’t leave much room for character development. For me, the film doesn’t have to be a more rounded film to like it. However, I still would’ve liked a tiny bit of background for some of these characters, especially considering the star-studded cast.
The film itself does get quite a bit boring and sluggish at times. When a film’s only mode of entertaining the audience is having Martians blow people up, there really isn’t much else to do. You do get plenty of Martians blowing people up, though, and *laughs* it is really awesome. As for the comedy aspect of this Mars Attacks!, when you think of it in terms of being a campy and weird B-movie, then you will definitely be entertained, and you’ll have a few laughs! But if you’re looking for a film that takes itself seriously, then this is not the movie for you.
There really isn’t much else to say about Mars Attacks!. It’s fun & enjoyable for some people, and stupid & dumb for others. The film gets a B- from me. I appreciate the sense of humor used in this film, so that’s why I gave it a borderline-positive grade. If you enjoy it, good for you. It takes a certain type of person to appreciate this type of humor. I hated Batman & Robin as a film, but it’s definitely campy enough for me to enjoy watching for fun. If you’re looking for a more grounded and serious film, then you probably won’t enjoy Mars Attacks!.
Mars Attacks! stars Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sidney. Directed by Tim Burton.