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Mars Attacks! (1996)



Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 63
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 30

Tim Burton's alien invasion spoof faithfully recreates the wooden characters and schlocky story of cheesy '50s sci-fi and Ed Wood movies -- perhaps a little too faithfully for audiences.


Average Rating: 5.2/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 10

Tim Burton's alien invasion spoof faithfully recreates the wooden characters and schlocky story of cheesy '50s sci-fi and Ed Wood movies -- perhaps a little too faithfully for audiences.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.8/5
User Ratings: 433,762

My Rating

Movie Info

This quirky science fiction comedy is a characteristic feature by iconoclastic director Tim Burton, known to moviegoers for Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The storyline affectionately harkens back to the deadpan sincerity of such '50s and '60s science-fiction films as The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds. Flying saucers have been reliably seen over the capitals of the world, and the whole world awaits with bated breath to see what will

Jun 24, 1997

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now


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All Critics (66) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (30) | DVD (16)

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.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comment (1)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

oaded 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.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety | Comment (1)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unfortunately, it's not very good.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Just a parade of scattershot gags, more often weird than funny and most often just flat.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Only moderately amusing.

October 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hilarity never seemed so tedious.

June 18, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a sadistically silly spoof that uses a cheesy ray gun to blow away the tropes of science-fiction past.

April 16, 2014 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

Yes, it's over-the-top, but there's a terrifying truth in how politicians would want to spin this or media would want to angle it.

January 19, 2014 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

An over directed and poorly written farce...

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Tim Burton's tribute to the B sci-fi-alien genre of the 1950s is sharply uneven, but the top-notch cast, dark humor, and production values offer some pleasure.

July 3, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Alien-invasion satire for older tweens and up.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The pinko commie Independence Day, Burton's film orders an invasion of little green men not to reinvigorate our all-American bloodlust, but to make us look like complete and utter boobs.

September 1, 2009 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Since the movie is obviously designed to be a larky romp through low-culture cheese, it may seem mean-spirited to complain that in the end Burton's spectacle is a bit hollow.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Burton's only failure.

August 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4 | Comments (4)

Burton is at his funniest when the Martians are zapping away like brats playing a video game.

September 27, 2007 Full Review Source:

It has a silly juvenile appeal in its unrelenting and subversive camp satire of the pop culture scene.

January 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This may not be the best or funniest effort by Burton. It is his biggest, and a lot of fun, too.

April 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

A most unpleasant surprise to all those who based their expectations on Burton's previous work.

May 22, 2003 Full Review | Comment (1)

A very disappointing effort by director Tim Burton.

March 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

A frantic, funny love letter to an era of entertainment gone by, but also a top-notch example of modern comedy.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Netflix

It's got attitude, goodness knows; it has stars by the fistful; and it certainly was made with technical skill. What it doesn't have is enough of a story to fill an hour and 46 minutes.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Audience Reviews for Mars Attacks!

July 17, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

This may be one of Tim Burton's more underrated and lesser films, but this zany homage to cheesy 50s alien invader films is nonetheless very well done, hugely entertaining, and a whole lot of gleefully campy fun.

It's actually rather dark and a little gruesome (this is a Burton film overall), but it comes across as kind of shocking since it is supposed to be a tribute film. The spirit of the old stuff remains, just in a revamped and glossy form better fit for the 90s. Still though, there's a lot of good gags, and the overall look and special effects are just awesome. As a bonus, they still hold up pretty nicely, too.

The star studded cast is pretty awesome, and they generally do a good job, and it's clear they're having a lot of fun and not taking themselves too seriously, and that's a good thing. Probably the best part of the cast for me, besides the inclusion of two blaxploitation stars, is the inclusion of the voice of Slim Whitman, which is used to great effect in a wonderfully inspired solution to the problem of the invading aliens.

All in all, a fun movie I definitely recommend.
November 27, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A superb cast including Jack Nicholson, Danny Devito and Tom Jones is topped with the unique humour that is created by Tim Burton. While the Martians are cruel, the have some superb scenarios that may unsettle you or have laughing along with it. Think of 'Mars Attacks!' as a tribute to B-Movies of the 1950's and you may enjoy this.
September 9, 2012
Samuel Riley
Samuel Riley

Super Reviewer

Burton intended this as an homage to a bad thing that was not taken seriously by anyone in the first place - and this dreadful movie only shows that he took the idea too literally. As a parody it is even worse, not bad enough to be good and with an idiotic humor that hardly works.
August 15, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. President Dale: SHUT UP! Shut up, SHUT UP!
    – Submitted by Matthew D (14 months ago)
    1. Donald Kessler: We need a welcome mat, not a row of tanks!
    – Submitted by Augusta M (15 months ago)
    1. Jason Stone: When the Martians land, will the press have access?
    – Submitted by Augusta M (15 months ago)
    1. Jason Stone: She's flirting with him!
    – Submitted by Augusta M (15 months ago)
    1. Taffy Dale: Can you keep it down? Some people live here.
    – Submitted by Augusta M (15 months ago)
    1. President Dale: Can't we all just get along?
    – Submitted by Rob M (19 months ago)
View all quotes (13)

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Foreign Titles

  • Mars Attacks! (DE)
  • Mars Attacks (UK)
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