Mars Attacks! - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mars Attacks! Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 16, 2007
Yaaa-hooo! Now here's a alien movie for ya, yessiree! Burton's half-tribute, half nudge in the ribs to the old sci-fi of the 1950's not only does well, it surpasses it's subject matter and most of the current day items of the same ilk. Still crazy as well after all these years. Howzit get only a 52% on the damned tomatometer?!? Who are these mongoloids?
Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
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.
Samuel Riley
Super Reviewer
September 9, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
½ December 29, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ September 16, 2011
Tim Burton's trash parody of Sci-fi picture from the 50's is a kinda funny and scary black comedy, but the script is not very entertaining and make the audience want look for better movies and I agree with them. Rotten.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2008
Flawed, but still clever satire of american culture. It's both a homage and parody of 50's crappy sci/fi flicks with a very acid sense of humour, and just happens to be the right mix of all of the above. So it's no wonder why it got so many people pissed. It makes a mockery out of every single "sacred" thing out there, from family to the military. Unlike your average alien invasion flick, the army doesn't save the day, neither some super genius scientist (the only one in the film is portrayed as a tre-hugging moron) and everything that could go wrong goes very much wrong.

You just can't be mad with a film that has Mrs Sex and the City's head attached to the body of a chihuahua dog. That and a mariachi band performing the USA anthem. They also kill pretty much every single character in the movie. It's the last good thing Tim Burton did.
Super Reviewer
August 23, 2011
Very good in the way that I know it's meant to be a mockery. All the actors had their 'funny' voices on and although it's not an amazing film it works very well just to cheer you up with a few tacky laughs. The aliens are pretty funny but that alien woman who gets into the White House was just creepy with her arm waving.
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2011
I actually enjoyed Mars Attacks. I think the reason why critics weren't too nice about was that they may have taken it too seriously. As I was watching it, I took as a spoof film and not a serious alien invasion film like Battle: L.A. or Independence Day. Plus, its nice to see TimBurton do something thats not up his alley.

The film features a large ensemble cast. In the film, the First Family (played by Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, and Natalie Portman) discover that the Earth will be able to make contact with alien life. The Martians don't end up coming in peace and violence ensues after a hippie throws a dove up in the air when they land. So, President Jack Nicholson and a few other funny characters must stop the global invasion.

This is an underrated film in my opinion. Just don't take it seriously and you won't be thrown off. The comedic performances are nicely done. Mars Attacks is a throwback to the sci-fi B-Movies of the 50s and 60s and it is a good one.

Let me go into brief detail about the ensemble cast. Theres Jack Black, Michael J. Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker, Danny Devito, Martin Short, Pierce Brosman, Tom Jones, and many others. They know how to act not too stupid and not too serious. Jack Nicholson's two roles are very funny. I also liked the scripting and score.

Some users on RT critiscize the effects. Theeffects are supposed to be cheesy! The entire movie is cheesy so you haters should DEAL WITH IT! *Puts on sunglasses* While the film isn't perfects, its a fun, quirky, hilarious, spoof that can easily grow on you. I reccomend this one to those looking for a cheesy and entertaining film. This is probably Tim Burton's most overlooked. And if you're longing to see a decapitated Sarah Jessica Parker, you're in luck. An instant guilty pleasure!

If Rodders is reading, please forgive me.

"You gave up pork?"
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
I can never decide whether this movie is so bad it's good, or if it's just plain horrible. Burton is an excellent director, and this movie is supposed to be an homage to the sci-fi films he grew up with. It comes off as more of a spoof of those films instead, with all it's absurdity. It's hard to believe that so many A list stars wanted to be involved in this film, but like the audience, they expected a brilliant film from Burton. If this movie would have toned down on the special effects, had a simpler storyline, and maybe not so many big stars, it could have been great.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2011
Designed as a B movie with an homage to Sci Fi and horror films of the 1950's, Tim Burton crafts an eccentric, enjoyable Sci Fi comedy. Burton successfully captures the tone and atmosphere of classic space invasion films. That makes it more enjoyable. Mars Attacks! has everything you'd expect from a Tim Burton film. Diehard Burton fans will certainly rejoice at this slight departure. But thats whats great about Tim Burton, no matter what film he makes, he always has the traditional elements which makes his films so much fun, eccentric and entertaining. The cast are a mixed bunch. You have some terrific actors here, and some not so great actors. But the strength of the film lies within it's originality. The comedy is lowbrow and the acting is cheesy, but it's meant to be. Mars Attacks! is a terrific Sci Fi space invaders film with horror and comedy elements. .Mars Attacks! is simply put a wonderfully crafted film with a good cast that all deliver something amusing on screen. Critics as usual seem to have missed the point of Mars Attacks! this is a terrific well crafted film that brings back the old school 1950's Sci Fi vibe to a modern day audience. For that, the film succeeds and I view it as a Tim Burton classic. and one of his most underrated film.
Super Reviewer
November 27, 2010
Horrible, but somehow appealing.
michael e.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2010
this is probably the best rendition of a modern day B-movie done by Tim Burton.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2010
a really wierd funny movie, its not great but its good. B
Super Reviewer
½ May 6, 2008
It's a classic
Super Reviewer
November 25, 2009
A hilarious take on the idea of an Alien Invasion. While I consider this a comedy, it has a very dark side to it. It is quite violent and surprisingly twisted. The stylized aspect worked well, they were straight out 50s pulp tales. Even the acting was incredibly campy, but it worked very well for the tone of the film.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2007
We came in Peace to destroy. lol
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2007
Occasionally humorous comedy dealing with the United States welcoming an alien invasion, only to be slaughtered repeatedly. Very funny at parts, but it starts to wear out its welcome after a while. Jack Nicholson as the President is a fantastic casting decision though, he's a lot of fun in the role.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2006
I wasn?t expecting too much from this film, but I at least thought that the Star line up would mean something, for me it seemed a little unworthy of it?s cast, particularly Jack Nicholson and Glenn Close and found myself bored throughout.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2009
What was Tim Burton thinking?!

Who in their right minds would come off of a film as powerful and nuanced as Ed Wood, and then decide to direct a film based upon a series of trading cards?! There have been attempts to do this before ? like the horrible Garbage Pail Kids film ? but you just don?t expect somebody as talented and artistic as Tim Burton to be helming something as bad as this.

You can understand why Burton may have been attracted to this project. Ed Wood may have won over the critics and the Academy, but it flopped commercially, leading many to question whether Burton?s box office potential was on the slide. With such a big budget to play with, he could attempt to create something which, visually at least, rivalled the Batman films. What?s more, this was a chance to pay homage to the films of Ed Wood in the same way that Ed Wood paid homage to the filmmaker himself.

The film attempts to be a lot of things: an homage to 1950s B-movies, a kid-friendly action film, a parody of big blockbusters like Independence Day, a political satire, a camp comedy and a star vehicle. And it fails at every single one of these. From watching Ed Wood, there is no doubt that Burton is a fan of the director, to the point at which you believe that they are kindred spirits. But just because someone is a fan, it doesn?t mean their tributes are any good as films. The only thing Mars Attacks! shares with Wood?s films is a number of dodgy visuals. There is no attempt made to capture the over-the-top, so-bad-it?s-good acting of Plan 9 from Outer Space or to mimic the absurd premise of Glen or Glenda. Even the deliberately dodgy effects are pushed to the back in favour of brightly coloured CGI: the intentionally fake flying saucers are constantly overshadowed by the red and green blasters which seemed to have escaped from Spaceballs. The whole look of the film is very sub-War of the Worlds, and since the homage doesn?t work, that?s hardly desirable.

As a kid-friendly action film, this manages to tick the boxes in terms of entertaining visuals, and there are one or two vaguely interesting sight gags which will keep younger children occupied. But this is squandered by the film?s more adult segments, for instance the sequence of the President?s Press Officer trying to get laid with three hookers, or a similar sequence in which the same character attempts to seduce the Martian disguised as a beautiful woman. Aside from being a rip-off of Battlestar Gallactica, these scenes are completely inappropriate, even considering the 12 certificate.

Then there?s the question of parody. This film sits happily in the shadow of Independence Day, which was released in the same year and which shares a theme of aliens coming to earth with hostile intentions. Both of them are on one level stupid action movies, but at least Independence Day had the guts to be dumb from the start. It didn?t waste your time attempting to set up complex character development: it knew that the only reason you paid to see it was for the effects. Mars Attacks! doesn?t have the guts to do this: it spends so much time at the start establishing characters we don?t care about and relationships which are needlessly complicated, so that in the end it comes across looking a whole lot stupider.

The film?s attempts at political satire are also below-par. It attempts to send up both the liberal, ?peace-mongering idiots? and the militarist conservatives; in fact one of the better moments in the film is where the gung-ho general is shrunk to a few inches tall and then stamped on. It?s meant to be a great symbolic gesture, but it gets lost amid the torrent of bad speeches and hideous sentimentality, two things you don?t expect from a Jack Nicholson performance. Even its attempts to send up politicians as people only after good publicity are hugely inferior and unoriginal: Dr. Strangelove, Network or Broadcast News were ahead of the game in this area and are much, much funnier.

The camp comedy doesn?t work either. It?s camp, for sure, in its unashamed love of gaudy colours and over-the-top emotions. But it simply isn?t funny. There are a couple of moments which make the corners of your mouth curl up, and the first time round the sight of the aliens might raise a snigger. But the lack of three-dimensional characters or believable situations means that we just don?t invest in their predicament, and hence we don?t laugh. We find Glenn Close?s First Lady so annoying, we?re almost glad when she gets crushed by ?the Nancy Reagan chandelier?. Had there been more time invested in the character to build up this neurotic edge, it might have been funnier. It doesn?t even work as a farce, as the novelty death jokes wear thin really early on.

Finally, there is the issue of the stars. It?s always dangerous having an all-star cast in a film; if the director doesn?t know what they?re doing, it can quickly look like a bunch of rich, successful people enjoying themselves. Sometimes it works really well, like in Paul Thomas Anderson?s Magnolia or Robert Altman?s Gosford Park; sometimes it doesn?t, like the woefully smug Oceans movies of Steven Soderbergh.

Burton?s best films are those in which he takes one or two well-known actors, gets them to do something unpredictable, and then surrounds them with a cast of highly capable, little-known co-stars. Look at Jack Nicholson. In Batman he gave a great performance as the Joker which worked because it was tempered with an equally powerful performance by the little-known Michael Keaton. Here, he has two roles and seems completely undirected in both of them, recycling old mannerisms and coming off embarrassingly bad in the process.

So many good actors like Glenn Close, Jack Black and Michael J. Fox turn up on screen for a few minutes and are then killed off, with little justification and no attempt made to flesh out their character. And if by chance you warmed to Sarah Jessica Parker in Ed Wood, all that warmth goes out the window here. The bottom line is that it doesn?t matter how many characters there are on screen ? they?re so badly thought-out that we couldn?t care less about any of them.

This film is a mess ? a total, unadulterated mess. It?s badly thought out with too many ideas being blended up together and served up to an audience in an unfinished form. The characters are not involving, the performances are unconsciously wooden, the plot is stretched to exhaustion and it isn?t in the least bit funny. There are moments throughout this film in which you think Burton is going to pull it out of the bag, in which you think something interesting is going to happen. But it never happens; and you sit there, irritated and angry at just how badly Burton ballsed this up. It?s a heartbreaking experience, tempered only by the memory of all the good that came before it.
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