Mars Attacks! Reviews
One thing it undeniably has is an unbelievable cast. Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Martin Short, and Danny Devito star in this insane sci-fi romp. And that's just to name a few. In some ways, this is Tim Burton's Independence Day. The story is structured in a similar way with an ensemble cast sharing the load with interweaving stories. The aliens have similar intentions but with a slightly more comedic approach and horrific special effects.
I was not on board with this film for the first 45 minutes. There were far too many characters to keep track of and I didn't really feel connected to them anyway. The film also seemed to be taking itself way too seriously. But once the aliens reach Washington D.C., it turns into a completely different film altogether. So in one hand, it's an uneven directing job from Burton. But on the other hand, the change of tone midway through kind of adds to the ridiculousness of the whole thing. Either way, I enjoyed my time with this sci-fi romp.
Overall, it's a charming little sci-fi project from Burton, and we haven't really gotten one of those from him since. Although the budget skyrocketed to 70 million, which is a lot for the 90's, the story feels more personal and smaller scale than the similar Independence Day. The effects are brutal and would have been better off using stop motion like Burton had originally planned. But all of this pretty much leads to a harmlessly entertaining comedy that hits more often than not.
+Tonal change helps
-Don't really care about all the characters
I'll start by saying I thought this movie was terrible when it first came out.
I figured I might've been too young to understand and so, gave it another try 20 years later and my opinion remains.
I had no idea it had such a star studded cast, or that Tim Burton was involved though. Oh dear...
I get that this is probably meant to be a parody and some sort of tribute to old 1950's sci-fi movies but this feels like it's something else entirely. While there is opportunity for humour in here and some of the nods are obvious, most of the jokes fall flat, or get repeated too often. Maybe that's also part of the point? I dunno.
Mars Attacks! just feels too painful to watch through in the end. 20 years on the acting is stiff, the effects are cheap and there's much better parodies or alien invasion movies out there. Thankfully there are also much better Tim Burton films too!
Burton's normal weaknesses; lack of emotional impact, character development, or depth that hampers his more serious efforts are a perfect fit here.
Because of these traits the focus on subplots are uninteresting and they take up far too much of the running length, which could have easily been shortened for more punch. Everyone involved is clearly enjoying themselves and not taking it too seriously, watch it in the same mindset and the lack of cynicism is refreshing, and the fun contagious.
- I know it's not Burton's best work, but I find it to be a lot of fun...an easy watch with an All-star cast...