FILMS… Mars Attacks (1996)



Invasion of the little green men armed with rayguns…


The US President and the World think Martians are coming to Earth for peaceful reasons, but for Martians this is war!


Mars Attacks! (Trailer), ILoveMovie and photos © Warner Bros. Entertainment


One of my favourite ensemble sci-fi comedy films has to be Mars Attacks! (1996). It has a who’s who of early 2000s recognisable Hollywood faces starring in this sci-fi comedy film. It is reminiscent of the 1970s disaster movies I enjoyed as a kid with names including Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan and Michael J Fox.

It’s my favourite Tim Burton film (so far) from those films before he concentrated on improving Johnny Depp’s CV sometimes for the better. And for Burton’s then muse Helena Bonham Carter.  This felt a bit like the Carter and Depp Show and at times more than a bit yawnable.

Mars Attacks! is a nice wee homage to the B Movies. After a returning spaceship to Mars blows up, Martian spaceships are flying toward the earth. Earth believes they are coming in peace after the reassurances of the US President (Jack Nicholson). The US President believes this from his science officer’s explanation. His science officer is played by Pierce Brosnan, proving yet again that this man should get more comedy offers.

However, the army led by General Decker (Rod Steiger) and the Martians believe they are coming to wage war on earth. The President conveys the aliens’ peaceful intentions to the rest of the world. However, the president and his men discover it is a war that they want. This is after US congress is gunned down and similar deadly scenes throughout the country. This leads to an all-out war between Earth and Mars…

These aliens are almost like the B movie stereotype from science fiction with big heads, wee bodies and green blood. The special effects – particularly the exploding heads – of the aliens are very child friendly and less grim than Raiders of the Lost Ark’s (1981) melting heads scenes. Both aliens and the cast are killed in as many fun ways as those other nice cute little creatures are killed off in Gremlins (1984). So you are more likely to get laughs than nightmares from your average 8-year-old.

This film stars actors such as Jack Nicholson, Danny De Vito to Michael J Fox. Support from the ladies includes Sarah Jessica Parker, Pamela Grier, Natalie Portman and Glenn Close. Comparing it to The Towering Inferno (1974) where my mum and dad helped out in recognising the stars for me as a kid, this more current disaster movie has a mix of both an older and more contemporary cast. So all generations can play spot the celebrity.

Burton also makes the most of having two major stars in the film by providing dual roles for Nicholson and Annette Bening. It has a totally, original conclusion to solving the Martian problem…and be warned it’s not just unusual it’s out of this world!


Weeper Rating: 0 /10

Handsqueeze Rating: :-) :-)  :-)  :-) :-)  :-) :-)  /10

Hulk Rating: ‎   mrgreen ‎/10




12 thoughts on “FILMS… Mars Attacks (1996)

  1. This is one crazy movie, and it is a lovely homage to the old B movies, as you pointed out. I loved the look of it – the colours, the sets, the wardrobe. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, and methinks it’s time to see it again!

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