Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mars Attacks!

Movie Name: Mars Attacks!
Year of Release: 1996
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Martin Short, Natalie Portman, Lukas Haas, Danny DeVito, Tom Jones, Jack Black, Rod Steiger, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sydney, Paul Winfield, Pam Grier, Joe Don Baker, O-Lan Jones, Christina Applegate, Brian Haley, Barbet Schroeder
Genre: Comedy, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

After the phenomenal "Ed Wood", director Tim Burton returned in 1996 with one of his most irreverent and underrated features, the alien invasion satire, "Mars Attacks". The film follows a series of characters throughout the invasion of planet Earth by vicious Martians, intent on destroying and killing every single human. Some of these characters include the President of the US, a Las Vegas gambler and his New Age wife, the ditzy host of a fashion and entertainment show, a famed scientist, a former professional boxer amongst many others. All of these characters have their lives changed dramatically by the ferocious attack of the tiny green Martians. It's up to an inventive and somewhat less than ambitious young man, to figure out how to get humanity out of trouble.
Tim Burton's productive streak of the 90s continued with "Mars Attacks", an inventive and very ironic take on the big spectacle and special effects extravaganza of the typical Hollywood blockbuster. As if inspired by the spirit of Ed Wood, Tim Burton went out to parody a lot of the conventions of the traditional alien invasion film (in particular B Movies of that genre): the military inadequacy, the incapable president, and even the final big solution to repel the invaders. The film is possessed of such a smart sense of humor, always flaunting the tone simultaneously futuristic and retro, as if winking to the audience (the film is based on an original series of trading cards by Topps). The fantastic cast assembled (much like the destroy films from the 70s), is perfectly suited for the characters, from Jack Nicholson, through Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan and the always great Annette Bening. This is a film that successfully pays homage to the low budget films of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, while retaining it's own identity. It features, as is the case for Tim Burton features, a great score from Danny Elfman, and the amazing cinematography from Peter Suschitzky. A great film worth watching!