The threat of alien invasion keeps me up at night. You never know when an advanced alien species will come down to earth and decide to take us out for our resources or to eat us. Needless to say “Mars Attacks!” hits home for me. It’s all of our deepest fears come to life.
As you may be aware, I am reviewing bad movies for some of my family members for holiday gifts. My mother-in-law picked “Mars Attacks!” 1996. I didn’t think it was a bad movie but I thought “Maybe it is bad and I only liked it because I watched it as a kid.” After watching this as an adult, I can tell you this is a good movie. I think some of the confusion for people with this movie is that it’s a parody, similar to “The Naked Gun” or “Scary Movie”. It’s meant to be cheesy. That’s what parodies are. This is not a bad movie. A parody being funny and corny is the entire point; that doesn’t make it bad in fact that is achieving what it set out to do.
Tim Burton did a great job in poking fun at the alien invasion movies from the 1950’s. Examples of some classic movies to watch are “The Day the Earth Stood Still” 1951, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” 1956, and especially “Invaders from Mars” 1953. Burton is great at mixing classic 40’s and 50’s looks with modern times technology like in “Beetlejuice”, “Batman”, and “Edward Scissorhands”. His newer movies don’t have as much as that mix of styles.
There are so many great actors in “Mars Attacks!”. Watching it now made me realize how many big names are in it. Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Tom Jones, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Pam Grier, Jack Black, Ray J, Joe Don Baker, Christina Applegate, and a ton of other people you will recognize at least by face. Jack Nicholson plays two hilarious characters, the president and rich southerner. He is so over the top that it really brings the feel of that campiness you want in a parody.
The aliens looked perfect for the feel of the movie. Cartoony and over the top was the perfect way to go. Early in production they were discussing doing stop motion but they went with CGI. I think if they would have done stop motion it would have been more apparent that this was a parody. Apparently the aliens having laser guns that left red and green skeletons were in a small part due to the movie being released December 13th 1996. For that alone, I’m glad my mother-in-law picked this movie so I could watch a christmas movie during the season (besides my yearly tradition of watching “Die Hard”).
There is a long tradition of making parodies of anything that is generally considered popular. I would not remake “Mars Attacks!”. He really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the classic Sci-Fi movies. “Mars Attacks!” doesn’t need a makeover and I don’t want to insult fans of the movie by suggesting I could do better. If I was going to make a parody movie I would parody all the terrible reality shows that we have to suffer through. My movie would be about a reality show involving an island of people that have to live in a house and make cupcakes. Every week they would have challenges involving saving pit bulls, pre-teen beauty pagents, and scavenger hunts. The movie would about the little person host (starring Peter Dinklage) and his next food network star fiance (played by Sara Rue). They would enter the “Reality All-Stars” competition against Bret Michaels, Alton Brown, Jeff Probst, Buddy Valastro, and everyone ever on Celebrity Rehab. The movie would be about Dinklage and Rue working together and actually learning about each other as people. They would actually connect with one another and Dinklage would have an opportunity to cry on screen.
As always, feel free to leave comments about what bad movies you want me to review and what you think of my makeover. Have happy holidays and be safe.