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Mars Attacks!

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Mars Attacks!

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close
Director: Tim Burton
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: December 1996
Genres: Action, Comedy, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Review by Walter Frith
3 stars out of 4

It helps a great deal to have a movie come out at the end of the year that is a reminder of the year's biggest box office hit which came out in the summer. 'Independence Day' has skyrocketed to #6 on the all time box office list and that film about an alien invasion of Earth was a tense filled and dramatic telescope of filmmaking. A complete one hundred and eighty degree turn is completed with 'Mars Attacks.' An idiotic President of the United States (Jack Nicholson) and his hopelessly materialistic wife and U.S. First Lady (Glenn Close) are caught in a dilemma when Martians attack our planet and a wacky handful of characters are caught up in the frenzy. Visionary director Tim Burton ('Pee Wee's Big Adventure,' Beetlejuice,' Batman,' 'Edward Scissorhands,' 'Ed Wood') has cooked up a delicious mix of camp humour and visuals and has crossed the finish line with a movie which is not for all tastes but Burton's films usually aren't and 'Mars Attacks' has the director in the uncompromising position of telling his story with a mixed bag of lunacy. The funniest thing about this movie is that Nicholson not only plays the leader of the free world but also a sleazy and hard boiled Nevada real estate developer named Art Land. Yes, I'm certain the selection of this characters name was no co-incidence. His wardrobe alone is worth the price of admission for the amount of pure belly laughs that it delivers. Combine that with some ingenious computerized special effects and the cultural lessons of all those tacky flying saucer movies of the 1950's and 'Mars Attacks' delivers some surprisingly inventive gags and justice is done to the characters in the picture that you'll love to hate. I must admit that this picture caught me off guard as I was prepared for an 'Independence Day' rip off but it isn't that way at all. At the conclusion of this movie you'll find the end result comes from the most unlikely character and this one is destined to become a cult classic. Other cast members include Pierce Brosnan, Martin Short, Rod Steiger, Annette Bening, Jim Brown, Sarah Jessica Parker, Lukas Haas, Michael J. Fox, Danny De Vito, Natalie Portman, Sylvia Sidney, Lisa Marie and Tom Jones.

Copyright 1996 Walter Frith

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