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Mars Attacks! (1996)

(PG-13) 106 mins

Synopsis: Tim Burton’s black comedy about the planet-wide pandemonium that ensues when “little green men” from Mars come to gleefully terrorize Earth.

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close

Directed by: Tim Burton

Studio: Warner Bros.

Supporting actors: Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny De Vito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sidney

Serious Jest: (Rental) I am not a big science-fiction fan, nor am I partial to Tim Burton movies, but this one became one of my favorites from both categories within the first 30 minutes. First and foremost, this film is a great example of high camp. It is simultaneously dark-comedy and tongue-in-cheek sarcasm…extremely witty, well-timed, and sometimes perfectly subtle.

The cast was awesome–it felt like everybody’s agent frantically told them, “You need to be in this movie!” And their agents were right! Good thing Kevin Bacon wasn’t in this flick, or that famous game would be ruined because it’d be too easy. Not only were the big names present, but they were also performing their asses off. Whether they were nailing a tagline, cheesing a smug smile, conveying emotion through a subtle non-verbal cue, or purposefully over-acting, these actors brilliantly nailed their roles, and brought a great script to life. One scene involving Pam Grier, Ray J, Brandon Hammond, and a bus had me cracking up and cheering, in particular. By the way, I usually do not find Parker attractive, but I gotta admit she was pretty friggin’ smokin’ in this movie…not hotter than Christina Applegate, though, whom I only recognized after staring at the screen and wondering, “Who is that fine-ass white girl?”

And let’s not forget the one area of this movie in which I expected Burton to deliver most: the aliens. Well, Burton came through even better than expected. The CGI was creative, scary, repulsive, ridiculous, and funny. At one point, I wondered whether it was treason to cheer for the aliens.

Honestly, I think I didn’t give this flick 5 mugs only because I’m not a big fan of the science-fiction genre, so I probably wouldn’t watch it more than once, but if you’re a science-fiction lover, you might consider this movie a must-own. I definitely rate this film a very-full 4 mugs, though, and think everyone should make the time to watch it at least once.

CraigMakk: (Must-See) I absolutely love this movie, for all the reasons Jest mentioned and more. Other than his rampant racism towards white women, he pretty much nailed this movie. And I love sci-fi, which makes this a definite own for me. Without repeating his review, I will just point out a few things he may have missed.

First off, this is quite possibly Jack Nicholson’s best role ever. Who wouldn’t love to see Jack as President Dale? “I want the American people to know that they still have two out of three branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad.” Classic!

Next, I have spent much of my post-Mars Attacks life trying to perfect the sound the Martians make when they speak, that famous, “Ack ack ack! Ack ack!” Just thinking of it is making me want to watch the movie again. They are one of the greatest movie ‘villains’ ever, and I wholeheartedly agree that you spend some of the movie actually cheering against humanity. Especially when the poor Ambassador gets in over his glass-domed head in a fist fight with Former Heavyweight Champion of the World Byron Williams. Just read this link and you will quickly see how absurd this movie is.

Finally, Sarah Jessica Parker is never hot. Her face makes it physically impossible for her to ever be close to what normal humans deem repulsive. She pretty much gets what she deserves.

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