Mars Attacks! may not have been as good as it could have been, it is
definitely one of the better sci-fi flicks to have headed our way in quite a while.
It is particularly disappointing when one considers that it is, after all, made
by Tim Burton (who made such offbeat and original movies such as
Beetlejuice (1988), the original Batman (1989) and Edward Scissorhands (1990)).
However, this affectionate spoof/homage of/to1950s alien invasion films is a welcome
antidote to the nauseating feel good sentiments of Independence Day (1996).
What Independence Day (1996) took seriously, Burton's film simply blasts
away straight into orbit! No wonder the film bombed in the States - it asks us
the pertinent question that if Martians cannot survive American culture, then
how are we mere humans supposed to fare? (How the Earthlings get rid of the Martians
is a pure comic gem of Burton's feverish imagination - and worth the price of
admission alone! No, I won't spoil it all by telling...)
the problem with Mars Attacks! is that the scenes with the humans are
boring and dull. They seem to be taken from a different movie - a straightforward
dramatic account of an alien invasion - while one is left waiting for the Martians
to wreak havoc. These scenes could have done with some spicing up and better editing
- no wonder some people complained that the film was too long! Fortunately things
come alive when the Martians tries to squash some boy scouts, burns down an old
age home, nukes Danny DeVito and toasts a peace dove amongst others.
Black-homoured stuff indeed - and not everybody's cup of tea I suppose. Yet
these scenes are deliciously funny. Besides, any film that features a herd of
flaming cattle, Tom Jones (yes!) and large dosages of Slim Whitman
simply has to be seen!
Review by James O'Ehley from The
Sci-Fi Movie Page.