Film: Mars Attacks!
Creator: Tim Burton, Jonathan Gems
Saw this at the cinema on Preston's waterside the day that it came out. Would have been about 20, and thrilled by all I'd heard. And then, while we're ...
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Director Tim Burton's unintended lampoon of Independence Day is a total mess but an absolutely glorious one.
Little green men from the angry red planet launch a flying saucer attack on Earth in this uneven space oddity based on a bubblegum card storyline from the 60s. While assuring the US government that they come in peace, the Martians constantly ray-gun humans down to steaming multi-coloured skeletons.
What's President Jack Nicholson to do? Listen to advisor Pierce Brosnan, who thinks the visitors must be benign because they are so technologically advanced? Or take heed of General Rod Steiger and blast the bulbous headed varmints out of the sky?
In the end, the fate of the world rests in Grandma Sylvia Sidney's Country and Western record collection.
Both paying tribute to and spoofing 50s B-movies, Burton stumbles as many times as he succeeds in playing the entire back catalogue of lurid pulp sci-fi references. But once the computer-generated bug-eyed Martians strut their evil stuff, this daffy and sweetly subversive Ray Harryhausen-meets-War of the Worlds satire comes alive.
The sequence where the glittering aliens inhale the best of America's nuclear deterrent and give their trademark Three Stooges in response is a major highlight.
The amazing roster of stars includes Annette Bening, Sarah Jessica Parker, Natalie Portman and singer Tom Jones. Burton's muse Lisa Marie stands out in a weirdly creepy turn as a disguised alien temptress.
Work nominated by BeebWolf.
Text © Radio Times/BBC Worldwide