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Mars Attacks! (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Sci-Fi | 13 December 1996 (USA)
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Earth is invaded by Martians with unbeatable weapons and a cruel sense of humor.

Director:

Tim Burton

Writers:

Len Brown (trading card series), Woody Gelman (trading card series) | 5 more credits »
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Popularity
1,339 ( 67)
3 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Nicholson ... President James Dale / Art Land
Glenn Close ... First Lady Marsha Dale
Annette Bening ... Barbara Land
Pierce Brosnan ... Professor Donald Kessler
Danny DeVito ... Rude Gambler
Martin Short ... Press Secretary Jerry Ross
Sarah Jessica Parker ... Nathalie Lake
Michael J. Fox ... Jason Stone
Rod Steiger ... General Decker
Tom Jones ... Tom Jones
Lukas Haas ... Richie Norris
Natalie Portman ... Taffy Dale
Jim Brown ... Byron Williams
Lisa Marie ... Martian Girl
Sylvia Sidney ... Grandma Florence Norris
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Storyline

It is a normal day for everyone, until President of the United States James Dale (Jack Nicholson) announces Martians have been spotted circling Earth. The Martians land and a meeting is arranged, but not everything goes to plan, and the Martians seem to have other plans for Earth. Are they just misunderstood beings or do they really want to destroy all of humanity? Written by Film_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

YIKES! They've Landed! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi fantasy violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros.

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

13 December 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mars Attacks! See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$70,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,384,272, 15 December 1996

Gross USA:

$37,771,017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$101,371,017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast includes three Oscar winners: Jack Nicholson, Natalie Portman, and Rod Steiger; and six Oscar nominees: Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Sylvia Sidney, Paul Winfield, and Barbet Schroeder. See more »

Goofs

The world map behind the presidents desk in the War Room is missing the north island of New Zealand. See more »

Quotes

Art Land: [Repeatedly] Wow!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special effects: No living animals were barbecued during the production of this film. See more »

Alternate Versions

A television ad had Marsha Dale saying (over the desicion of what to do about the Martians): "Kick the crud out of them!" which was an edit to what she said in the theatrical version: "Kick the crap out of them!" See more »

Connections

Featured in Troldspejlet: Troldspejlet Special: Stop Motion (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Stayin' Alive
Written by Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb and Robin Gibb
Performed by The Bee Gees
Courtesy of PolyGram International Music, B.V.
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Very enjoyable sci-fi spoof
22 February 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When Martians make contact with earth opinion is split into two camps between seeking peace or preparing for defence. When the inital meeting is turned into a massacre by a misunderstanding surrounding the dove of peace, the camp seeking war seem to have the stronger case. However the Martian Ambassator apologises and is allowed to meet before the joint houses in the US. However when the Martians use this as an way to wipe out America's leaders in one move. Security is stepped up and the world is put on a war footing, however the martians seem only interesting in destruction and death and deliver both with a wickedly cruel sense of humour.

We all know that Tim Burton and sci-fi blockbuster movies don't always deliver the goods (planet of the apes anyone?). This was released in the same summer as Independence Day and ID came off much, much better. That was mainly because ID gave the people what they wanted - they wanted a little comedy, lots of fancy FX and explosions, nothing different that would cause them to think in any way, and the good guys (the Americans) must win and save the earth! Burton gave them most of that, but it was just too different!

What we have here is a ID style story but it is infused with Burton's manic vision. This takes away from the blockbuster appeal of the average ID, but it makes it a much funnier, wierder experience. Some of it doesn't work, Nicholson's multirole performance is nowhere near the standard of Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove (which he clearly aspires to) and some of the cameos are forced and silly. However all the stuff with the aliens works really well because it is so OTT and it knows it - Burton just lets his vision run wild. In place of ID destruction of the white house, we have the aliens knocking down the Easter Island statues like 10 pin bowling etc. Where ID took itself very seriously, Mars Attacks plays like a spoof of the 1950's sci-fi and comes off much better for it.

As for the ending - of course it's absurd! Yes it's a bit of a leap to imagine that the aliens would be defeated in this way, but it doesn't matter because it's all tongue in cheek. It is no more stupid than ID which sees the aliens destroyed by Goldblum and Smith flying a spaceship (Smith flies it because he's seen one before - the scientists who have been studying it aren't allowed, even though they know how it works), into the core of the mothership, downloading a computer virus from Windows 98 onto the alien system and clearing off! Both endings are dumb, but at least Mars Attacks doesn't try to cover it up.

There are so many actors here that to try and say who does well and who doesn't would take ages. So here we good. Good -Nicholson (as the president), Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, MJ Fox, Steiger, Pam Grier, Lukas Haas, Jim Brown and Lisa Marie. Bad - Glenn Close, De Vito, Short and a pointless "oh look it's...." cameo from Tom Jones. The actors given screen time are good but stars wheeled out for novelty value are a bit wasted generally.

Overall this may not be to everyone's tastes. When it come out everyone seemed to expect another ID style film. However Burton's mad vision and comic touches make this a very enjoyable spoof.


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