Mars Attacks!

Released: May 8, 1998
Budget: $80 million
US Box Office: $38 million
Global Box Office: $101 million

Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny Devito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Jim Brown, Tom Jones

Synopsis: Humanity scrambles to stay alive when our planetary neighbors pick a fight.
Best Quote: "I want the people to know that they still have 2 out of 3 branches of the government working for them, and that ain't bad"

Review: 3 stars

The disaster movie comedy isn't a genre with a lot of competition, but Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! sure does set the bar nice and high. Light-hearted and completely absurd, this movie will bring a smile to your face.

There are a number of reasons that this movie is just plain fun. Let's start with the cast: there is a wonderful mix of seasoned comedic actors (Michael J. Fox, Martin Short) and respected actors willing to poke fun at themselves (Pierce Brosnan, Annette Bening). Top it off with a Bob Jones cameo and Jack Nicholson having the time of his life as President and you really can't go too wrong. Hilarious CG aliens hold their own comedically against this all star cast. Bowling on Easter Island, sucking up nuclear blasts like helium, and constantly insisting "we come in peace" as they attack us, these aliens have plenty of personality. It's refreshing to see a change from the mute killing machines in most Hollywood movies.

While Mars Attacks! gets my recommendation as a quality spoof, how much you'll like it largely depends on your taste in movies. It definitely plays to the disaster movie fan. The actors play caricatures of genre staples and classics such as Independence Day (released just 5 months prior) are the butt of many jokes. While the plot and pacing are pretty good for a comedy, most of the humor is decidedly low-brow. If that's not your thing than you should probably steer clear. Tim Burton fans and anyone who likes classic spoofs like Airplane! and The Naked Gun should definitely check this one out. Short, clever, and quotable (three musts for any comedy) Mars Attacks! is a quality addition for anyone looking to add a little humor to their DVD collection.