6.3/10
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460 user 142 critic

Mars Attacks! (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Sci-Fi | 13 December 1996 (USA)
Trailer
2:16 | Trailer
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
532 ( 188)
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Warren Beatty was originally cast as President James Dale. Paul Newman was cast when Beatty dropped out, but then left the project over the violence concerns. Michael Keaton was also considered. See more »

Goofs

When the Martians come to her room, Grandma is holding/not holding the headphones cord between shots. See more »

Quotes

Richie's Dad: Martians. Ha ha. Funny looks little critters, aren't they?
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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

Referenced in Good Morning Britain: Episode dated 25 January 2019 (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Champagne Fanfare
Written by George Cates
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User Reviews

 
Mars Attacks! and Revives 50 B-Films!
12 October 2002 | by Jay-90See all my reviews

The greatest aspect of _Mars Attacks!_ is that it is not supposed to be great. The film was shot on a low budget, and many of the crew, namely actors Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito, and director, Tim Burton, agreed to make the film as an homage to the TOPS Bubblegum wrapper comic series.

The film works because it doesn't present itself as being more than what it is: a parody of '50's B-films. Throughout the film, obvious references to those B-film classics, like _The Day the Earth Stood Still_ and _This Island Earth_, are present. When the Martians land in Nevada (alleged home of Area 54), Burton reminds us of those famous scenes in which the U. S. army battles the aliens with crude artillery, matched against the sophisticated ray guns of their adversaries. Because the sci-fi B-films of the '50's were infused with anxiety, precipitated by the McCarthy era, Burton plays upon this context when the Martians visit Congress and destroy every senator and representative in attendance ("We still have 2 out of 3 branches of government working for us," President Nicholson reminds his fellow Americans).

Aside from the riotous parodying which takes place, the film draws upon a cast of Oscar-nominated talent. However, realizing their true motivation for such a film as _Mars Attacks!_, Oscar nominees Glenn Close, Annette Bening, and Jack Nicholson camp it up. Immediately, an audience member acknowledges that these actors know the Academy will not reward them for their efforts in this film. However, an informed audience member would see that their acting, meant to be campy and hammed up, is at the heart of their performances. Given the fact that these are award-winning actors acting poorly, any viewer would have to applaud the performances as "sheer talent-less."

I give this film 9 out of 10 points. While not a great film, by any stretch of the imagination, it is a fun film which fulfills its purpose. Nicholson, DeVito, and Burton can be pleased with the results of their desire to bring the famous TOPS story to the screen. In an age in which Hollywood either promotes lavishly expensive, high-tech scripts or promotes artistic plot-driven storylines, _Mars Attacks!_ finds its own place and does not put on the facade of being something other than it is, an homage and revival of the classic '50's sci-fi B-film.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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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
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.40 : 1
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