Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mars Attacks (1996), Tim Burton

This review is critically analysing Tim Burton's movie "Mars Attacks" (1996). It is a good sci-fi comedy which can give us a discussion 60's cfi-fi style can be adapted to nowadays cinema. This review is based on Roger Ebert's, James Brardinelli's and Peter Stack's reviews.


Firs of all it is impossible not to compare this movie with another Tim Burton's creation "Ed Wood". This movie has so much influence taken from Wood's absurdity and as we know for today's audience absurd works just fine. Movie critic Roger Ebert said: "``Mars Attacks!'' has the look and feel of a schlocky 1950s science-fiction movie, and if it's not as bad as a Wood film, that's not a plus: A movie like this should be a lot better, or a lot worse. ``Mars Attacks!'' plays like one of those '50s movies that are *not* remembered as cult classics." (December 13, 1996, Chicago Sun Times).Roger Ebert talks a lot about that best worst movies ever made have something special about them, for example we can take an oldschool video game like "Prince of Zelda" which has truly primitive graphics, but nice stylisation and compare it with nowadays "ultra-realistic" detail games like "Skyrim" to understand that when people take something that looks not realistic at all, they realise that it is not about this world, but its interpretation with style and when we have something that tries to reproduce extremely high details we still understand how fake it is and accept it as a failure of its goal. In this case fakeness and lack of logic is a style of comedy and James Berardinelli says about it that: "Mars Attacks! contains a number of genuinely funny moments that occur both through the dialogue and as a result of the visual approach (there's a Godzilla cameo, the "bowling over" of Stonehenge, and a sequence where the Martians toy with the Washington Monument before toppling it)." (1996-12-13, Reelviews). The other not mentioned fake and funny thing is the martians them selves. Peter Stack talks about them in his review that: "Burton's rubbery plastic Martians, pint-sized bipeds who arrive one day in hundreds of aluminum flying saucers, seem to be the main reason for the film's existence. Ultimately they're not much more interesting than rubber duckies, though they do some arresting stuff, such as indiscriminately vaporizing humans and animals with ray guns." (December 13, 1996, San Francisco Chronicle). In other words it is done very simplistically just not to get out of the frames of the style. Tim Burton had obvious inspiration here and he did another kind of freaky, but easy to watch movie also somehow very well reminding some of previous his works like: "Batman" or "Alice in the Wonderland".

All in all this movie is a good Saturday evening show for everybody. It has some jokes, not all of them are funny and it has extremely huge cast full of best known actors. It is not a perfect movie, but it is neither a bad one.


1) Roger Ebert, December 13, 1996, Cicago Sun Times:

2) James Berardinelli, 1996-12-13, Reelviews:

3) Peter Stack, December 13, 1996, San Francisco Chronicle:

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