Mars Attacks! C, A
Warner/1996/106/A 2.35

     Tim Burton is brash if nothing else. The director runs wild with his own vision. With judicious control  the result can be smashing.  This time out the director is out of control. Mars Attacks! is a classic example of a director in love with himself, totally self-indulgent and a studio blinded by his former success. Inspired by a set of 1950s trading cards, Burton has devised what purports to be a spoof of low budget Scifi classics of the fifties, however,  the movie is simply a ridiculous cartoon providing spare laughter.
      Jack Nicholson plays the President faced with the silly reality of the invading Martians. Nicholson simply get over the top in this role to find laughs. The writing doesnít give him much chance. Action rebounds from The White House to the Martian mother ship to Las Vegas and a middle America trailer park. The plotting is ludicrous instead of funny. And the Martians look simply ridiculous. I think Burton must have been lost in space on this one.
      The only truly funny moments in the film are provided by Pierce Brosnan and Sarah Jessica Parker. Brosnan is the resident scientist making pronouncements about the benign intentions of the Martians while Parker is a dimwit television journalist. Brosnan rather reminds me of Fred MacMurray in his Disney roles in the 1950ís. He creates bland to perfection, mining comedy from a toothy smile and sincere demeanor. Parker is comfortable with her own comic strengths and lets them all hang out. These two are captured by the Martians and are subjected to an hilarious experiment. 
      Mars Attacks! is a terrific looking DVD. The expensive production is perfectly transferred in all its garish colors and wild special effects. Explosions provide dynamic visual excitement, effortlessly showing off its cartoon contrast. Every detail is sharp. The entertaining Danny Elfman music oversees the action for maximum impact and surround information is very aggressive. 





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