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Mars Attacks!

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Mars Attacks! is a 1996 science fiction comedy film directed by the immensely gifted Tim Burton. This movie is a satirical depiction of an alien invasion that boasts a star-studded cast, including seasoned actors like Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, and Sarah Jessica Parker. It uses elements of black comedy, political satire, and science fiction to construct a story that is both hilarious and captivating.

The film takes inspiration from the 1962 trading card series from Topps, depicting scenes from a fictitious Martian invasion, and is an homage to the science fiction B-movie genre from the 1950s. The film showcases Burton's distinctive filmmaking style, which contains whimsical, flippant jests, his signature visual storytelling, and his adeptness in blending different genres together.

The film starts when NASA identifies what are assumed to be friendly Martians approaching Earth. Jack Nicholson plays a dual role, one as President James Dale, who is kind but largely oblivious to the impending danger, and the other as Art Land, a successful Las Vegas casino owner. As President, Nicholson shows a remarkable degree of faith in humankind and attempts to maintain peace with the Martians, even as they begin behaving abnormally.

Pierce Brosnan, playing the characteristically suave Professor Donald Kessler, is a scientific adviser to the President. He is of the belief that the aliens are peaceful and is delighted to be part of the first contact with extraterrestrial civilization. Sarah Jessica Parker portrays Nathalie Lake, a seemingly superficial talk-show host who becomes embroiled in the Martian mayhem. The interactions and reactions of these characters to the Martian invasion form the crux of the story.

Mars Attacks! is a true Burton spectacle where kitschy, colorful, and inventive set designs meet deviant humor. The Martians, characterized by their bulbous brains, skeletal faces, gleaming wide-set eyes, and their bizarrely hysterical language, are designed in the image of the classic monster movie aliens and bring a unique blend of terror and comedy.

The screenplay moves forward rapidly, taking the audience through a whirlwind of quirky, hilarious, and sinister moments. The movie thrives on the unpredictability of the Martians' actions and the hilarity of the earthlings' reactions, creating an overall atmosphere of controlled chaos. It strikes a remarkable balance between the eerie and the funny, a distinct mark of Burton's directorial style.

Alongside the bigger names, the ensemble cast is completed by several familiar faces, including Annette Bening, Danny DeVito, Glenn Close, and Michael J. Fox, each bringing their own spark to the fray. This adds to the film's charm, creating an exciting, rapid-fire narrative where every scene is packed with identifiable actors. The witty dialogues, unexpected sequences, and engaging performances add to the overall appeal of the film, making it an enjoyable watch.

Danny Elfman, a frequent collaborator of Burton, is the mastermind behind the film's music. The iconic opening score is eerie yet satirical, perfectly setting the tone for what's to come. The sound design, coupled with bright, colorful visuals and off-beat special effects, generates an appealing '90s nostalgia that underlines the entire film.

Mars Attacks! works as a populist movie filled with political satire that works on numerous levels. It is an homage, parody, and critique - all at once - of not only the science fiction genre but also of society, politics, and popular culture. The film's brilliance lies mainly in its balancing act, juggling an array of characters, a complex narrative, and multiple themes, while maintaining its essential essence of being a highly entertaining science fiction comedy.

In many ways, Mars Attacks! remains a vital entry in Burton's oeuvre, showcasing his skills at creating whimsical yet dark stories and his knack for delivering them with an off-beat sense of humor and a distinctive aesthetic. It perfectly captures Burton's love for outsiders, his ability to find humor in the grotesque, and his talent for creating thought-provoking narratives out of absurdist scenarios.

Mars Attacks! is a ride through science fiction's yesteryears which embeds itself deep within a viewer's memory due to its wonderfully weird characters, its irresistibly ridiculous storyline, and its bold satirical expression. Whether you are a fan of science fiction, comedy, or just out-of-the-ordinary cinema, Mars Attacks! is a hard one to miss.

Mars Attacks! is a Comedy, Fantasy, Science Fiction movie released in 1996. It has a runtime of 106 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.4. It also holds a MetaScore of 52.

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Where can I stream Mars Attacks! movie online? Mars Attacks! is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Mars Attacks! for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Tim Burton
Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Tom Jones, Lukas Haas, Natalie Portman, Jim Brown, Lisa Marie, Sylvia Sidney
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