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The M.O.W.'s Movie Reviews (333)

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Mars Attacks! 
A cute, fairly silly film
2.5/4 stars

Recently, the Hubble telescope took pictures of a fleet of spacecraft heading to Earth under a flag of peace. The lead spacecraft, with the Martian Ambassador, lands in a Nevada desert in what can only be called a media circus, but the unexpected happens -- the martians pull out their weapons and start shooting.

The first thing you will notice is the incredible cast. One performance that stands out is Jack Nichelson, who plays two roles. He is near perfect as the President of the United States, and the other, more minor role, is very funny. Another performance that makes this movie special, even if it's not that big of a role until near the end of the film, is of the late Sylvia Sidney as "Grandma Norris," and only because this is her final role before her death three years after "Mars Attacks! release.

Another thing that really stands out is the design of the aliens. That are made with interesting colors, and flawless motion. The only problem I had with the aliens was the annoying voices they were given. However, they are fairly good comic relief at times and are pretty enjoyable. Another special effect that works is the spaceships, which are obviously a nod to the 1950's movies of the same genre.

One problem with this film is there is some problems with character development. This is because that the cast is just a little too large to help expand their characters. There are also some pretty lame performances, but I do believe that they are intentionally poor. Some of the roles may have worked a little better if they were cameos -- especially Danny DeVito, whom I thought wasn't that great in a role that is pretty much like any other role he's done on the silver screen. Also, in my opinion, many of the performers in this film were pretty much wrong for their parts. One of those was Glen Close as the First Lady, which was obviously a comedic role, but her performance fell flat. Another thing I notices is that many performers were over-the-top, but they looked more like they were trying a little too hard to make their performances believable.

The movie is filled with some very silly moments, with lots of really good chuckles. Like I said earlier, the aliens are pretty funny, and some of the performances are equally chuckle worthy. Nichelson, in his smaller role as a high stakes gambler, is simply hilarious. Many of the comedic moments are thanks to the over-the-top performances that are pretty bad by design.

One thing that is pretty stupid in my opinion is the ridiculous surprise ending that is meant for a laugh. For me the surprise ending, discovered by two characters that you'd least expect, the surprise ending produced a good groan and a really good eye-roll.

I am not a Tim Burton fan, but he did a good, not great, job at direction. He was able to direct a couple of real good battle scenes with lots of action and special effects. He also directed, as a whole, a good tribute to 1950's alien invasion movies with over-the-top performances, some of which didn't work in my opinion.

To sum things up, "Mars Attacks!" would be a good, solid second choice the next time you go to to your local rental place. It also might be a pretty good addition to your collection if you are into a cheesy comedies.


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