Friday, June 24, 2011

Some Things About Mars Attacks!

Damn it, I don't have time anymore! I'm assuming I'm still just getting used to my new lifestyle and that someday, one day, I will wake up from this busy coma. I better at least. I think a lack of blogging makes me feel depressed. Is that normal? Anyways, a few nights ago I decided to watch Mars Attacks! For no particular reason other than the fact that I hadn't seen it in a long time and that one particular scene always used to give me nightmares (I kid you not). Then when I started watching it I realized a few things and here are those things. Things that I'm going to talk about right now.


When I saw this when I was younger, I had no clue about old Sci-Fi films. I think I thought Star Wars was the first, last and only Sci-Fi film ever made because I have no memory of ever thinking about or watching anything else. Mars Attacks just seemed like a weird bad movie to me. It was over the top and ridiculous and the aliens wore little red speedos?

I mean what the hell was going on there?

Now however as I find myself to be semi-well versed in the art of horror and Sci-Fi movies....I get Mars Attacks! It's a homage, a spoof, and it contains so many little nods of joy that it's almost challenging to keep track of them. My favorite aspect is how the alien spaceships are so classic in their ultra retro saucer shape.

It gives them that eerie characteristic of floating as if by a string although this time they're floating thanks to poorly orchestrated CGI. No matter though, these alien spaceships are nice little throwbacks to a time when this design was the only one that we knew. Neat isn't it?

2. Who isn't in Mars Attacks?

Again, when you are young and impressionable---any actors that are older than 30 (or who are not Jack Nicholson) mean nothing to you. Due to this, I had no clue that Mars Attacks had such a fantastically star studded cast. Annette Benning was the loopy, hippie, woman?!

Say what?!

Natalie Portman is the presidents daughter? JACK BLACK is the douche head bro?

CHRISTINA APPLEGATE is the trailer slut next door? PAM GRIER?



This movie hurts my head. Plus, Tom Jones, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marty McFly, Pierce Brosnan, Martin Short, Jack Nicholson, Danny Devito.....the list forges on and on and on and on.

3. The Martian Girl Haunts My Dreams

If you aren't a total whiz at Tim Burton and his trademarks and style (Or if you do not read the "Trivia" section of IMDB), then presumably you do not know who Lisa Marie is. Lisa Marie by the way is NOT the same person as Lisa Marie Presley, however much myself of the past would like to believe it to be true. Nope, Lisa Marie is actually an ex of Burton himself which therefore equals face time in a few of his films. Like Ed Wood where she played Vampira, or in Sleepy Hollow where she played Lady Crane. Here in Mars Attacks, Lisa Marie plays the Martian Girl also known as one of the main reasons I have an irrational fear of people floating.

One of these days I will form of a collection of scary people floating moments, and certainly this one may take the top spot. I dreaded this scene so much when I was little, that I would change the channel when it was happening. I hate the way that the Martian Girl floats as she walks with her arms doing that weird thing and the scary Danny Elfman in the background. It really gives me the willies.

4. Shit Is Serious (Only Not)

I couldn't help but notice as I re-watched Mars Attacks last night, that shit is serious. If you take away the fact that film is a comedy and a spoof then you're left with one brutal and depressing film. I read (In the trivia section yes) that the studio objected to Jack Nicholson being killed off in the film and proclaimed that he simply could not be killed. This of course prompted Burton to place Nicholson in two roles....and kill both of them. The point is. Jack Nicholson? That's all we care about?

In case you've forgotten, pretty much anyone who is anyone dies in Mars Attacks. This is a case of the Janet Leigh syndrome multiplied by 30 and shoved up your butt. Not only that, but entire branches of the government are wiped out in mere seconds---and cute golden retrievers get fried as a mere afterthought. There's a lot of carnage in Mars Attacks, and when you're 10 years old--that whole "Oh this is a comedy so it's okay" thing does NOT apply. I was horrified to see Marty McFly's skeleton roasting in the desert sun.

Horrified to see Glenn Close get crushed by a falling chandelier. Horrified to see that cute golden golden retriever get fried. Which reminds me...

5. Dark and Loving It

Mars Attacks is dark yo. And believe it or not--much of it was supposed to be even darker. Several scenes or ideas for scenes were cut out of the final project that would have tipped the scales indefinitely towards the dark side. Scenes like Mr. Lee in the beginning being trampled to death by the herd of burning cows,

Byron actually dying and just more and more frying of people by the martians. Looking at Mars Attacks is one of those situations that confuses my head. I know it's supposed to be funny and a spoof, but watching all these seemingly innocent people get killed in 2 seconds for no good reason---has always left me with a bit of a sad face.

It terrified me as a child, seeing all these well known landmarks being wiped off the face of the earth.

I kept picturing myself watching my own family get killed by the martians, my own dog, my neighbors and friends. In fact, I'm about 90% sure that at this point in my life, I feared an alien attack more than a shark attack. And it was definitely Mars Attacks that kept me more afraid than a film like Independence Day. Can you believe it? Me neither. Suffice to say, Mars Attacks holds more weight than a lot of people give it credit for. Let's have a moment of silence for all those lost in the martian attacks of 1996 shall we?


BRENT said...

I seriosly love this, from the moment I saw in theatre when released. I can't believe how many scratch their heads at it and go'
we don't get it'! It is a truely great homage movie and one of Burton's better moments.

Chris Hewson said...

I know what you mean, I saw this as a kid too and I thought it was TERRIBLE!! I've yet to rewatch it but I'll make sure to soon, if anything for the scene with third-best-James-Bond and Sarah Jessica Parker as disembodied heads attached to dogs!

The Mike said...

You thought Lisa Marie was Elvis' daughter too? HIGH FIVES!

Anonymous said...

Know it's a dark humored homage, but found it too mean-spirited to enjoy.

Residents in an old folks home getting barbequed (into techno-colored flaming skeletons making cartoony screaming sounds)? Haha, real funny NOT!!!

Spooky Sean said...

Bravo to Burton for having the balls to give off so many big name actors.

Patrick said...

Mars Attacks is a great movie. I loved it when I saw it first (back in '96) and, while I haven't watched it recently, think it did a great job of blasting the hell out of any typical Hollywood production.

Rarely do you get the chance to see such a mean spirited movie with such a budget. The variety of disturbing scenes is pure genius, in my opinion. Mars Attacks! says fuck you to convention.

Pure fun and irreverence is the rule of the day when this movie gets rolling. Nobody is spared (even Jack Nicholson gets axed) and that, to me, is the genius of it all. Presidents, old folks, dogs, nice guys, pricks; everybody gets blasted.

Does it stop there? Oh, hell no. Let's fuck with iconic landmarks, too. Mount Rushmore, the Washington Monument (gasp!), Great Pyramids...tear it all down, baby. Tear it down.

Thanks for reminding me of this classic, Andre (or are you still calling yourself Andere (snicker, snicker)). I'm going to have to check this one out again. Lo and Behold! It's on Netflix instant. Badass. I see mean spirited irreverent goodness on the horizon.

Thanks for the groovy post. Keep up the great work, Andre. You're a credit to horror fans everywhere. Respect.

Chris H said...

Mars Attacks was really a homage to the Topps "Mars Attacks" trading cards from the 60's. Those were pretty scary.

Andre Dumas said...

I read about that too in the TRIVIA section buddy!

Jenny Krueger said...

Hahahaha! This movie is freakin awesome! Well Done. :]

Robert H. said...

Once you've seen a lot of the old sci-fi films of the 50's and disaster movies of the 70's, you'll be in a better position to 'get' a lot of the humor in the film.

It'll be ripe for rediscovery and reassessment soon...

Andre Dumas said...

But I have seen a lot and I do get them now. That was the thing, I get it now, I GET IT!!! : )

Anonymous said...

Being a big fan of "spoof" movies, Mars Attacks is a classic, in my opinion, due to all the stars that were attracted to the script. As for the movie review by this blogger, it all sounded like a professional review right up until the line: "This movie is dark, yo." Other than that, I enjoyed the reading, and above all, I always enjoy watching Mars Attacks!

Anonymous said...

MARS ATTACKS rates way up there with me ... So ... here's one for you. That scary floating female alien ... I'm guess her demeanor is a nod to a classic French horror film ... Eyes Without a Face. Check this late 59/60 movie out. Let me know what you think.

Anonymous said...

I saw this movie in the theater when it first came out. The show was about 1/3 full and nobody was laughing, until the part where the Martians came up on the two people screwing in their trailer and had to turn the wipers on in their helmets. Then people roared. Meanwhile I had been laughing my ass off ever since the opening scene and getting weird looks from the rest of the audience.
To this day it's one of my favorite movies, darkness, death and all.......

Anonymous said...

Honestly, being fresh out of Army Special Operations and doing security work when this released, and being a 26 year veteran of Horror and Sci Fi at that time, I REALLY wanted to like this film. I thought back to the days when I was a kid in the 70's, and the bubble gum stick card packs that contained such wonderful, and contraversial art laced across it's cardboard squares. Unfortunately what I, and many others expecting an over the top, gory, and seriously taken Sci FI adventure got, was a film that beat itself up trying to be too many things at once, and failed at them all. Granted, the martians were cool, and the disentegrations rocked, but that was it. The script sucked, the actors were only there for an obvious paycheck, and the plot was ripped right from ID4. Maybe i'm being too critical of an obvious cash grab from Hollywood, targeting the nostalgia of generation X'ers, but I think the film would have done much better if the storyline laid out in the 60's would have been adhered to, even kicking off with the card art that started it all...I believe it was number 145 "Night Vistors". Showing the martians already landed, gathering samples, etc., and some kids watching them from behind a rock, with forests around them, and a full moon shining through the trees. An eerie, spooky start to let the audience know they are going on a heck of ride, so buckle up. Wasted opportunity.