Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “Mars Attacks!” (1996).
May 9th. Lockjaw, Kentucky. A day that will live in human history forever. That was the day that a farmer in “Mars Attacks” drove up to his neighbor’s house. Asked the neighbor if he was making barbecue. It wasn’t barbecue the farmer smelled. It was a herd of cows with fire on their back, running away from a flying saucer.
Suddenly Earth was being invaded. Not just invaded but inundated by Martians. It was about to be “Independence Day” and “War of the Worlds” rolled into one.
Tim Burton has given us one heck of a parody of all those cheap science fiction movies of the fifties. Based on the Topps cards, he gathered a star-studded cast that included Pierce Brosnan, Glenn Close, Annette Bening, Danny Devito, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Rod Steiger, Jim Brown, Jack Black, Pam Grier and a whole bunch of Martians for a comedy as big as any extraterrestrial invasion could be.
On top of all that, Jack Nicholson does double duty as President James Dale and Las Vegas developer Art Land. Even though this is a Tim Burton movie, there’s no Johnny Depp anywhere to be seen. Unless he’s a Martian. The Martian ambassador does have that Johnny Depp kind of smile though.
With Jack Nicholson as President, Earth shouldn’t have anything to fear. Who could have said a more sincere, “Why don’t we all just get along” than Jack? After all, he was very convincing as a Mafia hitman in “Prizzi’s Honor”, as the Joker in Tim Burton’s “Batman” and as the Devil in “The Witches of Eastwick”.
Unfortunately Jack isn’t persuasive enough. The Martians don’t want to get along. Isn’t that always the problem with a higher civilization when it has to deal with the indigenous people? And the Martians don’t want to party either. They’re mad about something and they’re not telling.
Part of the problem is that they can’t understand plain English. Or any other kind of English either. We keep letting them know we want to be friends in a number of different ways. They keep firing little space ray guns at us. It’s pretty obvious they don’t want to be friends. Especially after they blow up Congress. ‘Course we could consider that they are doing us a favor. Nobody likes Congress, and that’s a fact.
What can President do? Nuke the Martians? Throw a pie in their faces? Throw a temper tantrum? Create an Adopt a Martian Day? No. He goes on tv and speaks to the American people, letting them know everything’s going to be all right. Right.
The Martians have other ideas. They plan on visiting the Washington Monument and touring the White House? Not. Instead they take out the Nancy Reagan Chandelier. Then they’re off to that capital of Western Civilization, Las Vegas. There they’ll play the one armed bandits, take a chance on some twenty-one and catch a Tom Jones Show. They’re real fans.
And they just love fireworks. Especially when they’re in charge of the pyrotechnics. When the Martians get hungry, there’s nothing they like better than a nuclear weapon for lunch. In other words, they’re real badasses. They even have a transformer on their side.
There’s only one thing that will save Earth. I won’t give up a spoiler here. Let’s just say, “Thank the Good Lord for Slim Whitman.” You just never know when an “Indian Love Call” will come in handy.
The moral of “Mars Attacks”: The next time a Martian shows up at your house, offering peace. Don’t believe him.