Tim Robbins gives great brain massage. At first it looks
like Ed Wood's saucers are about to go on a "rampage"
again, but something more wicked this way comes. The
little fellas with the green cauliflower heads get zapped
like something out of H.G.'s worst nightmare, whether or
not he was no longer around before the bubble-gum cards
came out. Dr. Strangelove goes full-color while these
images only hinted at in earlier days by William Cameron
Menzies show just how elusive puppy love can be. Yes, it's
good, and if you can't figure out what I'm talking about,
go see it for yourself. All Tim Robbins films should be
issued with A MUST SEE certificate.
Everybody who's anybody's here. From Jack Nicholson to
Glenn Close to Pierce Brosnan to Annette Bening to Danny
Devito to Martin Short to Sarah Jessica Parker to Michael
J. Fox to Rod Steiger to Tom Jones to Natalie Portman to
Jim Brown to Sylvia Sidney. Did I leave anybody out? Oh,
yeah, nice touch sticking Lukas Hass into the middle of it
all (although it might have been fun with Henry Thomas as
well). And isn't Lisa Marie fabulous! Let's face it, if
you're gonna' get zapped...
The Martians are coming! The Martians are coming! (And
not quite in the way that Orson envisioned.) Let's face
it, if they intend to take over the planet (or at least the
States) then they're gonna' have to cover a lot of a
territory. That means travel time, folks, whether you're
in a spaceship or a pick-up truck, so get ready for a
Panorama Americana. In Washington, D.C., we have the first
family (sans Alzheimer's, but with bumbling) as portrayed
by Nicholson, Close and Portman. Alongside them, assisting
in decision making are the inane scientist Donald Kessler
(Brosnan) and ineffectual General Decker (Steiger). Media
anchors in full competition on location in Arizona are the
global news rep (Fox) and the stylish fashion show
presenter (Parker). In Las Vegas, we encounter the slick
and sleazy Art Land (Nicholson) with his equally attractive
wife (Bening) while getting a glimpse of the "Rude Gambler"
(DeVito). The Martians are even perky enough to perform on
stage with Tom Jones before chasing him through the casino.
In the middle of the American Heartland, Richie Norris
(Haas) gets his donut blown away by the little green men.
The world inhabited by these characters is so hilarious,
hysterical, and utterly mad that it's amazing that anyone
would want to possess it. Attack it, maybe; possess it,
no. Burton is so outrageous; no wonder everyone wants to
work with him. (During the planning phase, when Robbins
approached Nicholson, with whom he had previously
collaborated on Batman, and asked him which part he would
like to play, the old Joker naturally responded, "How 'bout
all of them?" As it turns out, he settled for two.)
With so many stars getting zapped and so many Martians
zapping, who knows who's gonna disappear from the screen
next? Which brings up the constant stars, those odd little
guys with the great big eyes supervised by ILM's Jim
Mitchell and Warner's Michael Fink. Yes, it's all here,
120 shots of global destruction, airborne saucer sequences,
and Martians landing in the desert. Who could ask for
anything more? Zap. Zap.
Unfortunately American box office returns have been less
than one would imagine, expect, or hope, most likely due to
many people expecting something in a similar vein to
Independence Day. Foolish Earthlings, you don't know what
you're missing. Could it be that this will only be
recognized for the spaced-out comedy it is by a future cult
audience or other intelligent life form?
Everyone involved with this production deserves, as usual
with a Tim Burton show, superb points, so it's pointless to
begin naming everyone here. If, however, you're hungry for
all the details, check 'em out on the website for Mars
Attacks @ www.warnerbros.com. Happy landing.
A MUST SEE.
© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett