Mars Assaults! has all the time been a favourite movie for me and I by no means knew why it did not get the props it deserved. Tom Reimann at Collider presents some propers.
Tim Burton was cool. Possibly he nonetheless is, I do not know, I haven’t got that information. However earlier than he dedicated himself to a long time of colorfully lifeless reboots and Disney movies (and colorfully lifeless reboots of Disney movies), he used to make some fairly wild shit. Critically, the early filmography of Tim Burton stands in opposition to that of any director in historical past – it is powerful to beat a lineup like Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Earlier than Christmas, and Ed Wooden. (Sure, I do know Henry Selick directed The Nightmare Earlier than Christmas, however there is not any universe by which you do not embrace that film in Burton’s filmography.) And he capped off this unimaginable run with the joyously corrosive Mars Assaults!, a tribute to atomic-era science fiction films that includes a scrumptious imply streak of wanton destruction. It is the closest Burton ever received to being punk rock, which is suitable, contemplating the movie is predicated on a collection of buying and selling playing cards explicitly designed to upset your mother and father.
Mars Assaults! is basically a big center finger to your entire idea of blockbuster films, with the aliens blasting just about each recognizable star into flesh mud till they’re unceremoniously defeated by a Slim Whitman music after exactly zero thrilling motion sequences. A part of the rationale behind the shortage of any actual motion or a historically heroic climax is as a result of the movie had a (comparatively) small finances, however the overwhelming majority of it’s by design – Mars Assaults! constantly punishes the viewers for anticipating something however the worst, most embarrassing factor to occur to its human characters at any given second. It is a collection of catastrophic failures culminating in an unintended victory for Planet Earth. The film is black comedian chaos from begin to end, and sadly, no person in 1996 wished to see that shit. It was thought-about a monetary and significant failure, and Burton has taken only a few probabilities from that time on. (He is made a number of good movies since then, do not get me fallacious, however they’ve all been extraordinarily “secure” for his model and fanbase.) However Mars Assaults! deserves to be celebrated, not only for casting Tom Jones as one of many saviors of humanity, however for being a pointy, venomous satire of blockbuster filmmaking and American jingoism in a decade when only a few folks had been excited about listening to that form of criticism.