Mars Attacks! Is STILL Pure Delight

An animated gif clip from the movie Mars Attacks with three martians standing in a row to take a photo in front of the Taj Mahal just as it is being blown up

I have always maintained that the movie Mars Attacks! was delightful genius encapsulated on film and that it never got its due. Last night, I rewatched it (because I still have my old DVDs, y'all!) and I stand by my previous assessment.

First of all, if a bop was a term for a group of actors, this cast would be a bop. Annette Benning! Jim Brown! Martin Short! Jack Nicholson! SJP! All the rest of them!

Second, the writers clearly embraced their weird and did not miss a SINGLE opportunity for a joke. The whole thing is a series of absurdly hilarious punchlines. And the DETAIL! Each character's little world is so precise and yes, they are archetypes but they are parodied so perfectly it's irresistible. (The president and his wife eat their meals off TV TRAYS, for pete's sake!!! The fact that people STILL gather to watch the martians visit congress even after they got shot up in the desert!!!)

Third, while a movie made out of a card game is clearly just an excuse to bring a bunch of martians to earth and shoot stuff, they actually strung together a ludicrous-yet-semi-plausible storyline that has emotional weight and reality for each of the characters!

Fourth, there are little touches that I think are meant to really drive home the skewering of certain systemic issues in society. FOR EXAMPLE, when the martian goes to congress, it is made up of almost entirely actual old white men, most wearing grey suits. I saw one woman, and one dude who was a bit younger. THAT'S COMMENTARY, PEOPLE. (Although I will be the first to admit that the cast should have been more diverse as a whole and the first person the martians kill is a Black man which his NOT a trope we need to parody through replication.)


Tragically, it's only available to rent, not stream, and I'm not loaning out my DVD (that's how I lost I Heart Huckabees, thankyouverymuch), but it is WORTH the $4.99 rental fee.

An animated gif clip from the movie Mars Attacks with Annette Benning sitting on a floatie in the middle of a pool in a meditation pose with a big smile on her face

An animated gif clip from the movie Mars Attacks. In the desert, there is a large flying saucer landed with a martian standing in front of it. Among the large group of people there to witness the event is a group of hippies, one of whom releases a dove as a symbol of peace. The martian shoots the dove.

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