Mars Attacks! is both a parody of cheesy science fiction films—like those made by Ed Wood among others—and an opportunity for Burton to satirize a variety of contemporary subjects including American patriotism, religion, the military, television, Las Vegas, new age philosophy, and most importantly, America's belief in assimilation and its image as the world's great cultural melting pot. In this case, the "aliens" are just that: grotesque, highly robotic creatures who, seemingly out of the blue, encircle the earth in thousands of Frisbee-like spaceships. Immune to the earthlings' concept of diplomacy, these monstrous beings with enormous veiny heads are soon wreaking havoc on America's much cherished symbols of civilization, including the President of the United States himself, while conducting grotesque medical experiments on human and animal subjects. Can one teenager and his loopy grandmother save the world as we know it? "Mars Attacks! immediately announces itself as a pastiche of the 1950s alien invasion film. Derived from a series of Topps trading cards produced in the early 1960s and quickly withdrawn as a result of its excessive, gratuitous violence, Mars Attacks! is irresistibly perverse in its state-of-the-art tackiness and allusion to old B-movies both good and bad. Offering a sentimental catalog of Cold War extraterrestrial-invasion clichés, the film stands in direct contradistinction to other big-budget sci-fi films of the 1990s like Roland Emmerich's Independence Day as conveyed by Danny Elfman's musical score that explicitly recalls the Robert Wise's 1951 classic The Day the Earth Stood Still. Rather than being merely a nostalgic reworking of the genre, Mars Attacks! successfully unravels its ideological assumptions."—Ben Andac, Senses of Cinema.
Bing Theater | $5 admission | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.