Tuesday, June 16, 2015

29: Mars Attacks!

The thing is, at the time it was made and released there were a spate of movies along the same lines. 'Independence Day' is the classic comparison piece (the biggest B-movie in history), but work on Mars Attacks! actually pre-dated Independence Day. Of course the real comparisons are to the 1950s B-movies such as 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' and beyond that all the way back to H.G. Wells and 'The War Of The Worlds' which is the same basic premise. And we can talk about the ensemble cast, the gloriously consistent approach of the Martians (response to any appeals for peace is along the lines of ok, shake hands, ZAP ha ha ha killed you) and some really classic Tim Burton direction and artistic effects.

But it's Slim Whitman and Tom Jones who win it for me - the idea that Whitman's yodelling country music is the only thing capable of destroying the Martians (compare with the bacteria and viruses of H.G. Wells' original story), and the secondary notion that the post-apocalyptic world will begin with Tom Jones singing "It's not unusual" while surviving wildlife flocks to his side just like in a Disney princess scene. Wonderful, gloriously crazy and so off-the-wall you just have to enjoy it.

Thank you Tim Burton, thank you everyone. And when the aliens do eventually invade, at least it gives us something else to try when the nuclear weapons don't work.

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