USA Today - 06/28/2005
"[A] visually witty, Tim Burton's apparent takeoff on 1956's EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS stars everyone from Jack Nicholson to Tom Jones to Jim Brown."
Director Tim Burton unleashes MARS ATTACKS!, a vicious, affectionate, brightly-colored homage to 1950s alien invasion movies. When a shiny silver flying saucer lands in the Nevada desert, a group of skull-faced Martians exit the gleaming craft. Although they claim to be peaceful, they promptly "vaporize" a gathering of unfortunate Earthlings, kicking off a bizarre high-tech war with wild special effects. This studiously campy sci-fi spoof, based on a series of Topps bubble-gum cards, gleefully parodies not only schlock B-horror movies, but also overblown blockbusters such as INDEPENDENCE DAY. This subversive film is helped along by an all-star cast including Jack Nicholson in dual roles as both a clueless U.S. President (with First Lady Glenn Close) and a Las Vegas sleazebag. The film follows the wacky WAR OF THE WORLDS-like proceedings from the points of view of numerous colorful characters, from the inane U.S. Press Secretary (Martin Short) to a trailer-park family (Lukas Haas and Sylvia Sidney), to singer Tom Jones (as himself).
Tim Burton's MARS ATTACKS! is an all-star, high-tech (and subversive) spoof of those science-fiction films of the 1950s, such as THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS.
The film was inspired by now-rare Topps trading cards, originally sold in the early 1960s.
Tim Burton's wife, actress Lisa Marie, is the voice of, and the model for, the main animated Martian girl. Lisa Marie's likeness also appeared in THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993) as Sally, the mad scientist's ghoulish but sexy creation.
Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Nathalie Lake, appeared in Burton's previous film ED WOOD, as schlock sci-fi movie director Ed Wood's girlfriend Dolores.