I first saw “Mars Attacks!” when it came out ages ago. I was a freshmen in high school and it was the about the same time ID4 and MIB were starting to make it big. I was pretty impressed by MIB at the time because the effects and even ID4 had me curious to see it because it had the Whitehouse being butt-fucked by a death ray.
What it did was toss every big name star out there at us and say “You’re bound to enjoy it”. The time I saw it I was horribly annoyed. The alien’s voice’s made me want to sucker punch a person in the throat. It’s been over a decade since I’ve seen it and now I’ve seen countless movies that are like it. I get the joke more that Tim Burton is trying to get at.
The main source of the movie’s art style came from the trading cards series it was based on. But the film itself pays homage to many sci-fi B movies.
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Invaders from Mars
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Earth vs. the Flying Saucers
War of the Worlds
It Came From Outer Space
And others are listed as having influenced this movie in some fashion.
Truth is told this would have probably been a hilarious model for the alien for George Lucas to use on the alien in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I mean their ships are saucers and really both Burton and Lucas and Spielberg were essentially making a movie praising the nostalgia for the 50s movie. So the alien should have looked like the rubber mask variety anyway rather than CGI.
Sadly the aliens in this movie were not made with stop motion as Tim Burton originally intended but they serve their purpose and look the part of the silly stylized villain of a bygone era. It’s a fun movie that takes a fun genre and takes the audience for a trip back through time when the aliens always destroyed landmarks and they never came in peace.