There’s a scene near the end of Tim Burton’s gleefully anti-human 1996 sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks! where the President of the United States (Jack Nicholson at his oiliest) tries to make peace with the invading Martians by with a beautiful speech about Earth and Mars working together. “There is nothing that we could not accomplish,” he says.
The speech clearly moves the Martian leader — a single tear forming in one of his giant, lidless bug-eyes. As a gesture of goodwill, the Martian extends his hand in friendship and President Nicholson accepts but surprise! It’s a fake hand! A robot spider-hand! With a deadly scorpion-like metallic tail! No peace! Ha, ha! The deadly hand crawls all over the President and then murders him. The Martians don’t want peace. They hate humanity and, to be honest, I don’t blame them.
I think about this scene all the time.
Mars Attacks is not Burton’s best — that’s a toss-up between Batman Returns, Beetlejuice, and Ed Wood. But it certainly is his most anarchic. The Martians have a two-step plan: Destroy humanity and have a good time doing it. Flying saucers vandalize monuments. Soldiers are turned into smoldering skeletons. A giant laser cannon is pointed at the head of a little old lady. It’s a disaster movie that cheers on the disaster.
The movie has an abrupt, and very silly, happy ending but for almost an hour and a half, it’s nonstop carnage — an army of tiny green men with giant brains eyes laughing while killing Earthlings. The Martians, you know, have a point.
First Reaction: ‘Dune’
I just watched the spicy new trailer
I love David Lynch’s 1985 blockbuster adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic about holy men in rubber pants drinking hallucinatory worm juice, Dune. Depending on your point of view, it’s a perfect example of why beloved, and valuable, intellectual properties should be re-imagined by singular artists or a warning against the practice.
The new Dune is a new studio betting on a visionary director, again. Although this visionary director isn’t quite a genius.
Lynch’s vision isn’t for everyone. His Dune was a legendary flop that wrecked him creatively for years. And yet, it’s one of those movies I watch to recharge my emotional batteries. It’s like a song I never get tired of hearing. Recently, my girlfriend offered me a special birthday gift. …
I’m Thinking Of Ending Things’ Doesn’t End
Charlie Kaufman’s new movie is a long, awkward trip backward and forwards in time
Oscar-winner Charlie Kaufman’s haunting new movie I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is the story of an awkward young woman on a winter road trip to meet the parents of her boyfriend, an awkward young man she may not be in love with.
The woman is thinking of ending the relationship. We can hear her thoughts. We’re in her head. She is the main character except, maybe she isn’t? …