Just like my favorite director Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton has invented his own genre, and same as Quentin the best way to describe the genre is to simply say his name. If I was to describe the movie “Beetlejuice” to someone who hasn’t seen it all I need to say is “It’s a Tim Burton movie”. If I was a famous movie director I would take that as a major compliment but at the same time I would be upset because that would limit me to my own style. I like that Tim has his own style because I know I can count on him to stick to it and if I ever want to see a “Tim Burton” movie I can watch one.
The problem is that the style he has just cannot fit into some genres like he wants them to. “Mars Attacks!” is a terrible mess of a film that means well but fails even on paper. For starters it is a parody film, a genre that has only been done right once with “Airplane”. It then adds embarrassment to it by having such an enormous cast no one would be able to handle. Watching the film is like watching a street performer juggle too many bowling pins, he keeps dropping them and you feel sorry for him because you know he is feeling embarrassed. It is truly a pity that such talents as Jack Nicholson, Jack Black, and Michael J. Fox get wasted in a film that looks like a stupid B movie that should have never existed.
From the opening credits you see that there is an alien invasion with flying saucers. The Martians that attack look too silly even for a parody. In fact I even remember a picture of one of them being in one of my high school textbooks for some reason and when me and my friend first saw it we laughed so hard that our teacher got pissed and kindly asked us to shut the hell up. The plot then slowly evolves into a nonsensical cocktail of uninteresting stories involving the president of the United States, a talk show host falling in love with a scientist but getting her head stuck on the body of a dog, and a message towards the Martians which was either mistranslated or the Martians didn’t care and attacked anyway.
Tim Burton is not particularly known for being clever or witty with his films but he usually doesn’t dumb his movies down either. This time he makes a movie that feels as if prolonged exposure to it might cause a tumor. There might be a true sincerity in it in that Tim honestly wanted to make a good homage to science fiction B movies but it was a wrong choice from a director who I really admire and think that he is capable of doing much better.
Although I am tempted to say “Batman” I think his best film is “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” but what do you think? Do you prefer something more like “Edward Scissorhands”? or perhaps the darker “Sleepy Hollow”? Tell me in the comments below. Remember you can comment whether you have an account or not. Please start leaving me some comments, because they have been scarce.