January 2, 2018
(After the shortened intro, we fade to the Nostalgia Critic at his desk)
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Tim Burton has gone from one of the world's most unique directors...
(The poster for Big Fish is shown)
NC: ...to one of the world's most commercial directors...
(It is followed by a poster for Disney's Alice in Wonderland)
NC: ...to "You know what? Just put someone in black eye makeup..."
(The poster for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is then followed)
NC (vo): "...and we'll see if it feels somewhat artsy."
NC: But believe it or not, there was a long period of time where Tim Burton kind of had the golden touch.
(The posters for Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Batman Returns are shown)
NC (vo): From financial hits like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands to critical hits like Ed Wood and Nightmare Before Christmas, his biggest disaster at the time was his blockbuster hits didn't always render ways to Happy Meal toys.
(The scene from Batman Returns, showing the Penguin biting off Josh's nose, is shown with McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" jingle playing after the scene stops)
NC: But every long line of success has its Mars Attacks. Tim Burton's was Mars Attacks.
(The title for the movie Mars Attacks! is shown, followed by its clips)
NC (vo): Though Burton did make other good movies after this one, and not all his previous films pleased everybody, this was the first film that got people asking...
NC: (shifts eyes) "What is he thinking sometimes?"
NC (vo): The trailers, at first, seemed really funny, with cartoonish effects and humorously large cast, and, as they never left out, Tom Jones.
(The clip of the trailer for this film is shown, showing Tom Jones singing on a stage)
Trailer Announcer: And yes, Tom Jones.
Tom Jones: (singing) It's not unusual to be loved...
(The performance is immediately interrupted by the Martians' attack)
NC (vo): It also came on the heels of Independence Day, so people thought it might be a satire of that.
NC: Not realizing that Independence Day was already supposed to be bad. (pauses, smiling nervously) Right?
NC (vo): It was goofy and enjoyable enough, but it was both a critical and box office flop. Even Billy Crystal made fun of it in song at the Oscars, telling Jack Nicholson...
(The clip from 1998 Academy Awards is shown, showing the ceremony's host, Billy Crystal, going into the audience and singing his opening medley song)
Billy Crystal: (to Nicholson, singing) Sit back and relax, / Forget about Mars Attacks! (He sits on Nicholson's lap, and the audience applauds)
NC (vo): However, it's getting a following as one of those uniquely immature dark films like (posters of...) Death to Smoochy or Bad Taste. So, is it not bad, just secretly inspired, or is it bad, just bad in all the right ways? Well, I'm here to see if it's actually worth any of that recognition. Is it brilliantly childish or childishly childish?
NC: Let's take a look with (becomes slightly confused) Tim Burton's secretly brilliant blunder?... (normal) Mars Attacks.
(The movie starts)
NC (vo): So it sets its tone quite clearly with its first hilarious joke: cows on fire!
(In Kentucky, a farmer and his family watch in confusion as a herd of cattle starts running past their home, on fire)
NC: (does a pompous laugh) This is clearly a much better Happy Meal tie-in.
(The scene is repeated, but with "I'm Lovin' It" jingle in the background. We cut to the credits, featuring the Martian ships leaving Mars and heading towards Earth while the credits float around them)
NC (vo): After that, we get a pretty kick-ass opening with one of Danny Elfman's most catchy and somehow threatening themes.
(As the credit "Based upon "Mars Attacks!" A property of The Topps Company" is shown, the opening dramatic march composed by Danny Elfman is playing)
NC: Though, for such a visually pleasing introduction...
(As Annette Bening and Pierce Brosnan's names roll around the view of Earth from space, the Earth isn't quite at the center of the shot)
NC (vo): ...could they move the Earth a little bit more centered with the credits?
NC: (slams the table) My OCD will not stand for this! Unless, of course, it's standing in a symmetrical pattern.
(We are shown President James Dale, played by Jack Nicholson, observing the photos of the UFOs in his office)
NC (vo): Flying saucers from Mars line up around the Earth, getting the attention of President Jack Nicholson. And yeah, I know all these characters have other names, but...
NC: With these many celebrities, are you really gonna call...
NC (vo): ...Jack Nicholson "Dale"? Or Natalie Portman as "Taffy"?
(A casino manager named Art Land, also played by Nicholson, is shown in a later scene)
NC (vo): Or completely pointless double performance as "Jack, we love you, but what're you doing? Wha-wha-wha-what're you doing?"
Art Land: Galaxy's gonna be the best hotel in Vegas. The best.
NC (vo): Yeah, not only does Nicholson play the President, he also plays a hotshot tycoon in Vegas, and...
Art Land: (to his wife Barbara) Go on over to the roulette, play our anniversary and stay off of black.
NC: Did any of that make you laugh? 'Cause that's basically what it is!
NC (vo): I wonder if he just came on set blind drunk dressed like that, and they were like... (as a director, over PA) You know what, shoot a few scenes. Jack Black isn't a thing yet, so we have to convince people there's more celebrities in here than they think.
(Barbara Land, who's played by Annette Bening, is shown in various clips)
NC (vo): And yes, that's Annette Bening as his wife. She's kind of a New Age hippie flower child, and if you took out her being married to Jack Nicholson, you'd miss...
NC: ...Honestly, I have no idea.
NC (vo): It doesn't add anything, and half the time, I had to remind myself she's even married to him.
Barbara: (at the meeting) I think they've come to save us. (She giggles, and everyone applauds)
NC: Though, it would have been a lot more powerful if they left this scene in.
(A clip from American Beauty is shown)
Carolyn Burnham (Annette Bening): (slapping herself on the face) STOP IT! You weak... You baby! SHUT UP!
(Art Land sees President Dale's message about the invasion on TV)
NC (vo): But Nicholson is interrupted by...Nicholson...to tell the world about the Martians.
President Dale: And our world will never feel quite the same again.
(Taffy Dale, the President's daughter, is shown in her bedroom, with a tent made out of black sheet above her)
NC (vo): Oh, look. His daughter wears black over her bed, because... (The shot from Beetlejuice is shown, showing the character named...) Lydia.
(We're next shown the chat show host Nathalie Lake (Sarah Jessica Parker), her pet chihuahua Poppy and her boyfriend, the news reporter Jason Stone (Michael J. Fox), at the table. Nathalie is reading New York Post with the headline "MARTIANS!!!!!", her legs on the table)
NC (vo): Next, we have talk show host Sarah Jessica Parker, who's dating news anchor Michael J. Fox.
Nathalie: Oh, they want me to go interview that professor from the White House.
Jason: We should have got that guy.
Nathalie: Well, I can't help it if your people are too slow.
NC (vo): She's just in a weird mood because her Sex and the City survey said she was Samantha.
NC: She is clearly a Steve Brady!
(We're then shown the Norris family consisting of a husband, wife, grandmother, brother and sister saying goodbye to their son Billy-Glenn (Jack Black), who's a soldier)
NC (vo): Next, we have Lukas Haas, Jack Black, Joe Don Baker, Christina Applegate, the agent from Beetlejucie (Sylvia Sidney) and the lady with curlers from Edward Scissorhands (O-Lan Jones).
NC: (holds up both hands) Surprisingly doing nothing of interest.
(The family is shown just sitting in their trailer minding their own business while the news report about the invasion is heard on their television)
NC: (scratches head) You'd think putting such a strange combo together something interesting would happen by accident...
NC (vo): But, look, Lukas Haas really likes donuts.
Richie: (various scenes) Hey, Ma, you want a donut? / He made the international sign of the donut. / If you need anything, any donuts or anything, give me a call, all right?
NC: This will be his arc.
(A bus driver Louise Williams (Pam Grier) is shown putting her kids Cedric and Neville who missed school on a bus, and after that, we cut back to the casino and see Louise's ex-husband Byron (Jim Brown), an boxing fighter who serves as a casino mascot, wearing a Pharaoh costume)
NC (vo): Pam Grier is a bus driver who has trouble keeping track of her kids, while her ex-husband Jim Brown is an ex-fighter now working in Vegas. And if you're wondering what he does in Vegas, I honestly have no clue. He just walks around in this Pharaoh costume, because ex-fighters doing that is a draw?
NC: Again, let's see if anything of interest is happening.
(Cedric and Neville call Byron)
Neville: Hey, Dad.
Byron: Who's that? Neville?
Neville: (on the phone) Yeah.
Byron: How you doin'?
Neville: (to Cedric, who's now holding the tube) Man, give it back.
Cedric: Leave me alone.
NC: (shaking his head) Not even by mistake.
(The President's Press Secretary Jerry Ross (Martin Short) arrives in a limo to see some streetwalkers)
NC (vo): Will Martin Short hitting on hookers make for some good comedy?
Jerry: The stress at work is...unbelievable. (He then drops his jaw at the sight of...well, you get the idea)
NC: ...Guess not!
NC (vo): How are so many strange and colorful people led by a strange and colorful person turning out to be such bland and colorless toothpicks?
NC: Mathematically, it doesn't seem possible!
(Nathalie is shown at her show Today in Fashion interviewing Professor Donald Kessler (Pierce Brosnan) and petting Poppy, but doesn't notice that things are going wrong behind the scenes)
NC (vo): Okay, here we go. The Martians interrupt Parker's TV show with Pierce Brosnan...
NC: Oh, Pierce Brosnan's in this. Is he interesting?
Donald: Maybe they can tell us about our universe. How it started. Where it's going.
NC: No. On to the Martians.
(The Martian Emperor appears on every TV in the USA)
Taffy: That's a Martian?
(Cut to the White House, where it's shown the President is watching the broadcast with his wife Marsha)
Marsha: I'm not gonna have that thing in my house.
NC (vo): Oh, and Glenn Close is the First Lady. God, there's a lot of wasted talent in this! What's her one-note?
Marsha: Well, they're not gonna eat off the Van Buren china.
NC: Well, it's no donut ark, but... (A clip of Richie is shown again)
NC (vo): The Martians, at first, seem to be the best part of the movie, with their funny design and unbelievably bizarre language...
(The Martian Emperor is shown addressing the people of Earth, saying nothing but "Ack-ack-ack" and "rack-rack-rack")
NC (vo): But you'll find even that wears thin after a while. For now, though, they're a lot more entertaining than human characters. Even the study of them produces some enjoyably surreal humor.
(A group of scientists brings out a translator device to the US Army)
Dr. Zeigler (Jerzy Skolimowski): I've been refining a translating computer. (He turns it on)
Translator: All green of skin. Dark is the suede that mows like a harvest.
General Decker (Rod Steiger): What the hell does that mean?
NC: (holds up index finger) And for the record, we never do find out what that means. (Beat) I am strangely okay with that. It's like adding logic to The Room; just something should never be explained.
(Jerry is shown attending a press conference)
NC (vo): But others should. Like why are Martin Short and Michael J. Fox doing nothing funny.
Jason: If the Martians land, will the press have access? Can we do interviews?
Jerry: We'd have to establish contact, uh, work out whatever communication problems, then I guess we just see what happens.
NC: Why does this scene even exist? Is it to build up that Michael J. Fox is gonna do interviews with the Martians? I guess that could be funny. Uh, is it just for this one throwaway joke?
(After President Dale comes up to the stand, the next question is asked by a male journalist...or female...you can't tell)
Journalist (Coco Leigh): Do Martians have two sexes, like we do?
(A moment of silence)
NC: (trying to hold back his laughter) Must not laugh... Must not justify pointlessness...
(Art Land invites Byron into his limo)
NC (vo): Oh, this will get the comedy back on track.
Art Land: I got this chump, owes me a lot of money, needs a wake-up call. What I'd like for you to do is, uh, use that patented left hook on him.
Byron: I'm trying to get back with my wife.
(He presses a button; the laugh track is played as NC shrugs in confusion. In the movie, the people, the Army and the President are gathered to greet the landing Martians)
NC (vo): Finally, the Martians seem to be landing. Well, good. We can finally see how they interact with these hilarious characters.
(Jason is preparing for his live report on top of his news van when he overhears Nathalie calling her from the other van)
Nathalie: Hi, Jason! Hi! Jason, hi! Yoo-hoo! (Jason reluctantly waves at her in response)
NC: ...Or we could give them a podcast. I know they only say one word, but honestly, I still think it'd be more entertaining!
(The group of Martians, led by the ambassador, walk towards General Casey and the translator computer)
NC (vo): The Martians land and, using their translator, they try to communicate.
(The Martian Ambassador says a sentence that seems to be interpreted as...)
Translator: We come in peace.
(After that, a hippie releases a white dove as a symbol of peace. Angered, the Ambassador shoots it from his blaster and General Casey, disintegrating them and turning them into skeletons)
NC (vo): But the Martians see a released dove and start firing on everyone.
(As the Martians fire their weapons wildly, the Army soldiers charge their guns)
Soldier: Open fire!
NC: Okay, we've been spending 40 minutes building up these boring characters, but finally, we're gonna utilize it! They're gonna interact with the Martians!
(Billy-Glenn decides to go "Leeroy Jenkins" and charges at the enemies. He takes a gun and prepares to shoot, but hits the magazine release by mistake)
NC (vo): Like Jack Black's dummy soldier is about to attack. Is he gonna kick their asses or find out he surprisingly gets along with them, or...
Billy-Glenn: (holding on to the American flag) I surrender!
(He is killed, and his parents watch his death in horror on their TV)
NC: Or just dies. Okay. Playing with expectations, I guess.
(Jason crawls to Nathalie and reaches to her)
NC (vo): All right, Michael J. Fox is heading towards them. Is he gonna try and do an interview with them or exploit them in some way, or...
(Nathalie takes Jason's hand...and that's all that's left of him, as he is also a green skeleton now. Nathalie gasps and promptly faints)
NC: ...Just dies as well. Okay. I, I, uh... Really?
(The Martians capture Nathalie and Poppy and leave the Earth with them onboard)
NC (vo): They take Sarah Jessica Parker. Okay, well, does she give them fashion advice or compare pets, or...
(Nathalie is decapitated; after she wakes up in a jar, she finds out Poppy's head is implanted on her body and screams. NC is totally dumbfounded)
NC: Well, at least she's still alive. I...never thought I'd say that in a joyful sense about any of these characters, but at least it's another alternative to just...dying!
(The scientists and Professor Kessler continue to examine the Martian body, and meanwhile, the war meeting is going on in the bunker)
NC (vo; sighs): Okay, so the first couple of character interactions with the Martians weren't that funny. We at least get a few cool set pieces like this B movie autopsy lab or this Dr. Strangelove-styled war room. It's just a shame nobody's saying anything funny in them.
Donald: Notice the highly developed cranial nerve system here. This explains, of course, the cerebral arteries.
NC: (hand on cheek) I think the actual autopsy would be more funny than this.
NC (vo): Okay, Tim. You've got the film in some of these sets you thought were so cool as a kid.
NC: Can you...actually entertain us now?
(We're back to the Martians' ship)
NC (vo): But the Martians! Come on, they were pretty funny, right? They still gotta get a few laughs.
(The Martians are shown speaking to each other in their language when observing Nathalie's stuff from her handbag and discussing the matter of Earth. Absolutely nothing is subtitled throughout)
NC: Well, I'm sick of their voices now. At first, it was kinda funny, but then, they go...
NC (vo): ...Star Wars Holiday Special and have it be the one sound we ever hear out of them...
NC: ...and there's no goddamn subtitles!
(A clip of the Martian speaking is shown)
NC: Oh, let me guess. "Ack-ack"?
(Another Martian is shown walking across the ship and speaking)
NC: You sure this wasn't a troll movie?
(Barbara is shown talking to Art Land at home)
NC (vo): But it's cool. We have a ton of other hilarious stuff, like Annette Bening's social commentary...
Barbara: The human race doesn't deserve to live.
(Cedric and Neville call Byron again, but Louise takes the tube for herself)
NC (vo): An ex-husband and ex-wife still pointlessly being an ex-husband and ex-wife...
Byron: I love you.
Louise: I love you, too, Byron.
NC (vo): ...and a funeral!
(Billy-Glenn is proclaimed a hero and is buried with military honors as the Norris family mourns)
Sergeant: Fire. (The soldiers forming a rifle party fire a volley salute) Aim. Fire. (The soldiers fire again)
(NC is perplexed)
NC: (shaking his hands nervously) Wheeeeee...
(We go to a commercial. After that, we are shown the Martians' ship landing in front of the White House (and the military) and going inside to address the Congress, where Professor Kessler intends to renegotiate with them)
NC (vo): So the White House thinks the Martians misinterpreted the dove as a sign of war, so they decided to meet up again in front of Congress. Again, this could be funny: the politicians trying to convince them to join their side, pushing their political beliefs on them...
NC: There are some enjoyable possibilities here-
(The Ambassador kills everyone present)
NC: Or just kill them. (slams the table in disappointment)
NC (vo): Now, don't get me wrong. It is a little funny that absolutely nothing provokes them this time, and the exact same thing happens. I get it.
(The montage of the Martians going rampaging around various locations throughout the movie is shown)
NC: And trust me, this would be hilarious if the exact same thing...
NC (vo): ...didn't happen throughout the rest of the goddamn movie! Yeah, this is pretty much just the rest of the film! Why dedicate so much time to these boring characters if you're just gonna do the same thing to them over and over and over?
(We're shown the retirement home and the old folks observing this on TV, not amused)
Grandma Florence: They blew up Congress! (laughs)
NC: (smiling) Yet, somehow, it's still not as funny as what's really going on in Congress.
(The Martians knock out and capture Donald Kessler. It is then shown that Nathalie's head is implanted on Poppy's body)
NC (vo): They take Pierce Brosnan this time, and seeing what they did with Parker and her head, at least there's hope that something interesting will be done with him.
(Donald's parts are dismembered, and his disembodied head remains animated and is hanging on metal wires)
NC: Or you can do...less than what you did with her.
NC (vo): Just take the head off and stop. Brilliant. Yes. Don't put it on anything, don't morph it or change it, j-j-just stop. I'm sure they did it so they could get out this amazing knee-slapper.
Donald: (to Nathalie) This is terribly frustrating. I'm just not feeling myself.
NC: You know, there's (begins gesturing with his hands to illustrate the following) pushing the envelope, and then, there's taking the envelope back, peeling off the stamp and then neatly putting the envelope back in a drawer. (Beat) This does that.
(Another meeting with the President is going on in the war room)
NC (vo): President Nicholson argues with General Rod Steiger about what to do.
President Dale: I'm not going to start a war.
General Decker: We have to strike now, sir! Annihilate! Kill! Kill!
President Dale: SHUT UP!!! Shut! Up! Shut...UP!!
(Everyone in the war room is left in stunned silence)
NC: You will believe chilling drama can come from...Mars Attacks.
(The Martians try to assassinate President Dale and one of them disguises himself as a woman...a cartoonishly-looking one, with a pretty big head. However, upon meeting, Jerry doesn't care and allows the visitor to enter the White House)
NC (vo): There is a pretty creative joke involving one of the Martians sneaking in, dressed as a human, played by Lisa Marie. Not only is it funny how obvious it is, but it's even funnier seeing how nobody seems to notice. The movements, the design, the performance, it definitely gets a giggle.
NC: But even that goes on for too long.
NC (vo): This could get a laugh for...what, maybe a minute. They give us six, SIX minutes of this one gag! And even when her cover is blown, it doesn't make sense!
(Jerry takes the opportunity to woo the guest. However, this "guest" bites into his finger, and the skin of the lips is partly ripped off, revealing Martian teeth. When the "girl" spits Jerry's finger away and starts chewing gum, the revealed teeth don't move)
NC (vo): Her skin is ripped, revealing the alien inside, but the mouth doesn't move when she opens it. Is it...supposed to be a bad effect? I mean, okay, the effects aren't great, but they're not really bad enough either to make it clear if this was intentional or not. (The Martian reveals himself, taking the woman head off) Especially seeing how the mouth moves fine in later scenes. But, whatever. At least they're actually interacting with one of the characters this time and not just blandly killing him off. (The scene of the "woman" biting off Jerry's finger is shown again) Oh. Spoke too soon.
(Jerry crawls to the phone)
Jerry: Operator, this is an emergency! Help! Please!
(The Martian grabs a statue and hits Jerry on the head with it, killing him)
NC: Oh, come on! He's a sexual deviant! If they wanted this death to be (finger quotes) "more fitting", shouldn't she have bitten off... (becomes disgusted) something that would make him more short?
(Before the Martian can kill President Dale in his bed, he is spotted and shot by the President's guards. This makes the Martians angry, and more of their UFOs land on the Earth. The bigger Martian rampage around the globe then begins as NC describes it)
NC (vo): She makes it to the President's bedroom to try and kill him, but he's saved by Secret Service. This angers the Martians, and, to be fair, they do get a few laughs here. Their suit-up machine is pretty funny, using the Washington Monument to smash boy scouts is great, they even bowl for the Easter Island statues.
NC: Honestly, I think this was the movie people were hoping they would get!
NC (vo): But that's no fun. Variety, visual humor? Pfft. Surely, there's just Martians shooting shit again.
(The Martians break into the White House and start blasting people. The Secret Service evacuates the President, but Marsha stays as she can't let the invaders destroy the Nancy Reagan chandelier. They, in turn, shoot the chandelier, and it falls and kills the First Lady)
NC (vo): But, ooh! They shake it up a bit. Like instead of a laser killing the First Lady, a laser shoots a chandelier, killing the First Lady! (gasps) Commentary!
(Neville and Cedric use their arcade guns to fight the Martians)
NC (vo): Ooh, look! The boys who shot aliens in video games are now shooting aliens in real life! (gasps again) Commentary!!
(Art Land is shown in his hotel having a talk with his investors, but when they try to point out that the Martians are getting closer to him, he doesn't listen, and thus, he is crushed by beneath the hotel's giant globe. The building collapses)
NC (vo): And the pointless tycoon character who's selling hotels gets killed selling a hotel in his hotel!
NC: (sarcastically) MIND-BLOWING how much this reflects us.
NC (vo): I'd say this is textbook-writing irony, but you know what? (A picture of a toddler sitting on a potty is shown) This is preschool "How to Potty" writing irony.
(A rude gambler (yeah, the character has no name), played by Danny DeVito, tries to offer his services to a Martian, but gets zapped and killed)
NC (vo): Danny DeVito character, for example, tries to bargain for his life by selling one of them his watch.
NC: You wanna know how much time was spent developing him? There's this...
Rude Gambler: Am I the only one shooting craps here?!
Rude Gambler: Hey! You're Tom Jones, right?
NC: That's it. I like to think of him as his character from...
(The picture of Frank Reynolds (DeVito) from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is shown)
NC (vo): ...It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, wandering onto the set and refusing to leave unless they wrote a part for him.
NC: Except that would make too much sense in a movie that makes not!
(Tom Jones is shown in various scenes)
NC (vo): And the movie promised Tom Jones, so...there he is. He runs around with some of the stars, waving his arms. He...apparently knows how to fly a plane...
(Cut to a scene of Tom Jones and Barbara getting into the latter's plane to escape from the Martians)
Barbara: Are you sure you can fly this?
Tom Jones: (pressing buttons on the control panel) Yeah, I think so, yeah.
("The More You Know" pops up with a ding)
NC (vo): Okay, I guess. That's about it. Tom Jones, everybody. Christ, wouldn't it have been a lot funnier if he was swinging one of those laser guns, or saying badass lines, or really saving the day? You have Tom Jones as himself in such a weird cameo! Have fun with it! Here, he's just kind of...here.
NC: And, yeah, okay, I guess that could be kind of funny, if the rest of the cast wasn't just kind of here!
(A giant Martian mecha grabs Mr. and Mrs. Norris' trailer and crushes it with them inside)
NC (vo): When a character gets killed off, it doesn't even mean anything anymore. Lukas Haas' parents get killed in their trailer home.
NC: (arms crossed) So?
(The Martian enters the bunker, uses the shrink ray on General Decker and then stomps on him)
NC (vo): Rod Steiger gets shrunken down and stepped to death.
(President Dale makes an impassioned speech in an attempt to save his and everyone's life and shakes the Martian Ambassador's hand. The hand then crawls on the President's back by itself and stabs him. The Martian flag is put onto the hand sticking out of the dead President's chest)
NC (vo): Even President Jack Nicholson getting killed by Martians somehow isn't as cool as it should be. They never took advantage of the characters they could become based on the people they chose to play them.
(The stills of King Louie from The Jungle Book (2016) are shown)
NC (vo): ...but they have the kid (Mowgli) run into a cowbell, they have him awkwardly sing in his goofy voice, they know what they're doing.
NC: Here, the first thought you have in your head of...
(Back to Mars Attacks!)
NC (vo): ...President Jack Nicholson or Tom Jones fighting Martians is immediately funnier than what they actually did in this movie.
NC: Oh! But they put in an eye-drop of irony in every one of those deaths, (confused) so that somehow makes it clever? "Potty Book" irony?
NC (vo): Every once in a while, there is a good joke, like France thinking they made a friend, their attempts to use nukes totally backfiring, and probably my favorite line from the translator...
(As the Martians walk across the road, one of them is shown holding the translator machine, and he turns it on)
Translator: Don't run. We are your friends.
NC (vo): Scenes like that are great, and there needed to be more of them. But instead, we just have a lot of running around, blasting, running around, blasting... What's happening over here? Oh, yeah, running around and blasting.
(Tom Jones, Barbara, Byron and Cindy (the waitress, Byron's co-worker, played by Janice Rivera) try to get to the plane for them to escape, but are surrounded by the Martians and the Ambassador)
NC (vo): Maybe Jim Brown fighting them will be funny... Oh, wait, this movie apparently decided it wanted to have hard, so...this is now supposed to be serious. Even the waitress apparently tries to tell him not to go.
Byron: (to Cindy, whispering) I'll draw them away. Now, go.
Byron: I said, go! (Cindy gasps and runs off)
NC: (deadpan) That was gut-wrenching.
(Byron kills the Ambassador, but he is overwhelmed and outnumbered. This allows Cindy, Barbara and Tom Jones to escape the aliens)
NC (vo): The Martians overpower him, though, and leave him dead on the ground.
(Grandma Florence is listening to Slim Whitman's "Indian Love Call". The Martian prepares to kill her, but his head blows up after he hears the song. Richie is amazed by this)
NC (vo): But, luckily, Lukas Haas discovers the Martians' weakness, and that seems to be...Slim Whitman music. It makes their heads explode.
Richie: What's killing them?
Grandma Florence: I think it must be my music.
NC: (sighs and slams the table in frustration) Shit... Okay. On principle, I can't like this. Not because I like Slim Whitman, but because I like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!
(The poster for this 1978 movie is shown, followed by clips)
NC (vo): They did the exact same thing to kill off the threat there, too. It's the world's worst love song that kills off the monstrous invasion. Except that film actually did have no budget and enjoyably bad effects, and the smart enough sense of humor so that you know it was intentionally awful. It was a satire of B-movies that was also a B movie.
(The surviving people use their tape recorders, players, speakers, etc. to destroy the Martians with "Indian Love Call")
NC (vo): I don't know if anyone knew what was going on with this, aside from stealing from other B-movies so poorly that you have no idea if it's an homage or just straight-up stealing.
NC: Look, a parody can do a homage to another parody, but you gotta do something different. Doing the same joke doesn't mean you're clever. It just means you're doing the same joke.
(The military thereafter broadcast the song around the globe, killing most of the Martians and their leader, and causing the few remaining survivors to try to flee. Nathalie and Donald's disembodied heads kiss while the Martian ship they are on crashes into the ocean)
NC (vo): But (sighs) it seems to work. All the Martians are destroyed, Parker and Brosnan go down in one of their ships...oh, no, they were so funny...
(Cedric and Neville throw the Martian that was killed on their bed down their destroyed house)
NC (vo): ...and Jim Brown's kids have to get used to living in a world without their dad.
(Suddenly, someone steps on the Martian's head...and it's Byron, alive and well!)
NC: (astonished) Or not.
NC (vo): Um...wasn't the last time we saw him dead on the ground, covered by Martians that beat the shit out him? Now, he just has two scratches on his arms.
NC: (shrugs) ...Got us?
(Barbara, Cindy, and Tom Jones emerge from a cave they were hiding in with some animals to see dozens of crashed Martian ships in Lake Tahoe)
NC (vo): Whatever. Look, Tom Jones.
("It's Not Unusual" starts playing out of nowhere, and some more animals gather around Tom Jones like he's a Disney Princess)
Tom Jones: Yeah. (The closing credits roll as he starts singing) It's not unusual to...
NC: Mars Attacks! is... just as random as I remember it.
(The movie's clips play once more as NC goes to his closing thought)
NC (vo): It's not like the worst movie or anything. There are a handful of good laughs and nice nods to Martian movies, but it feels like it has no direction. It doesn't work as sci-fi satire 'cause there's not enough variety of jokes. It doesn't work as social commentary because the characters aren't interesting or developed enough. It doesn't even really work as a troll movie. What a funny middle finger that would be to have all these big names in a movie, and all you did was shoot them and do nothing with them at all. But they're obviously trying to work in ironic or fitting ways that they die, trying to give the film meaning, the exact opposite of what a troll movie is supposed to do. I'll say this: it is fascinatingly bad. Lack of focus is usually not a good thing for a film, but for a Tim Burton movie, his lack of focus is always intriguingly strange. It's a boring mess, but it is interesting how and why it's a boring mess. So I guess that makes it interestingly boring? I don't know. It's a strange sum-up, but it's a strange movie as well.
(One of the last scenes in the movie is shown, showing Taffy, the only surviving member of the government, awarding Richie and Florence the Medal of Honor)
Grandma Florence: Thank you, honey. But don't you dare let this happen again.
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.
(He gets up and leaves. The credits roll, followed by the Channel Awesome logo)