Mars Attacks!

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -1

Imagine the alien invaders of INDEPENDENCE DAY as deadly practical jokers and you get some idea of the tone of MARS ATTACKS!, a wildly comedic sci-fi thriller with a 1950s flavor. An immense fleet of silver flying saucers approaches Earth, with one spacecraft touching down in the Arizona desert where a welcoming committee awaits. Some bug-eyed, big-brained creatures emerge, including an elaborately garbed Martian ambassador. His strange language is translated We come in peace, but soon these E.T.s pull out their ray guns and start blasting away. Later the Martians dispatch another message saying it was all a misunderstanding, and U.S. President James Dale (Jack Nicholson) invites the ambassador to address Congress. The results are just as destructive, however, and when all of the legislators are vaporized the world is sent into a state of panic. In typical disaster movie fashion, MARS ATTACKS! features an all-star cast at various locations as the alien invasion continues. The Martian creatures are entirely computer-generated, and effects are quite impressive and convincing. Some very funny moments and performances are sprinkled throughout the film and should draw audiences, although the pace of the exaggerated humor often lags.

When hit by a beam from an alien ray gun, the victims' flesh and organs disintegrate, leaving nothing but the skeleton. One character is miniaturized and crushed under a Martian's foot, while another has his finger bitten off by an alien disguised as a voluptuous woman. Many are killed by more conventional means, including explosions and falling objects. Several Martians meet their demise, often when their huge brains burst, spilling out a lot of green goo. Foul language is not overwhelming, but there are over a dozen crude words and several obscenities. One unnecessary comic bedroom scene suggests that a couple is having sex as interested Martians observe, although there is no nudity. Like the rest of the movie, the violence is not meant to be taken seriously, but younger viewers in particular will have a hard time separating farce from reality.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (14) times - Mild 10, Moderate 4

Obscene Language: Several times - S-word 3, other 2)

Profanity: Several (5) times - Regular 1 (J/C), Exclamatory 4

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (cows on fire, humans disintegrated, explosions, woman bites off man's finger, man hit over head, woman crushed by falling chandelier, miniaturized man crushed, aliens shot, aliens' heads explode)

Sex: Once (couple in bed, no nudity)

Nudity: None; Near Nudity - few times (low-cut outfits, halter top, woman in underwear)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - passionate kiss; man approaches prostitutes

Drugs: Smoking, alcohol drinking

Other: Woman practices New Age religion

Running Time: 101 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Adults

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