Monday, October 12, 2009


In her discussion of science fiction movies in the article Genre Films and the Status Quo, Wright talks about how the aliens are usually posited as good in the beginning, showing up in their frightening machines, and often times partaking in nonviolent communication between a few scientists or politicians. However, the truth is later learned that the aliens are in fact not so peaceful and they try to take over our bodies or assume political control.

The 1996 movie, Mars Attacks! does just this by announcing that they have "come in peace" by way of a translator. However, soon after, the martians begin to kill the people that have gathered around but, despite this act of violence, the President of the United States mistakes this as a cultural misunderstanding and resumes negotiations with the martians but, once again, the martians attack. Then, of course, in the nick of time, the martians' weakness is discovered: Slim Whitman's song "Indian Love Call." Although the movie seems to follow the basic mold that Wright describes, it most certainly is not your typical sci-fi movie, incorporating dark humor and political satire, but then again, you can never expect the usual with Tim Burton.

1 comment:

  1. I happen to have loved this movie -- but it's interested how poorly it was really crippled Burton's career for a while. What seems to have thrown people for a loop was its objectivity -- it functioned as a satire within a satire and so is difficult (even now) to determine where its criticality lie. It happens to be an extraordinarily funny film if you can see humor within the humor, but at a moment's appraisal it could be a little alienating (no pun intended.)