It’s the Here’s Jack Blogathon 2017!
Thanks to Gill of Realweegiemidget Reviews for hosting this blogathon. You can read all about it (plus loads more Jack reviews) here and whilst I’m doing shout outs I’d also like to say happy birthday to Jack Nicholson himself (as I’m sure he’s reading this), who is – check this out – 80 today. Older than my grandad.
Now on with the review.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
I chose Mars Attacks! to review for a few reasons. The more obvious titles had already been taken. It’s one of only two Tim Burton films that I actually like. And it’s a good one for this blogathon in partic (that abbreviation is supposed to be there) because Jack plays two characters – both the President of the United States and a loud, dodgy dealings kind of cowboy-slash-businessman who likes to hang in Vegas. And he has a prosthetic nose and big teeth for that one.
So basically Mars Attacks! is a comedy sci-fi which tells the story of some vicious little bastard martians who come to earth and want to destroy everything and kill us. They’re pretty evil but they do at least share a good sense of humour (sadly at the expense and painful death of the human race).
And as they start to take over the world, we follow the zillions of characters in the film as they make their individual battles against the tooled up aliens. And all the zillions of characters means that there’s a great, jam packed cast which definitely adds to the overall value of the film. It includes, as well of Jack of course – Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox, Pierce Brosnan, Natalie Portman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jack Black, Annette Benning, Martin Short, Danny DeVito, Christina Applegate, Rod Steiger and TOM JONES which is too great, but…..not unusual. Oh yes I did.
So some facts. Something I (quite bizarrely) only learned tonight whilst reading up stuff about the film for the purpose of this review, is that Mars Attacks! is actually based on a 1962 trading card series of the same name. Wow, never knew that. To keep with the retro feel of the original, Burton really wanted to create the martians using stop motion but due to budget constraints and his usual collaborator being busy with another film he settled on computer animation and I think it works better anyway. Composer Danny Elfman wrote the film’s soundtrack which is not surprising as he has scored lots of Burton’s movies. It’s very effective and stands out a lot, with both a sci-fi and over-the-top comical feel (which reminded me as I re-watched it of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory score – also written by Elfman).
As this review is in honour of Mr Jack Nicholson I should also talk about his roles (plural) in the film somewhat. As mentioned before he plays both the President and a Dodgy Cowboy (I’m not sure how else to describe him). He’s great at both characters, of course. Always so perfect at playing the rebel he probably feels more like the ‘classic crazy Jack’ we all like to think of, when in Cowboy uniform – with the glint in his eye and bourbon in his hand, though he definitely looks more like Jack as the President (and this is the more prominent role of the two).
And so to wrap up I thought I’d share some of my favourite bits of the film. They include – every scene with Michael J. Fox (standard), the bit where the martians hoodwink silly Martin Short into believing he’s about to get lucky, Jack Black’s trailer trash family, Annette Benning acting like a mad hippy and of course, this hilarious press conference question with Mr President himself –
Happy Birthday Jack!