Mars Attacks!

USA 1996. Dir: Tim Burton. 106 min. Blu-ray Disc

Alas, Sci-Fi Cinema Sunday must end to make way for 2017’s new, still-under-wraps Cinema Sunday theme. But not before we take some affectionate potshots at the genre with Mars Attacks!, Tim Burton’s giddy, goofy, madcap spoof on science fiction’s B-movie pedigree and appetite for mass destruction. When ping-pong-eyeballed Martians — rendered in stop-motion-inspired CG — descend on Earth, all attempts at peaceful overtures are met with “Ack Ack!” and schlocky ray-gun carnage. Good thing a grandma/grandson duo luck upon a (seriously) mind-blowing secret weapon: Slim Whitman's 1952 rendition of "Indian Love Call”!? Based on the Topps trading cards from the early ’60s, and featuring a stacked ensemble cast happy to ham it up (Jack Nicholson as POTUS, Glenn Close as First Lady, Tom Jones as Tom Jones), this is Hollywood popcorn fare at its wonkiest. “I’m not sure what it all means, but, as in Ed Wood, Burton’s visual flair and affection for the characters make it fun” (Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader).


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Cinema Sunday films are introduced by Vancouver film history teacher, critic, and intergalactic space pirate Michael van den Bos. In-theatre giveaways courtesy of Cinema Sunday community sponsors Videomatica SalesGolden Age Collectables, and Kidsbooks.