Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: Now

Mars Attacks! Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    A stillborn affair that could have been -- and should have been -- a whole lot hipper and funnier. If you've seen the two- minute theatrical trailer, you've seen nearly everything that's worthwhile in the feature.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Mars Attacks! has the look and feel of a schlocky 1950s science-fiction movie, and if it's not as bad as a Wood film, that's not a plus: A movie like this should be a lot better, or a lot worse.

    Read Full Review

  • 83

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    In its nothing's-quite-at-stake way, Mars Attacks! has Tim Burton's flaked-out spirit -- it makes you feel like a very knowing 8-year-old, seeing through the artifice yet believing in it at the same time.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Mars Attacks! reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 12+

Alien-invasion satire for older tweens and up.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know this movie was based on a notorious series of trading cards that were censored for gruesomeness, and director Tim Burton doesn't hold back: abundant cartoony violence includes people being turned into skeletons by a death ray, vivisection (and whimsical re-assembly) of living humans, Martians' brains swelling and bursting, and cruelty to (computer-generated) animals. In addition the filmmakers have added some prostitutes to the blend. There is a subtle anti-authoritarian tone that kids have the smarts to save the world after all the annoying adults are wiped out.

  • Families can talk about the differences between this movie and Independence Day, and ask kids which one they enjoyed more, and why.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Not many good role models here.

What to watch for
  • violence false5

    Violence: A herd of cattle is set on fire (digitally). A Martian death ray turns people into gruesome green skeletons, while other hapless citizens are crushed or impaled. There is a severe finger and a disembodied hand, and captured humans (and one alien-autopsied Martian) are taken apart and reassembled in gruesome ways. Much shooting at the Martians (though seldom very effectively).

  • sex false3

    Sex: The US presidential press secretary (Martin Short) is shown using the prestige of his office to pick up girls (two are prostitutes, one a nasty Martian in disguise). The Martian leader is shown perusing a magazine with a pin-up centerfold and getting some lascivious ideas.

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: A stereotyped white-coated scientist comes complete with a pipe to smoke thoughtfully.