Bust out your Slim Whitman records because the aliens of Mars Attacks! are back. Nine years after the film hit theaters, Warner Home Video is letting us enjoy the absurdity on Blu-ray and now that we're getting alien invasion movie after alien invasion movie, the genre could use some comedic relief. We get a little of every type of humor in this one from political satire down to dark comedy, all of which are undeniably memorable and still hilarious even after multiple viewings.
However, even though Mars Attacks! is certainly a comedy, many of the main characters meet grizzly ends at the hands of the violent invaders. On top of the on screen casualties, Mars Attacks! also faced a painful destruction at the domestic box office. It opened with just $9.4 million and only went on to make $37.8 million in total. Even with the additional $63.6 million it accumulated overseas, there was no overshadowing the heaps of mixed reviews. Mars Attacks! now stands at a rotten 50% on the Tomatoemeter and a weak, but somewhat respectable 52 on Metacritic.
Mars Attacks! may not have emerged victorious in the eyes of the money-hungry studio folk or the critics, but that's not to say the stars headlining the film met the same fate – even if they were annihilated in the film. In fact, Mars Attacks! must have taught the cast and thing or two about survival tactics because just about every member has eluded a beating in their careers at some point since that film hit theaters. Check out the most impressive survivors of Mars Attacks! after the jump.
Both of Nicholson's characters, President James Dale and the Vegas real estate developer Art Land, are downright hilarious, but it's Dale that clearly makes the bigger impact. In fact, it's Dale's grand finale that's one of the most memorable scenes in the entire movie. Nicholson himself is making this list thanks to a certain set of images making the rounds on the Internet. Apparently age means absolutely nothing to Nicholson because at 70-years-old, he's still getting himself into situations you'd expect a young Hollywood star to get into, hanging out on a boat packed with ladies. A gigantic belly ain't got nothing on Nicholson, he's still got game.
Who needs a body when you've got a mug like Brosnan? The aliens steal his body? No big deal! He can still pick up Sarah Jessica Parker's half talk show host, half Chihuahua alien experiment. It would have been way too easy to go with one of James Bond's many moments of survival. Instead, I'm naming Brosnan our survivor of a double dose of intense embarrassment. There's a reason most people get drunk before doing karaoke: they don't want to remember what they sound like. But poor Brosnan, his singing in Mamma Mia! will haunt him for the rest of his life. You know what would be really embarrassing? If Brosnan had to dress up in his Percy Jackson Centaur outfit and sing show tunes. Still, Brosnan is as busy as ever and since Percy Jackson, looking quite good, too.
Sarah Jessica Parker
I doubt Carrie Bradshaw would approve of Natalie Lake's wardrobe choices, let alone her Chihuahua body. I'd like to bet that if Parker was playing herself in Mars Attacks! rather than the empty-headed Natalie, she would have survived the alien invasion and then thought of some way to make a profit off of it. Perhaps a new fragrance? SJP for ET? Apparently it doesn't matter that her last three films were some of the worst reviewed productions recently, she's still pulling in tons of cash and is actually one of the highest-paid actresses out there.
Short's demise in Mars Attacks! is undoubtedly my favorite in the film. First off, the political satire behind his character is spot-on and then seeing him make the move on a fantastically awkward Lisa Marie alien is just priceless. The guy's career has been less than stellar compared to his Mars Attacks! co-stars, but Short still makes this list and not for one, but two things. First, Short is getting the anti-aging honors. It's been quite awhile since I've caught any of Short's screen work, but he has appeared on some late night talks shows and looks as though he hasn't aged a bit. Secondly, Short recently lost his wife of 30 years. Personally, I imagine losing someone close to me would be downright debilitating. While I'm sure Short is still grieving, he also saw the start of a new production, which happened to kick off just yesterday. He voices the Cat in the Hat in PBS Kids' new show The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. Yes, looking young is always a plus, but pushing through tragedy is more noble than anything and makes Short one of the strongest survivors of them all.
Haas may play the film's hero, Richie Norris, the kid who discovers how to take down the invaders, but he's getting the thumbs up for doing the exact opposite in Inception, screwing over the film's hero. Haas had the small role of Nash, the architect that constructs the first dream in the film. As minimal as the part is, Haas manages to make an impact in a number of ways; he's responsible for exemplifying the steps necessary to complete extraction and initiates the primary chain of events at his own expense. Nash may not come out of this one alive – at least that's implied – but he does make quite a dramatic exit in the first dream sequence. After Saito discovers Nash's carpet error, a mob rushes in practically devouring Nash. What seems like a brutal way to go is actually Nash's ticket out of the situation. Too bad he's got no way out of reality.
Natalie Portman & Annette Bening
I know this is cheating, but Mars Attacks! has such a massive cast and I really didn't want to leave some of the main players out, so am opting to bunch these two together. However, it does make sense because their both receiving the same honor, the Oscar buzz honor. Having been nominated for three Oscars, one for Being Julia another for American Beauty and yet another for The Grifters, Bening is more of a consistent performer than a survivor, but still had to push through a number of harshly reviewed productions, the worst of which is easily The Women. Bening doesn't let anything keep her down because since that 2008 failure, she's delivered two fantastic performances, one in Mother and Child and the other in The Kids Are All Right, the latter being the one responsible for her Oscar buzz. Portman may not have sunk as low as The Woman, but certainly suffered through a rough patch of her own beginning with My Blueberry Nights and for some ending with New York, I Love You, for others with Brothers and for some maybe not at all. However, I'd like to bet that'll change because based on the reviews coming out of Telluride for Black Swan, Portman could have that statue with in arm's reach.
Perhaps Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Michael J. Fox and Jim Brown deserve a spot on this list, but I'm giving the last one to the man who gave the Martians a voice or just a word – Ack – Frank Welker. Welker's getting the no-face survival award. When you're stuck behind the faces of animated characters, it's difficult to get recognition for your work, but this is a guy who deserves some notoriety and is apparently getting it from the suits because Welker seems to keep pretty busy. You've probably heard the guy's voice more than you know! Most recently he voice Fred on Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Nibbler on Futurama and did some voice work for Alice in Wonderland, but his resume goes way back to the very first Scooby-Doo cartoon, which began back in 1969. He also voiced Abu in Aladdin. Considering his face is nowhere to be seen, it's easy to overlook Welker's contributions, but the guy is deserving of some major credit for bringing some particularly memorable animated characters to life and continuing to do so today. Welker's next production will be Transformers 3 in which he voices Soundwave. Welker's been part of that franchise since voicing Jaguar in Transformers: Scramble City back in 1986.