Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Independence Day VS Mars Attacks

                                                                 TALE OF THE TAPE

               Title: Independence Day                                             Title: Mars Attacks
               Tomato Meter: 60%                                                    Tomato Meter: 51%
                IMDB Rating: 6.6                                                        IMDB Rating: 6.3
               Starring: Will Smith, Bill Pullman                                Starring: Jack Nicholson, Pierce Bronson
               Director: Roland Emmerich                                        Director: Tim Burton
               Box Office: $306 million                                              Box Office: $37.7 million
               Academy: 1 win, 1 nomination                                    Academy: n/a
               Year: 1996                                                                   Year: 1996

In 1996, the Earth is invaded by beings from outer space, twice. But which alien race was the more memorable? We find out in this edition of Showdown.

Camp is the word of the day when it comes to Mars Attacks. Tim Burton directs this sci-fi spoof based on an old trading card collection is absolutely hilarious. Special effects are big budget CGI visuals painstakingly recreated to look like cheap, absurd props. Mars Attacks hosts as many stars as the Milky Way Galaxy itself, including a dual role by Jack Nicholson. Other stars include Glenn Close, Pierce Bronson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael J. Fox, Christina Applegate, Natalie Portman, Danny DeVito, Pam Grier, Martin Short, Jack Black and Tom Jones. The martians are as adorable as they are hideous, and seem to have a quirky sense of humor. Their dialogue is essentially "ack, ack, ack-a-ack." This Earth vs The Flying saucers moitff is pure spoof. Critics have come down hard on this film, but they seem to judge it for something it's not. Those familiar with the trading cards will tell you they literally leap from the cards onto the silver screen. And Tim spoofs everything from government, patriotism, sci-fi, and capitalism, to greed, religion and television. In the end, the seemingly indestructable aliens are brought down by the music of Slim Pickens,.

Independence Day offers a more serious look at an alien invasion. It too boasts a large roster of stars, such as Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Randy Quaid, Vivica A. Fox, Adam Baldwin, and Brent Spiner. Where Mars Attacks goes for laughs, ID4 goes for thrills. Big Budget effects allowed us to see city after city devastated. Audiences took a private sense of joy seeing the White House get blown to splinters. The film does a good job of pulling these various characters from different locations together in one place. There's just enough comedy to break the tension, and plenty of balls to the wall action to keep you riveted. Will Smith makes a transition from straight comedy to action. In the end, the aliens are brought down by a computer virus that compromises their shields. A more modern day version of what brought the aliens down in the classic War of the Worlds.

Both films are excellent from start to finish. Both have some quotable lines, and have a high rate of re-watchability. Going into the ring both films come out swinging, looking for the early K.O. ID4 , taking itself too seriously, gets frustrated at Mars Attacks unorthodox style, resulting in ID4 kissing the canvas in the mid rounds. However, the fans are clearly behind ID4 despite Mars' colorful performance, spurring ID4 on, and ID4 scores the KO in round 9.

Winner: Independence Day

1 comment:

  1. Once again, I agree. It's hard to imagine a time when folks would cheer to see the White House blown up but that's where we were in 1996 - Bill Clinton had sullied the presidency's image to that great of a degree! I, myself, remember quite clearly the entire audience of a packed theater erupting into spontaneous applause and shouts of joy at the scene. How odd, looking back on it post 9/11 when it could have actually been a reality...