Mars Attacks! is a somewhat enjoyable exercise, though it’s also lacking in terms of narrative direction and pulse. The various storylines that Burton employs are so unrelated that it serves to diverge from any momentum the film develops. The film has sequences involving the President (Jack Nicolson) and his cabinet, a mother (Pam Grier) and her children, a hippie woman (Annette Benning) and her entrepreneur boyfriend (Nicholson, again), and a cast of Las Vegas stars that include Tom Jones. There’s more, and quite frankly, it’s a bit too much. It’s too bloated, too self-aware of its large star presence that it makes it difficult to really embrace the film, even as a sort of guilty pleasure.
Nonetheless, I did find enjoyable moments throughout the film. They’re peppered in there – from Pierce Bronson’s annoyingly hilarious scientist character to Jim Brown in hand-to hand combat with the aliens. But nothing about the film really sticks out, with the sole exception of the phrase “ack ack ack”.