From Airlock Alpha: "Astrojive: No More Stupid Aliens" Great article from Richard Byers
Posted 30 January 2012 - 12:00 PM
Full article from Airlock Alpha here.
One of my favorite points is the first, about aliens coming to our planet to get resources that are more abundant elsewhere in the solar system; such as water. Water ice is ALL OVER the Kuiper belt (the halo of comets and cometary fragments that surrounds the outer solar system). One would think snagging one of those beauties would be a lot more cost effective than stealing (largely polluted, heavily salinated, non-potable) water from the earth. Or the extraterrestrial simpletons who invade the Old West in "Cowboys and Aliens" for .... (wait for it)... gold. No kidding; they master interstellar travel, but not the fusion technology that would fuse and change molecules of other minerals into gold?!? And apparently they haven't mastered the automotive technology of the catalytic convertor yet either, as they're vehicles burned thick, smoky trails in their wakes as they flew. What, do their spacecraft burn fossil fuels?!?
Or like the sublimely stupid aliens who invade Earth in "Signs" (2002). They are ALLERGIC TO WATER!! Seriously, they're allergic to water (it burns them like battery acid), and yet they invade a planet that is 70% covered in the stuff?? Not to mention all the water vapor in the atmosphere?!!? And, as much as I enjoyed "Independence Day" (it's a fun, rousing popcorn movie) the idea of aliens being defeated by an uploaded Mac virus is just.... well, enjoy the article.
Even though Mars Attacks was NOT Tim Burton's best, at least the aliens simply came here to frak with us. That kind of made sense...
Posted 30 January 2012 - 03:26 PM
It's a decent time waster but it really has no story; let alone good characters. All the characters are just one-off jokes. It's kind of like "S**t Happens: The Movie."
I used to love Tim Burton's early work ("Batman" "Ed Wood" "Beetlejuice" and "Edward Scissorhands"), but it seems like he kind of lost his way in the late '90s and still hasn't quite found his way back (although "Big Fish" was much closer to the Tim Burton of old, IMO).
I prefer the alien invasion movies where they just need our planet. That makes sense if they breathe our type of air, etc. or need our planet's orbital proximity to the sun, etc. But when they just need ONE thing, like water, gold, etc. it gets kind of stupid really. There's plenty of these things on other planets or you could manufacture them through advanced fusion technology (which you'd kind of need to master before traveling interstellar distances. Interstellar space travel without some form of fusion or high-end nuclear technology is a bit like writing a book without knowing how to read). Those kinds of stories are best enjoyed on a visceral, non-intellectual level...
Posted 31 January 2012 - 05:46 PM
...That's exactly the point. It's a cheesy parody.
I got the parody thing (I can even name the films they were parodying, not to mention the Topps trading card series the movies' based on), but like dave, I just didn't that many real laughs out of it. For example, Jack Nicholson's various guises and roles, including the President (ala Peter Sellers in Dr Strangelove)? He didn't make any one of those characterizations particularly memorable or truly funny, he just mugged a lot (unlike Sellers' Strangelove, President and others). Maybe if the whole thing had been played with a straighter face (like Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen in "Airplane!"), instead of everyone running around in over-the-top mode it might've worked better for me personally. Another good example of that kind of movie is "Amazon Women on the Moon"; a straight-faced but hysterically spot-on parody of late-night TV. "Mars Attacks" definitely had moments here and there, but it seemed like opportunities for sharper humor and more memorable characters were just dead ended with a lot of bright special effects and overacting. A wonderful souffle that fell flat in the oven; that was my feeling on "MA."
But hey; enjoy it or not? Diversity of opinion is what makes GBBS fun....