Mars Attacks sported an impressive cast with Jack Nicholson, Glenn Close, Pierce Brosnan, Danny DeVito, Martin Short, and a bevy of yet-to-be stars at the time all facing off against a group of Martians in Tim Burton’s ode to B-movie alien invasion film.
Launched the same year as the far less intentionally cheesy Independence Day, Mars Attacks failed to generate anywhere near the same amount of money as its peer, and its legacy is far less perceivable today, but the camptastic film still gave fans several memorable lines that have improved with age and which deserve repeating.
“Ack! Ack! Ack!” – Martians
Probably the goofiest part of Mars Attacks is that this highly advanced race of aliens has a language that consists solely of one syllable (word?) shouted at different volumes and inflections. Still, it makes for a great quote.
“I want the people to know that they still have two out of three branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad.” – President Dale
Jack Nicholson played President Dale as slightly exasperated and a bit stupid. In hindsight, he may not have been the best man for the job, but he certainly was fun to watch.
“Don’t run! We are your friends!” – Martian Translation Device
Whether the Martians were just habitual liars, or Earth science hadn’t quite cracked the code, it was clear that whatever was coming out of that translator wasn’t the whole truth.
“Why can’t we work out our differences? Why can’t we work things out? Little people, why can’t we all just get along?” – President Dale
It’s a seemingly impassioned speech that almost seems to be working on the Martian invaders, until things decidedly break bad for the president. Kudos to Jack for his convincing performance beside some pretty decent mid-’90s CGI. You really believe a severed arm is racing up the man, thus proving that they don’t give Academy Awards purely for showing up.
“We know they’re extremely advanced technologically, which suggests — very rightfully so — that they’re peaceful. An advanced civilization, by definition, is not barbaric.” – Professor Kessler
We all know what they say about assumptions, and it’s safe to say that Kessler made a really bad one. An advanced civilization is not barbaric, indeed.
“I’m not a crook, I’m ambitious. There’s a difference.” – Art Land
In addition to playing President Dale, Nicholson played Art Land, a sleazy Las Vegas developer. It’s only fitting that Land was one of the many humans killed in the Martian invasion, but at least he didn’t get a flag in his chest.
“They blew up Congress! Ha ha ha ha!” – Florence Norris
Grandma Norris is maybe the best character, if only for the moments like this.
“Kick the crap out of ’em.” – Marcia Dale
This is really the only way for a First Lady to respond to a Martian invasion.
“I was thinking maybe instead of building houses, we could live in tepees because it’s better in a lot of ways” – Richie Norris
If you just saved the world, you could probably make a decision or two about how to rebuild it. Still, Richie might be trying to do a little too much here.
“I’ll tell you one thing, they ain’t gettin’ the TV.” – Sue Ann Norris
It’s sad to say, but this sentiment probably wouldn’t be that uncommon in the event of an actual alien invasion.
“We come in peace! We come in peace!” – Martian Translation Device
Again with the lies. The martians kinda made it hard to root for them with all the dishonesty and murder.
“Wow, he just made the international sign of the doughnut.” – Richie Norris
Dear, sweet, stupid Richie.
“Die, you alien sh*thead!” – Billie Glenn Norris
Before Tenacious D ever gained the popularity they have now, Jack Black was playing small parts in all kinds of movies. Getting disintegrated by a Martian has definitely got to be high up on his favorites list.
“I want to thank my grandma for always being so good to me, and for helping save the world and everything.” – Richie Norris
If Richie wasn’t already Grandma’s favorite before, he certainly would be after mentioning her in his speech.
“Maybe they don’t like the human being.” – Woman
Sometimes the simplest answer is the best, and this may just be the only real reason that the Martians invaded Earth.
“When I’m calling you…” – Slim Whitman
Never forget the power of the “Indian Love Call.”
“It’s not unusual”
Never forget that all of the Earth’s creatures have an indomitable spirit that is made even stronger by the music of Tom Jones.