Mars Attacks! is based upon a series of Topps trading cards released in the early 1960s. And it certainly pays homage to its inspiration.
Unfortunately, its also a narrative mess that fails to get the most out of its stacked cast. Mars Attacks! features an all-star lineup. It's got Jack Nicholson in two roles, Jim Brown, Joe Don Baker, Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Pierce Brosnan, just to name a few.
And, yes, their presence is felt, but outside of Nicholson, who's terrific as a Las Vegas Huckster and the President, they all have nothing to do.
That is the great failing of Mars Attacks! It wants to do a lot without really doing anything at all. It's all just empty spectacle—little green CGI men conquering a hapless earth.
Hence why it received middling to negative reviews—56% on Rotten Tomatoes with 86 of them—and was beheaded like an annoying chihuahua at the box office. On a budget of $100 million, Mars Attacks! raked in just north of $101 million worldwide.
The losses on that are enough to make a financier's head explode like a martian listening to Slim Whitman.