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The Film

  • Adaptation Displacement: The trading card series from the 60's and the comic series from the 90's are known well among pop-culture geekdom but most people recognize these aliens from this movie.
  • Accidental Innuendo: Martian "paper" looks suspiciously like condom wrappers.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Was the translation machine built by the Martians actually effective at translating their messages, making them lying liars, or was it just consistently mistranslating their warnings of impending doominess as messages of peace? Granted, the language in question consisted of only one syllable.

 President: He did say 'we come in peace'.

    • Also the Martian Leader's reaction to the President's big speech. Was he just fucking with him For the Evulz, or did he genuinely gain a bit of respect for the president in that scene. Notice how the martians aren't overtly sadistic or mean after the speech. Maybe they gave him the closest thing to a noble death they could comprehend.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: A given seeing how Danny Elfman is the composer. Special mentions include:
  • Fridge Logic: How come Donald Kessler and Nathalie Lake's heads can breathe if it's been established the Martians breathe nitrogen? Why are they alive at all?
    • Martian science.
  • Fridge Brilliance: When nuclear weapons are used against the the Martians they capture the explosive force of the nuke, and smoke it! They actually get high on radioactive explosives. Fridge Brilliance kicks in when you realize that a hydrogen bomb really does produce helium as a by-product of nuclear fusion.
  • Genius Bonus: If you know how nuclear fusion works, the Fridge Brilliance above kicks in.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff and possibly Periphery Demographic: released the same summer as Independence Day, Mars Attacks! flopped in theatres in the US. It did much better business in Europe and has since become a regular favourite on satellite movie channels.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: There's a shot of the World Trade Center 15 minutes into the movie. Yeah... Interestingly, it's one of the few monuments not seen destroyed.
    • Actually, in a blink-and-you-miss-it shot later on, we see the Twin Towers tumbling over like giant dominoes. Harsher in Hindsight, indeed.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Ack ark erk ack ack! Ack! Erk ack ark? Ack!"
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Martian ambassador was brought into the White House claiming to apologize for his people's misdeeds. What does he do? Reduce everyone to skeletons. Also, the Martian Leader when he kills the president after rejecting redemption.
  • Nightmare Fuel: While the movie is a comedy (albeit a black one), any online discussion of this movie will inevitably devolve into a rundown of just how many kids had nightmares of the Martians hiding in their closets or outside their windows. Their Uncanny Valley appearance of a skeleton, their violent ACK ACK language, and the sheer glee with which they mutilate/disintegrate humans have haunted the dreams of children throughout The Nineties.
  • Spiritual Licensee: Destroy All Humans!
  • Funny Moments: "They blew up Congress! Ahahahahahahaha!" It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Moment of Awesome: "It's ME! Byron WILLIAMS! HEAVYWEIGHT! CHAMPION! OF THE WORLD!"
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Considering that Billy wasn't exactly a match for the Martians, could you really fault him for surrendering? Sometimes it's better to surrender than to fight a battle that's seemingly impossible to win.
  • Vindicated by Cable: This movie failed at the box office hard enough to screw Tim Burton out of directing what eventually became Superman Returns. Only now is it a minor classic.

The original cards

The film and the original cards

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