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Interplanet Hollywood

Those pesky aliens just won't leave Earth alone. They're back zapping the planet in 'Mars Attacks'--with Tim Burton's help.

September 29, 1996|Robert W. Welkos

Didn't we just see this movie? Didn't aliens from outer space swarm down from the sky just this summer to attack the Earth, blow up the nation's capital and cause endless headaches for the president? It was called "Independence Day," and the 20th Century Fox film has amassed nearly $300 million at the box office.

The next planet-wide pandemonium is set to begin Dec. 13, when Warner Bros. releases director Tim Burton's sci-fi comedy "Mars Attacks." (Burton made the film for a reported $70 million, opting for computer-generated aliens rather than stop-motion animation to save time.)

What does this movie have that "Independence Day" didn't? To begin with, an A-list cast, headed by Jack Nicholson, who plays two roles: President Dale, who continually bungles overtures to the Martians, and a slick Las Vegas real estate hustler named Art Land. Then there is the story itself, based on the Topps bubble-gum trading cards of the 1960s. Finally, there's the quirky vision of Burton, who has had an eclectic career with the intensely dark "Batman," the quirky "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and the offbeat "Ed Wood."

Will "Mars Attacks" be a hit? Hollywood observers think it will if the movie delivers as promised and audiences don't think they saw all this once before--only last summer.

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