‘John Carter’ And Our Other Favorite Movie Martians

by Ryan Rigley

This weekend marks the release of Disney’s newest blockbuster, “John Carter,” an adaptation of the popular sci-fi novels first published in 1912 and featuring a hero of the same name. Largely based on the novel “A Princess of Mars” in which John Carter makes his first appearance, Disney’s “John Carter” tells the story of a Civil War veteran that is brought to Mars and imprisoned by the 12 foot tall, savage-like Martians that inhabit the planet. Eventually, John Carter makes his escape and is subsequently put to the task of rescuing the Princess of Helium, Dejah Thoris.

It’s a tale as old as time, being equal parts romance and action/adventure movie. However, that’s not the reason we’re looking forward to it. Sure, Taylor Kitsch plays quite the hunky John Carter. But it’s the 12 foot tall Martians and handful of other deadly space beings that’s got us really excited!

Tars Tarkas, played by Willem Dafoe, is the leader of the Martian warriors known as the Tharks. Their huge stature and green complexion reflect a very basic idea of what the majority of people think Martians would look like. There have been many movies that take place on the Red Planet throughout the years, each featuring their own individual interpretations of Martians. Here’s a list of some of our favorites!

» 5. “War of the Worlds” (1953)
Who could forget this classic movie adaptation of the H.G. Wells sci-fi staple? Although these Martians spend most of the movie flying around in their croissant shaped hovercrafts, we do in fact get a really clear view of them towards the end. Having really long arms and three lights for a face, the Martians in this movie bear a striking resemblance to the love child of E.T. and one of those Simon electronic memory-based games.

» 4. “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (1964)
The only reason this movie is even slightly popular is because of its appearance in the cult TV series “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” in which Joel Robinson and two robots are forced to watch horrible movies by an evil scientist. “Santa Claus Conquerors the Martians” is indeed a very horrible movie, only made bareable by the hilarious commentary of Joel and the robots. In the film, the Martians are depicted as normal human beings wearing green jumpsuits and helmets with unnecessary tubes coming out of them. It’s laughably bad.

» 3. “Ghosts of Mars” (2001)
John Carpenter’s flop of a film, starring Ice Cube and Jason Statham, portrays Martians in a completely different way. Taking place 200 years in the future, a Martian police squad is given the order to retrieve a highly dangerous prisoner from a remote mining town on Mars. But they end up getting more than they bargained for when the ghosts of Martians past begin possessing them, driving the team to brutally murder each other. That’s right. The Martians in this movie are ghosts. Spooky, pale-faced ghosts with razor sharp teeth and lots of piercings to be precise.

» 2. “My Favorite Martian” (1999)
Based on the 60’s television show of the same name, “My Favorite Martian” is about a Martian who crash lands on Earth and befriends a News Producer, Jeff Daniels, and the object of his affections, Elizabeth Hurley. The Martian in this movie is Christopher Lloyd with a pair of TV antennae coming out of his head. Also, he has a really long, purple, tentacle-like tongue. How amazing would it be if you went to Mars and found an entire colony of Christopher Lloyds?

» 1. “Mars Attacks!” (1996)
This is what a Martian should look like. Tim Burton’s sci-fi/comedy masterpiece is actually inspired by a trading cards series first released in 1962. The trading cards, illustrated by Wallace Wood, depict the different stages of a full-scale Earth invasion by the hideous, cruel-natured Martians. Their huge external brains and skull shaped faces are the perfect reflection of the merciless brutality with which these Martians seize hold of our planet. In the film, they are even given their own language consisting mainly of loud, high-pitched shouts. Which is a huge plus considering that half of the Martians on this list are able to speak English for some reason.

List your favorite movie martians in the comments and on Twitter!