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It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Movie

Reader Review

Mars Needs Women

Posted by: Jules
Date Submitted: Tuesday, February 22, 2000 at 22:13:28
Date Posted: Monday, May 1, 2000 at 10:37:37

Take a deadly dull, former Disney child star (Tommy Kirk), some of the best bad lines ever heard in a D-grade sci-fi classic from the sixties, a hefty dose of sexism, and an hour of stock footage, and you, too, can make a movie like "Mars Needs Women"!

The movie begins with three women disappearing in different parts of Houston. These disappearances are so devastating to the panicky residents of Houston (and so obviously related) that the military is called in. The head military guy, "Commander Bob," not only graduated from the William Shatner School of Acting, but he rose to become president of the university. Every single line he utters is either patently absurd, or delivered so intensely or haltingly that he makes my mouth gape in disbelief. When he isn't speaking, he stares around intently as if thinking to himself, "What is that smell?"

Even worse, Commander Bob has an assistant (whom we dubbed Lieutenant Wooden) who must have been an innocent bystander on the set before he was forced into service as an actor. He stares off into space and mumbles his lines as quickly as he possibly can before bolting away. The guy who does the "Clear Eyes" eye drop commercials puts more emotion into his lines. Commander Bob and Lieutenant Wooden complement each other perfectly.

Commander Bob and Lieutenant Wooden are the first to hear a top-secret message being transmitted from Mars to Houston: "MARS NEEDS WOMEN." They look puzzled (that is, Commander Bob looks flabbergasted, and Lieutenant Wooden stares at dust motes). Luckily, five Martians, led by Tommy Kirk as "Dop," arrive moments later to explain. You see, they say, Mars needs women. It seems they don't have enough of them. There was a half-hearted attempt made at providing some kind of genetic problem in the Martians that caused them to have a male to female ratio of 100 to 1, but this was apparently forgotten ten minutes later. Dop politely asks Commander Bob if the Martians can get five female volunteers from Earth to help repopulate the entire planet of Mars. Commander Bob is incensed and declares war on Mars. So the Martians ditch the volunteer idea and start kidnapping women instead.

And so they spend the rest of the movie kidnapping nameless women. The Martians, in their quest for pretty, fertile, single, young women, go to strip clubs, airports, movie theaters, and football games. Each one picks out a woman and follows her around endlessly before finally deciding to hypnotize and kidnap her. This makes up the bulk of the movie. The director evidently didn't feel like bothering with things like character development, so instead the movie lingers over cheering football fans, people riding on escalators, and one interminably looped scene of an exotic dancer.

Meanwhile, Dop ends up at a press conference being given by a woman named Dr. Marjorie, who naturally turns out to be pretty, fertile, single, and young. A sign outside the conference describes Dr. Marjorie as an expert on "Space Genetics" and "sex in space." Dop impersonates a reporter and asks her a few questions. Supposedly, Dr. Marjorie is enchanted by Dop's insipid, monotonous conversation immediately. But, given the extremely repugnant and sexist nature of the questions asked by every other reporter in the room, all Dop needed to do was say "Hi" without an accompanying wolf-whistle to make a decent impression.

Dop and Dr. Marjorie spend a few hours wandering around Houston falling in love. Since Dr. Marjorie thinks Dop is from Seattle, she shows him all the sights: the museum and the planetarium. And because women in D-grade sci-fi classics from the sixties are *never* into that whole science thing on their own, Dr. Marjorie shows Dop a giant display set up in honor of her father. It seems he was a famous geneticist, and she is carrying on with his work like a good daughter.

For a reason that escapes me at the moment, Dop confesses to Dr. Marjorie that he is Martian rather than Seattleite and asks her to come back with him to Mars. You'd think his reason would be that he hopes she can fix the genetic defect in the Martians, but he seems to have forgotten about it completely. They head back to the abandoned warehouse where the Martians stashed the ship, and they find that Commander Bob and Lieutenant Wooden have tracked down the Martians and are going to attack and reclaim all those Houston women.

Again, for reasons that were inconsequential enough that I didn't notice them, Dr. Marjorie decides to stay on earth, Dop ends up under arrest by the #2 Martian, who drags him back to Mars, and they ditch all the women they flew 40 million miles to kidnap. Just as the Martian hubcap flies off, Commander Bob runs up to Dr. Marjorie and vehemently shouts at her, "What were they like? Can't you tell us anything?" She looks like she might be about to answer, but the ending credits mercifully cut her off.

Rating: 3.5 turkeys but definitely a group activity.

Scene to watch for: Dop and Dr. Marjorie fall in love at the planetarium. If you thought Japanese monster movie children were obnoxious, plug your ears before your head explodes from the noise of thirty screaming children running around while adults look on with complacent, satisfied smiles.

Best lines: Every scrap of dialogue in this movie is either inane, ridiculous, or baffling. I couldn't help but write down some of my favorites:

Two men discuss security: "I have the lid on tight." / "Well, take it off for me."

A drunk fisherman comments on the streak of light made by the Martian's spaceship landing: "She'd say that red flare was a pink elephant."

A news broadcaster at Dr. Marjorie's press conference describes the scene: "She found it hard to hide her charm behind horn-rimmed spectacles."

Dr. Marjorie's expert opinion on Martians: "It's very presumptuous of us to think Martians are any different than we are."

Dr. Marjorie, on flirtation: "When was the last time you took a pretty girl for a walk? I mean a pretty girl with a Ph.D."

An announcer at a college football game introduces the Homecoming Queen (who will later be kidnapped): "Brenda Nolan, a really popular girl on campus." Later, the Homecoming Queen is described as the "perfect woman"; after all, she has perfect deportment, a perfect personality, and perfect health.

A Martian, on the stewardess he is following around an airport: "Are you sure she's single?" "As sure as the airline that hired her."

Dop says goodbye to Dr. Marjorie: "Whatever love is, I know it must be what I feel for you."

Things that make you go "Huh?": Didn't the Martians know you need more than five women to repopulate a planet? And why were they certain Earthlings and Martians could interbreed, anyway? And why was it so important that the women be single? And how come they thought the genetic defect wouldn't be passed from the Martian fathers to their children? And why the heck were they wearing wetsuits?

Response From RinkWorks:

"Commander Bob"! LOL!

And the "Clear Eyes" guy is Ben Stein -- more famous for his role in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."

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