In 1963, a sitcom called, “My Favorite Martian” starring Bill Bixby & Ray Walston (Mr. Hand from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) aired on CBS. The Premise centers around a reporter named, Tim who discovers a crashed spaceship. He rescues a Martian and becomes friends with him. As they repair the ship, the Martian dubs himself “Uncle Martin” in order to keep his alien life a secret. My Favorite Martian became a hit for its High Concept using the “fish-out-of-water” to keep the show running from 1963-1966. Thirty-Six Years Later Disney produced a film adaptation starring Christopher Lloyd and Jeff Daniels as Martin and Tim.
Released in 1999. (same year The Mummy came out) It received negative reviews from critics and failed to make a profit at the box office. There are two reasons why I wanna share my thoughts on My Favorite Martian. First, Disney turns 100 and I’ll be watching and reviewing Disney’s filmography from past to present. Second, the live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid” will be released on May 26, 2023. I think it’s gonna sink.
It doesn’t matter if SPOILERS are listed. This movie is a stinker.
High & Low Qualities
High: Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Wallace Shawn, Elizabeth Hurley, Daryl Hannah & Wayne “Hello Newman” Knight all did a solid job for their respective performances.
Is it me or does Tim’s boss resembles the late Roger Ebert? Looks like the same guy who appeared in “Blank Check.”
The theme song from “2001: A Space Odyssey” is played in the background while Martin enlarges the car inside a toilet. Coincidentally, Stanley Kubrick’s final film, “Eyes Wide Shut” came out five months after My Favorite Martian was released.
A fart scene with Zoot made me laugh.
One joke that made me laugh is Zoot’s quip to a security guard. “Aren’t you one of the Spice Girls?”
Say what you will about Zoot, he stole the movie.
Lizzie wears a Hulk t-shirt. A subtle Easter Egg, because Bill Bixby starred in “The Incredible Hulk” as David Banner. If Mr. Bixby were alive today, he would’ve made a cameo in the movie.
Martin’s alien form is made of animatronics. We also get a legit shapeshifting scene with Martin becoming human. He also retains his powers and antennas from the show.
Ray Walston (the original Martin) appears as a secret agent. It’s revealed he’s also a Martian stuck on Earth for many years.
Low: Martin acts like an idiot not to keep a low profile. He uses his powers to eat all the ice cream while witnesses are present. Jason Bourne would never do something dumb while going incognito.
Computer Animation doesn’t hold up for a movie that came out in 1999. Let’s face it, this was back when C.G.I. was slowly evolving after “Jurassic Park” changed special effects forever.
Brace’s scene with Tim investigating the ship’s crash site felt forced. All she does is nag for no apparent reason and tosses a cigarette on the ground. Martin puts the cigarette in his mouth and spits it out. Moments Later, Wallace Shawn’s character shows up at the crash site and obtains the same cigarette which contains Brace and Martin’s saliva. In the words of Deadpool. “Well, that’s just lazy writing.” The female characters joining forces to fight Thanos’ army in “Avengers: Endgame” is more subtle!
After Tim grabs the evidence of Martin in alien form, why didn’t the latter escape the news station while disguised as Brace? Ethan Hunt from the “Mission Impossible” movies never wasted his time doing somebody else’s job. He gets his assignment done.
Martin kisses Tim’s neighbor in the mouth while covered in toilet water in order to get his miniaturized ship back YUCK! He could’ve told her that ship belongs to Tim as a rare collector’s item.
A stupid moment with Tim filming Martin (in alien form) relaxing in a hot tub. Tim’s neighbor shows up. He tells her he’s watching his uncle in the tub. Nobody says something like that in real life!
Lizzie uses Martin’s dangerous gum to turn into a monster to fight off a security guard. She eats him alive. Seconds Later, she turns back to normal ignoring the fact she ate a human. To quote Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka. “That is called, cannibalism my dear children and is in fact, frowned upon in most socialites.”
When Martin disguises himself as Tim, there’s a butt shot. EW!
There’s no explanation why Martin’s dying. Zoot somehow restores his vitals when he attaches himself to Martin. Makes zero sense.
The Final Verdict: D-
My Favorite Martian is one of the worst movies of 1999. Not even Wayne Knight as Zoot couldn’t save it. As a kid I used to like it. Now that I’m older, it has flaws listed above. If you wanna watch a really good movie about Mars, give Matt Damon’s “The Martian” a try.
One thought on “Flashback Review: My Favorite Martian (Disney’s Flops Vol. 1 #14)”
I admire the perks of this movie, such as the Spice Girls reference.