* AdaptationDisplacement: 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.
* AccidentalInnuendo: Martian "paper" looks suspiciously like condom wrappers.
* AcceptableTargets: Congress. ''InUniverse'', at least one human finds their slaughter at the hands of the Martians hilarious, as did many of the audience members.
* AlternateCharacterInterpretation: Was the translation machine built by the Martians actually effective at translating their messages, making them [[BlatantLies lying liars]], or was it just consistently mistranslating their warnings of impending doominess as messages of peace?
** Also the scene where the translation machine was used to translate the Martian leader's broadcast. [[TranslationTrainWreck The translation made no sense]], so it seems more likely the machine just didn't work. Then again, maybe they were just intentionally saying nonsense [[AliensAreBastards just to screw with the humans]]?
*** Or MAYBE the aliens actually came to Earth with peaceful intentions, but something made them change their decision? The dove comes to mind. Maybe [[EpilepticTrees that was some kind of rude insult in their culture or something.]]
-->'''President:''' He ''did'' say 'we come in peace'.
** Or maybe, unable to ever get the machine's bugs sorted out, the human scientists just played a recording at the landing ceremony to cover their own asses.
** Also the Martian Leader's reaction to the President's big speech. Was he just fucking with him ForTheEvulz, 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.
** The Martian who killed Danny [=DeVito=]'s character, he seems to be contemplating his proposal before he decided "ah screw it, I wanna zap him".
** The Martians may be redneck trailer trash like Ritchie's parents, and a FlyingSaucer is just like a pick-up truck to them.
** Grandma might not be such a space case - she might just have a uniquely mordant sense of humour.
* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: A given seeing how DannyElfman is the composer. Special mentions include:
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrgD7r_atxI "Introduction"]] / [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epel7PyYrU8 "Main Titles"]]
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6VJ8cuIsUU "Landing"]] / [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZimsA7CeWA "First Fire Fight"]]
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kHrmAJESJ0 "Final Address"]], played during President Dale's [[spoiler:unsuccessful]] final attempt to talk some sense into the Martian Emperor.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a66-VyXfbRk "Ritchie's Speech"]], played during, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Ritchie's speech]] and [[spoiler:Byron's triumphant return]].
* FridgeBrilliance: 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.
* FridgeLogic: How come [[spoiler: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.
** Conversely, why CAN'T the Martians breathe on Earth considering Earth's atmosphere is in fact 78% nitrogen?
*** Allergies to the remaining 22% of stuff? Could be some thing as simple as an oxygen allergy?
* SugarWiki/FunnyMoments: ''"They blew up Congress!'' Ahahahahahahaha!" ItMakesSenseInContext.
** It makes sense out of context. It's ''[[AcceptableTargets Congress.]]''
* GeniusBonus: If you know how nuclear fusion works, the FridgeBrilliance above kicks in.
* GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff and possibly PeripheryDemographic: 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.
* HarsherInHindsight: There's a shot of the World Trade Center 15 minutes into the movie. In a blink-and-you-miss-it shot later on, we see the Twin Towers tumbling over like giant dominoes.
* HilariousInHindsight: In the ending we get Natalie Portman [[spoiler: giving the movie's true hero a medal and kissing him]] this was before PhantomMenace but seems like an accidental reference to it.
* MemeticMutation: "Ack ark erk ack ack! Ack! Erk ack ark? Ack!"
* SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome: [[PunctuatedForEmphasis "It's ME! Byron WILLIAMS! HEAVYWEIGHT! CHAMPION! OF THE WORLD!"]]
* MoralEventHorizon: The Martian ambassador was brought into the White House claiming to apologize for his people's misdeeds. What does he do? [[spoiler: Reduce everyone to skeletons.]]
** The Martian Emperor when he turns down his chance for redemption and impales the President in the chest with a flag.
* NightmareFuel: 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 UncannyValley appearance of [[DemBones a skeleton]], their violent '''ACK ACK''' language, and the sheer glee with which they mutilate/disintegrate humans have haunted the dreams of children throughout TheNineties.
* OneSceneWonder: Lisa Marie as the Martian Girl.
* RetroactiveRecognition: Creator/NataliePortman, Creator/JackBlack, and Sarah Jessica Parker (to a lesser extent), were not famous when this movie came out and would only later be recognized, making this all-star cast even more impressive.
** Perhaps subverted with Portman, given she'd already been recognised for her work in TheProfessional, a few years earlier.
* SpecialEffectsFailure: Deliberate or not, a good chunk of the CGI has ''not'' aged well.
** For instance, any time Earth's shown, it looks like a painted rubber ball.
** The robot looks fine while in the flying saucer its housed in. But atrocious when matted in with the live action.
** They daytime shots with the aliens make them look utterly fake, some of their animation also looks stiff.
** The matte paintings in the film are almost cartoonish in nature.
* SpiritualLicensee: ''DestroyAllHumans''
* UglyCute: The small frame, large eyes, and little "ack ack" noises are kind of adorable when you look past their skeletons-with-massive-brains look.
* VindicatedByCable: This movie failed at the box office hard enough to screw Creator/TimBurton out of directing what eventually became ''SupermanReturns''. Only now is it a minor classic.
* VisualEffectsOfAwesome: The saucers are actually very well done for 1996. A couple of the alien scenes (like the ones in the saucers) aren't half bad either.
!!The original cards
* CrowningMomentofAwesome: The Earthlings getting payback on the Martians...[[spoiler:and later when their planet explodes]].
* NightmareFuel: Every atrocity the Martians commit.
!!The film ''and'' the original cards