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My Favorite Martian (film): Wikis


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My Favorite Martian
Directed by Donald Petrie
Produced by Jerry Leider
Robert Shapiro
Marc Toberoff
Written by Sherri Stoner
Deanna Oliver
Starring Jeff Daniels
Christopher Lloyd
Daryl Hannah
Elizabeth Hurley
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Thomas E. Ackerman
Editing by Malcolm Campbell
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) February 12, 1999
Running time 93 min.

My Favorite Martian is a 1999 science fiction comedy feature starring Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Daniels, Daryl Hannah, Elizabeth Hurley, Wallace Shawn and Ray Walston, based on the 1960s television series of the same name. It was directed by Donald Petrie and written by John L. Greene, Sherri Stoner and Deanna Oliver.



The film starts on Mars, looking at the near end of an American Mars rover's life and mission. As the rover prepares to sample Martian rock, it "kicks the bucket", the scene ending with mission controllers congratulating themselves on a "successful" mission, the scene panning up to what one believes to be a huge, fictional, never-before-discovered Martian city, a rusty spaceship quickly coming into view and accelerating off into space then.

The story then centers on news producer Tim O'Hara (Jeff Daniels), fired for unwillingly "compromising" his boss' daughter Brace Channing (Elizabeth Hurley) during a live transmission of the first Space Shuttle launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. His tech girl, the shy but lovely Lizzie (Daryl Hannah), tries to comfort him to no avail, and it is revealed that she harbors a secret crush on him.

A while later, Tim witnesses the crashing of a small Martian spacecraft, realizing his one-time chance of delivering a story that will "rock the Earth", when he is confronted by Brace and shows her the ship, just as its only occupant (Christopher Lloyd) hides in the bushes nearby. As Tim takes the now-shrunk spaceship home with him, the Martian follows him to retrieve it, eventually knocking Tim out, plus ending up communicating with Lizzie at home (she misstakes Tim having feelings for her when he gives her a passonite kiss) , disguised as Tim (by copying Tim's naked body). When Tim confronts the Martian once more, he discovers that the "electron accelerator", a small device which powers the control systems of the ship is damaged beyond repair and the Martian seeks Tim's help to find a replacement. Eventually, the Martian, being named "Uncle Martin" by Tim and his wise-cracking, sentient suit ("Zoot", as voiced by an uncredited Wayne Knight), explore the city in which Tim lives, unaware that they are being spied on by a extraterrestrial research agency called SETI, which has since discovered some of the DNA left by Martin during his hideout from Tim, the night his ship crashed. While exploring Tim's neighborhood world, Martin tells him about a friend of his named "Neenert", and Martin also explains that Neenert was one of his planet's most gifted Martian scientists. Martin ends his story, by saying that Neenert first arrived on Earth in 1964. As the story continues, Tim secretly tapes Martin and Zoot with hidden cameras to start up his story and impress the staff at the TV station he worked for, just as Martin and Zoot face a severe problem with the ship, discovering a small system called the Interstellar Safety System preparing Martin's ship for self-destruct, sending him into depression, just as Brace passionately comes to visit Tim and, while he's not looking, acquire the Martian evidence while Tim hides Martin and deals with him. Lizzie shows up at Tim's house at his request, only to find Brace stealing the tape, and, after thinking that Tim cheated on her, Lizzie hits him and storms out of his house; she is distracted by the now normal-sized spaceship and pulled into the cockpit by Zoot. A screenshot of Martin in the bathtub while in his Martian form, is discovered by Brace, which leads to her stealing all the tapes.

Martin and Tim aim to reacquire the Martian evidence, first shrinking Martin's ship (and, unfortunately, Zoot and Lizzie as well), then racing down to the station where Martin ties Brace to a chair in her room, then disguises himself as her while appearing in her place on the news where Martin's alien form is almost exposed, the broadcast watched carefully under the steady eye of Elliot Coleye (Wallace Shawn), head of SETI. Before all that happens, Tim admits to Martin the he has been videotaping him, also admits that he likes Martin and apolagizes. As silly footage from another news report is aired, Tim and Martin escape the station, soon finding themselves travelling through underground pipes, out of a resident's toilet and finally into the hands of Coleye and his research team, who take the duo back to SETI headquarters for investigation. When Tim and Martin are discovered laughing by Coleye and the SETI gang, Coleye shoots a dart in Martin's back with his alien gun, which puts Martin in a deep sleep.

While in prison, Tim manipulates one of the scientists into growing Martin's ship to normal size, breaching security, but allowing Lizzie and Zoot to escape. However, the trio's escape is blocked by security, who are eventually dealt with by Zoot and Lizzie, who with the help of a "nerplex", a piece of alien gum that can transform anyone into another life form, in this case a hideous monster from Veenox 7.

Locating Martin, who is about to undergo surgery, performed by Coleye, which involves removing Martin's antenna after being presumed dead. When Martin and Zoot reunite he comes back to life, and wakes up. The three then completely escape SETI headquarters and prepare to bid farewell Martin, installing a car alternator in place of the damaged electron accelerator, allowing Martin to go home to Mars, but not before being intercepted by Coleye. However, a SETI official named Armitan, who was actually Martin's old friend Neenert (Ray Walston), saves his life by destroying Coleye's gun and, along with Martin, maneuvering him so he's forced to retreat. Armitan then decides to take a peice of Nerplex from his mouth revealing his true Martian form, which includes a third eye at the top of his red head.

Eventually, Coleye consumes the piece of alien gum, left by Neenert before take-off, which turns him into an alien himself, his actions getting him captured by his own organization as Martin and Neenert lift-off into the skies.

At the end of the movie, Martin and Zoot eventually return to Earth with supplies to settle down with Tim and Lizzie, and Neenert flies Martin's spacecraft back to Mars. Tim objects to this, but a passionate expression from Lizzie convinces Tim to change his mind where then proceed to make out. The film finally ends with Zoot in a washing machine, glancing at an issue of Victoria's Secret.


Further information

  • Ray Walston's SETI character's name, Armitan, is an anagram of Martian.
  • Part of the film was filmed in Santa Barbara, California, the pier scenes were filmed in the summer of 1997.
  • This film currently airs on Disney Channel and also as part of the Starz Encore cable channels.
  • At the first crash site, Dr. Coleye mentions the "Martian Incident of 1964". Armitan replies, "Not only is that incident classified, but it never happened!" This refers to the original My Favorite Martian TV show, which debuted in 1963, and Ray Walston playing Uncle Martin.
  • After giving back Uncle Martin's antenae, Armitan/Neenert makes several comments relating to his role as the original Uncle Martin. He first says, "Everything's in black and white," in reference to black and white television. "The commercials are going 'Pop, pop' and 'Fizz, fizz!'" is a reference to the classic Alka-Seltzer commercial. His third line, "That gum lost its flavor in '66," honors the year the original show ended; 1966.
  • In one scene, Daryl Hannah wears an Incredible Hulk t-shirt while talking on the phone to Jeff Daniels. The Incredible Hulk starred the late Bill Bixby, who played Tim O'Hara in the original My Favorite Martian TV series.
  • Elliot Coleye's name, when the first initial and last name is pronounced, is E. Coli.
  • When the car was shrunk in order to fit into the sewage, a 'Mars' bar wrapper was seen when it blocked the car's front view.

Nerplex in the movie is designed to transform life forms like Martin Armitan, but as for humans like Lizzie, the gum changes them into life forms instead. Underneath Armitan's SETI suit, is a green space suit.

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