ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

Mars Attacks! (1996)
CAP Score: 46
CAP ID: 1.09

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

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Mars Attacks! (1996) CAP Thermometers Mars Attacks! was indeed a clever work in computer animation but was filled with unacceptable material. Wanton Violence/Crime (W) lost all of its starting 100 points due to many graphic incinerations of humans, a herd of cows stampeding while aflame, a graphic stabbing death, and other examples of material not suitable for younger audiences. Impunity/Hate(1) (I) lost almost all of its starting points due to flippant use of the three/four letter word vocabulary, foul talk by an adolescent to his mother, adolescent uppitiness, and parental belittlement of children. Sex/Homosexuality (S) lost all of its 100 points due to sensual dress, a heterosexual couple in bed partially covered and in the act, gamming of drumsticks (showing off of upper legs while sitting) While Drugs/Alcohol (D) only presented two instances of readily noticable drinking of ostensibly alcoholoic beverage, Offense to God(2) (O) presented instances of mystic incantations, worship of idols (kissing a statue), and an irreverent comment: "...the most exciting thing since Jesus walked in Galilee." Murder/Suicide(3) (M) lost no points - the "murders" were accounted for in Wanton Violence/Crime.

The final score of 46 for Mars Attacks places the movie eight points into the scoring range representing R-rated movies of the comparative baseline database of 33 movies: R is 54 and below, PG-13 is 67 to 55. The final score of 46 for Mars Attacks (PG-13) would seem of late that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has laxed its acceptance criteria. The exact same numeric analysis model that was used for determining the scoring ranges for the 33 movies of the comparative baseline database (ten R movies, ten PG-13 movies, ten PG movies, and three G movies) was used for this movie. It would seem that if movie A and movie B each earned the same score using the exact same analysis model, that indeed they should have been rated the same. I suppose the discrepancy of eight points (14% of the range for R-rated movies) could be absorbed into the extremes of Gaussian distribution - - a score of 46 is well within one standard deviation of the average. Interesting, huh?

Below is the table showing the scoring in each of the Investigation Areas plus the Final Score drawn from the actual CAP Report. In addition, the CAP Influence Density (ID) figure for the movie and the number of examples per hour of unacceptable material in each of the Investigation Areas is provided.

Mars Attacks! (1996) CAP Scorecard
In accordance with the comparative baseline data of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, Mars Attacks! presented material equivalent to R-rated material in Wanton Violence/Crime, Impunity/Hate, and Sex/Homosexuality. The CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model revealed Mars Attacks equivalent to PG-13 rated material in Offense to God and G-rated material in Drugs/Alcohol, and Murder/Suicide. Thus, Mars Attacks! was equivalent to the comparative baseline data corresponding to 50% R-rated material, 17% PG-13 material, and 33% G-rated material.

(1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend", of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impunity/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

(2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name is incorporated into the Impunity/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no dupication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

(3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Presentation of attempts to commit murder or suicide, deaths by police action, and deaths by war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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