When Martians arrive on planet Earth, American President James Dale (Jack Nicholson) is persuaded to extend the hand of friendship. One of the President's advisers, Donald Kessler (Pierce Brosnan), has been studying the aliens, and is keen to make peaceful contact. However, the Martians gleefully fry their greeting party from Earth, and launch an all-out attack on the planet. Various celebrity faces including Michael J. Fox, Danny DeVito and Martin Short appear briefly before being zapped by the Martian baddies in director Tim Burton's quirky spoof of alien invasion movies.