Mars needs moms. Disney needs money. Animators need to eat too. Robert Zemeckis needs a new job. We need kids movies that entertain adults too. While Mars Needs Moms needs a lot of things, the kids will be enchanted by it nonetheless.
Mars doesn’t believe in the family unit. Since Martians are born from the red planet’s crust, families are not necessary. The males live deep underground and the women run a tech-savvy dystopic society above. When a male child is “born,” he is tossed down below to the men’s care. All females remain with the other females above. And therein lies a problem. Martian females are terribly busy, so busy that they cannot raise the newborns.
To solve this problem, Mars looks to Earth. After careful selection, Martian robots capture Earth’s moms, take them back to Mars and imprint their minds onto “Nannybots,” who in return properly raise the Martian children. The Earthling mothers are disintegrated in the process.
When little Milo witnesses his mom’s abduction, he stows away on their Mars-bound spacecraft to rescue her from eminent doom. Once on Mars, he finds a now-grown-up boy named Gribble who long ago, in Milo’s same circumstance, lost his own mother. With the help of Ki, a rebel hippie Martian female, Milo and Gribble set out on the seemingly impossible task of rescuing Milo’s mom.
The story and voice cast of Mars Needs Moms is sufficient – its the CG medium that lacks. Filmed with motion capture – Robert Zemeckis’ rig used for Polar Express, Beowulf and A Christmas Carol, expounded-upon and made uber famous by James Cameron with Avatar – Mars Needs Moms simply does not look right. The movements are odd and slow. The eyes are lifeless. And the faces lack expression and detail.
Because of the poor visuals and childish events in the story, Mars Needs Moms is more suited for children than adults. It is the perfect film to pawn little kids off on while the big kids see something worthwhile.
Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures