Reel Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating:PG for sci-fi action and peril
Released in Theaters: March 11, 2011
Genre: Animated, Family, Action, Adventure
Runtime: 88 minutes
Directed by: Simon Wells
Cast:Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Joan Cusack, Tom Everett Scott
Official Site: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/marsneedsmoms/
SYNOPSIS: Seth Green voices the part of Milo, a young boy who gains a deeper appreciation for his mom after Martians scoop her up from Earth and take her to Mars.
Sex/Nudity: Some flirting between Gribble and Ki (blushing, hugging and an innocent kiss on the cheek).
Violence/Gore. The central plotline might be upsetting for kids: moms are stolen from Earth and taken to Mars, where they’re killed after their parenting skills are extracted to program Nanny Bots. At one point, it appears that a mom dies. The female Martians are menacing and robot-like, and the Supervisor always shouts and issues mean orders. Gribble is nearly killed by a firing squad. Some perilous chases, with the Martians wielding large weapons.
Profanity: Insults like “jerk,” “stupid,” and “idiot.”
Which Kids Will Like It? Kids 7 and older who like animated action stories.
Will Parents Like It? It’s not a terrible movie, just not that memorable. But the message of appreciating your parents and helping each other is there.
REVIEW: I really wanted to love ‘Mars Needs Moms,’ but the movie just wasn’t particularly remarkable or memorable. I’d seen some behind-the-scenes videos of how they strapped the actors into motion-capture suits and had them flying around, falling, etc., and I wonder if they put too much emphasis on that and not enough on the plot. And I never would have known it was Seth Green voicing the part of Milo unless I’d seen him doing interviews.
The story begins with young Milo acting up and getting miffed about having to take out the trash. He says some harsh words to his mom (voiced by Joan Cusack, who has a great mom voice), then goes to apologize in the middle of the night, at which time he sees a bright light and realizes that the Martians have kidnapped his mom and are taking her back to their planet. Milo manages to hop aboard the spaceship and tag along.
Thus begins the kid’s adventure to try and get his mom back, which involves running into Gribble (Dan Fogler), a chubby human with a cobbled-together space station. I kept thinking about the Bruce Spence character – the Gyro Captain — in the ‘Mad Max’ movies.
Gribble is the most interesting character in this movie. He’s chubby, he’s got a devil-may-care attitude, and he’s also got a soft spot behind his gruff exterior. But he also understands that the Martians are dangerous, especially “the supervisor” (voiced by Mindy Sterling). She reminds me of Linda Hunt in ‘The Year of Living Dangerously,’ only way meaner. She shouts orders and seems bent on her task of stealing Earthling moms, stealing their momly skills for her own “Nanny Bots,” and then killing them. I know, harsh, right?
There’s also a friendly Martian in the mix – Ki (voiced by Elisabeth Harnois) – who decides to help Milo and Gribble in their quest to retrieve Milo’s mom.
Ok, if I can just interject one more movie reference in here, one thing that bothered me about the Martian women – the army that’s helping the Supervisor in her quest – they all looked vaguely familiar to the alien in ‘Splice.’ I really didn’t like that movie, so that colored my thoughts about this movie, especially since there was a romantic entanglement between a human and the alien in ‘Splice,’ and there was a hint of that in ‘Mars Needs Moms,’ only not as frightening.
‘Mars Needs Moms’ might be an ok movie to see on DVD or Blu-ray somewhere down the line, but I’m not going to tell you to rush out and see it right now. The animation is pretty cool, though. I did see the 3D version, which added a little extra oomph.
JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:
One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.
Jane Boursaw is a family entertainment writer specializing in movies and TV. Syndicate her family movie & TV reviews in your publication; visit her at Reel Life With Jane; follow her on Twitter; become a friend on Facebook; email firstname.lastname@example.org.