Mars Needs Moms is a surprisingly touching adventure that kids will love. Even though the story is predictable and doesn't have much depth, it was a fun hour-and-a-half and had some great moments. It's no so much funny, as it is touching and sweet.
Disney has teamed up with producer Robert Zemeckis to create another pseudo robot-faced animated movie where the character looks like a creepy version of the actor voicing it. Think Polar Express and the Jim Carrey Christmas Carole.
This is what Zemeckis is known for and sometimes it works. This time - it did! Seeing as it's a story about aliens, having the humans look a little strange, well just kind of fit.
Milo (Seth Green) is a little boy who thinks his mother nags him all the time - the angst in almost every kids life. One night, he tells his mom (Joan Cusack) he doesn't need her, then feels bad and goes to apologize, but finds she is missing. She has been taken by a space ship from Mars. The Martians are looking for human women in order to take the disciplinarian out of them and use them for their robot caregivers to raise the children martians.
Milo jumps on the spaceship to try to save his mother. On Mars, he meets an unlikely friend, a man named Gribble (Dan Fogler), who has been there since he was a boy and his mother was taken. Together they try to save Milo's mother with the help of martian Ki (Elisabeth Harnois).
The movie is also a commentary on how kids these days are raised. The mom's that are chosen are ones that do not fawn over their children or let the kids control their lives - perhaps suggesting that, although taken to the extreme, the Martians might be on to something?
Milo is extremely likeable and the film has a great message about parents and their purpose in a kid's life. Milo learns that he does need his mom and he would be lost without her. Not because she nags him and makes him do stuff, but because she loves him -- and that's more important.
The martian women have no concept of this and they think child rearing has to do with discipline only. The martian men are cast aside and sent to live in the landfill because all they want to do is nurture and hug. It is a great analysis of male/female gender roles and the stereotypes that go with them. It's not explored in as much depth as it could have been, but it is technically a kid's movie.
Although the film has potential to be top notch, filmmakers don't take it quite to that point. It is enjoyable, but there is nothing spectacular about it. It's got a cute message that could have been wrapped into a more exciting and action-filled package.
Although Mars Needs Moms isn't Toy Story, nor is it Disney's best foray into space, it's a good attempt and will keep you entertained. Bring the kids, and you'll have a good movie-going experience.