Mars Needs Moms: Movie Review
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Aliens are invading movie theaters across the country, starting this weekend with the release of Mars Needs Moms, Battle: Los Angeles, and next week with Paul. The latter two aren’t what you call ‘family-friendly’, as the first is a sci-fi action/adventure about the alien invasion and destruction of Los Angeles and the other, a Rated-R comedy about two middle-aged sci-fi geeks who discover an alien. So the obvious choice for families is Mars Needs Moms.
Now, that the field is narrowed, does this new Disney CGI-animated flick deliver? Surprising enough, yes, it does. Not only is it a good choice if you’re standing in front of the box office trying to decide what to watch, it’s actually one you might want to go out and see, even if a movie wasn’t in your plans this weekend.
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
Just like any other kid, Milo hates taking out the trash and eating broccoli. But, after initially resisting his mother’s instructions, Milo always obeys. Ultimately, that’s what attracts the attention of aliens from Mars, leading them to kidnap her and bring her back to their planet. They just didn’t foresee Milo would stow away on the spaceship or put up such a fight. With the help of some very interesting characters, Milo does whatever he can to save his mother and get back home.
WHAT WORKS -- AND DOESN'T -- IN MARS NEEDS MOMS
Director Simon Wells, who brought us The Prince of Egypt, has created the kind of movie even adults without kids could like. Mars Needs Moms' well developed story, which Wells and his wife, Wendy, adapted from a book, centers on a young boy who loses his mother to alien abduction just after a regretful argument. This quality movie not only upholds the fifth commandment (“Honor thy father and mother”) and conveys the importance of discipline balanced with love, but also has the potential to speak on a broader level to the value of our closest relationships, whether it is mother-son, parent-child, and brother-sister, among friends or spouses. Our words carry weight, but our actions speak much louder. Milo illustrates just that as he struggles to free his mother, someone he’s realizing has always loved him no matter what he’s done.
The message isn't the only thing going for this film; its dialogue and characters are witty and entertaining. The latest CGI-animated major movie production from Disney, Mars Needs Moms features incredibly detailed graphics that don’t disappoint. Those who stay to watch the credits will get a sneak peek at how the film was made, as it features video from on set. Actors Seth Green and Joan Cusack are seen with what looks like electrodes on their bodies as the cameras capture their movements, which was then used as a basis for the CGI graphics. In a post-production move, Milo’s dialogue was dubbed by a younger actor, as the team thought Green’s voice sounded too old. His original movement is still used in the film.
A couple problem areas include a strange group of castaway aliens, who are eventually explained, and the detailed animation of the shapely female Martians. A memory extraction machine the aliens use is fairly intense looking, and possibly a bit too much for younger children. Cartoon laser guns also are used by some of the alien leader’s enforcers, though nothing graphic is ever shown on screen (as one would imagine given the film’s PG-rating).
IN THE END
Mars Needs Moms is a fun animated feature worth a trip to the theater to see. More important than that, this new film is not a superficial flick. In fact, it can be seen as a warning about appreciating parents and the value of family. It’s not preachy, but it gets to an essential point that if society sidesteps priorities when it comes to raising families, then a world of robot moms who rule with an iron fist instead of rearing with love isn’t that far off.
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