By: Lawrence Foster
Rating: 4 out of 10
When reviewing anything is part of your job, it isn’t all filet mignons and “Black Swans.” As a movie reviewer, for every “True Grit” I get the privilege of watching, there are five “S.W.A.T.s” I have to sit through. (FYI, “S.W.A.T.” was one of my least favorite movies ever.) Unfortunately for me, Mars Needs Moms fell into the latter category.
Apart from its appealing visual style, Mars Needs Moms was a chore to sit through and featured a character who was on par with Jar Jar Binks, and that is not a good thing considering Binks is in my Top 5 most despised characters of all time.
A quick plot synopsis is that the aliens living on Mars need to take moms from Earth and extract their “discipline” and insert that into robot nannies. When the discipline is extracted, however, the mom dies.
The Martians decide that Milo’s mom (Milo voiced by Seth Dusky, with animations done by Seth Green) is a perfect candidate for extraction. So the aliens come in the middle of the night and take Milo’s mom (Joan Cusack) but Milo is awake and chases them to their ship and is accidently brought to Mars.
When discovered, Milo is imprisoned, but a friend named Gribble (Dan Fogle) releases him and the two plan a rescue of Milo’s mother.
The first problem I have with the film is the plot. I of course realize that any plot involving aliens kidnapping Earth moms to care for their kids is going to be far-fetched, but come on.
You are going to tell me that an advanced civilization like the alien race on Mars that has the ability to travel to Earth in less than a day is going to determine which mom to kidnap based on one action? Not buying it. They would stake out candidates and over the course of time, determine which mothers are “worthy” of extraction.
My problem with the plot pales in comparison to my feelings towards Gribble. In most cases, Fogle’s characters have connected with me, but Gribble made me wish he was the one getting something extracted.
Fogle gives it all he can, but like Binks, the material is just too over the top for me. The characters that are meant to be comedic relief in films should be determined by actual laughs, not by being obnoxious and over the top. Really, when I think of animated movies and comedic relief, I think of Scrat from the “Ice Age” series. If Gribble would have been more Scrat-tish, the film may have been more tolerable.
Mars Needs Moms isn’t without its strengths though. As I mentioned, the visuals were stunning. Using the motion capture has resulted in mixed results, but to me, Mars Needs Moms gets it right.
Some people I know really didn’t like the motion capture because of how the characters, particularly the humans looked. It didn’t bother me so much, because it is an animated movie and exaggerations are par for the genre.
At its core, Mars Needs Moms also delivers a worthwhile message that nothing can replace a parental figure and that love will eventually win. Unfortunately for the movie, I could have cared less by the time it was over.
Quite simply, Mars Needs Moms was one of the worst films I have ever watched. Apart from the visuals and morale of the story, there isn’t any redeeming quality. Don’t take anyone to watch this movie, regardless of age.