Mars Needs Mums (3D)
- Director:Simon Wells
- Cast:Joan Cusack, Seth Green
- Release Date:March 14, 2011
- Distributor:Walt Disney
- Running time:88 minutes
- Film Worth:$18.50
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While this is visually stunning and a thrilling adventure, the real achievement here is the emotionally resonant characters.
They say that with every action comes a reaction. Well, this is what happens when animation companies keep playing second fiddle to Pixar: they step up their game. DreamWorks did it last year with How To Train Your Dragon, and now Disney is doing it with Mars Needs Moms.
Based on Berkeley Breathed's book of the same name, the film stars Seth Green (in motion capture form) as twelve-year-old brat Milo. When his ever suffering mother (Joan Cusack) is abducted by aliens from Mars, Milo gives chase onto their space ship, and is whisked away to a world where females are separated from males, nanny bots play mummy to extra-terrestrial tots, and a nasty wench who looks like E.T.'s granny (Mindy Sterling) is calling the shots. Yet Milo is not alone, coming across long time abductee Gribble (Dan Fogler), who channels the spirit of John Candy in girth, heart, and comedy gold. Together they have to save Milo's mum from certain brain-sucking doom.
Mars Needs Moms boasts a maturity to its craft and characters, especially in its use of motion capture technology (frequent user Robert Zemeckis is a producer) and 3-D, which are both utilised to their full potential. Yet it is story and character that are the real strengths here. Director and co-writer Simon Wells (The Prince Of Egypt) has created an often thrilling and touching intergalactic adventure which harkens back to the sensibilities found in eighties family entertainment, where excitement and depth sparked off one another.
In turn, Mars Needs Moms becomes a stunning achievement not only in the visual and action stakes but emotionally as well, with a heartbreaking clarity putting into perspective the love and sacrifices that good mothers make for their children. Mere months into 2011, a gauntlet has already been dropped at the feet of other animated feature films.