Movie Ratings, Family Movie Reviews & More!

Mars Needs Moms

Released

Latest Home Video

Aug 09, 2011

MPAA Rating:

PG


Run Time:

88

Director

Simon Wells

Cast

Seth Green

Joan Cusack

Dan Fogler

Studio

2011 Walt Disney Pictures

Official Website >>

Still shot from the movie: Mars Needs Moms.

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Reviewed by

Overall B-
ViolenceC+
SexA
LanguageA-
Drugs/AlcoholA
Run Time88

Making the Grades

Mars Needs Moms, but not just any mom. Searching the Earth from a very powerful telescope, Martian "Supervisor" (voice of Mindy Sterling) is on the constant lookout for humanoid mothers who know how to corral their offspring. Rejecting mothers who hopelessly crater to requests for treats and favors, she comes upon the quintessential "Mom" (voice of Joan Cusack) who helps to ensure her son Milo (voice of Seth Green) eats his vegetables and takes out the trash.

For Milo, having a caring and dedicated mother doesn’t seem like such a good deal. With his Dad (voice of Tom Everett Scott) out of town on business, an evening of entertainment gets kyboshed after Mom discovers the vomiting cat, and not Milo, has consumed the broccoli from dinner. Sent to bed early, the boy has some extra time to consider his feelings and the harsh words spoken. Deciding it’s time to apologize, he enters his mother’s bedroom. He arrives just as she departs—in a Martian spacecraft. Fortunately he’s able to literally hitch a ride as the craft leaves Earth.

Once on the red planet, Milo is anxious to find his mom. He soon meets Gribble (voice of Dan Folger), another human who is older than himself, but acts much younger. Living in squalor next to a Martian garbage dump, Gribble is excited to discover someone from his own world. Still he is initially hesitant to become an accomplice in Milo’s rescue mission. Eventually the quest begins, with the pair enlisting the help of a young Martian named Ki (Elisabeth Harnois). She desires to change her drab and totalitarian society (mainly through the use of graffiti) and embrace Earth’s hippie culture (which she has adopted after watching old television shows).

Mars Needs Moms is created using the strange art of motion capture animation. Personally there is something that just doesn’t sit right with me about this technique. I’m certain there are cost savings in creating a virtual Martian environment, yet I found myself yearning to simply see the actors… especially as they do all the required physical movements anyway. (If you stay for the credits, you will have an opportunity to see some of the motion capture sessions.) The 3D effect this movie employs is another technique I’m hoping will either improve or slowly fade away.

Despite my quibbles with the artistic production of the film, no one can accuse it of not having the best of intentions. After viewing, young audience members should leave feeling renewed appreciation for their maternal mentors. However, the embedded messages are anything but subtle and likely won’t do much to convince the adolescent crowd. At the same time, little Earthlings may be frightened by the many moments of peril, especially a scene where a mother is oddly incinerated or vaporized through a solar furnace device. Another sequence depicts a firing squad and although the guns are of a sci-fi variety, the net intent is still the same.

While there is nothing wrong with creating a serious story aimed at a young audience, when a firing squad is wrapped in cartoonish glitz it mixes two genres that are an awkward match. Possibly suitable for older children and teens, it appears when it comes to making movies for children, Hollywood Needs Moms.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Mars Needs Moms.

Do you detect any stereotypes in this movie? How are mothers depicted? How are males viewed? How do both genders contribute to society? In reality, do you think there are roles and responsibilities that can only be fulfilled by one gender?

When Milo lists the most important things a mother does, the first thing he states is, "She takes me to Disneyland!" Why do you think this was the top item on his list? (Hint: Check the production company that made this film.) How do endorsements like this differ from outright commercials? How often do you hear or see similar advertisements in other movies?

Canadian Movie Ratings

BC
SK
G Violence.
AB PG
MB PG
ON PG Some Scary Scenes, Cartoon/Animation Action.
QC G
NB
NS
NL
PE
PG

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Mars Needs Moms...

Mars Need Moms releases to home video on August 9, 2011. The following packages are available:

Mars Need Moms (Single Disc DVD)

- Martian 101

- Fun with Seth

- Extended Opening

- Life on Mars: The Full Motion-Capture Experience

- 3 Deleted Scenes

- Flower Power Easter Egg

Mars Need Moms (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo)

All extras on the DVD version, plus:

- 4 Extra Deleted Scenes

Mars Need Moms (Four-Disc Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray / DVD / Digital Copy Combo)

All extras on the DVD/Blu-ray Combo version, plus:

- Mom-Napping (Alternate Scene)

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momtothemax says: Mar. 13, 2011

I took my 6 year old son and 4 year old niece to see this movie.  Both sat entranced throughout the entire movie!  They loved it!  As a parent, taking young children, I was a little concerned about the emotional/“scary” scenes.  I would definitely recommend that parents decide for themselves whether they feel their children would be able to handle the intensity, especially near the end.  My 6 year old son, especially loves the digital animation of this movie and his all-time favorite, “The Polar Express.”  **Spoiler Alert** - The most concerning part was near the end.  My son told me later that he was “freaked out” by a scene in which “Milo’s” helmet was smashed and he struggled to breathe.  His mom saved him by giving him her helmet, but relief turned to horror as we realized that now she couldn’t breathe.  As she laid on the ground of Mars dying, another helmet is brought to her to save her life.  While it all turns out all right, the scene was extremely emotional and scary!

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