A LOOK BACK: Mars Needs Moms
Okay, so I'm finally trying to get back on track with my watch list. With that, I watched Mars Needs Moms after years of trying to avoid it. I'm not a fan of the early motion capture animated films as I find them to be creepy looking. I'm not sure if my guard was down or what, but I found myself actually enjoying the movie.
Adapted from a children's book by Bloom County artist Berkeley Breathed, Mars Needs Moms tells the tale of young Milo (voiced by Seth Dursky, motion-captured by Seth Green) who gets into an argument with his mother (Joan Cusack) and tells her that he wished he didn't have a mom. It so happens that evening, Martians kidnap his mother as they need her brainwaves and memories to instruct their Nanny-Bots.
Mars is a driven by order and discipline. So much so that they send the males below the planet because they're seen as loud and boisterous. They see Milo's mom being the disciplinarian they need. Before the aliens are able to kidnap her, Milo jumps aboard the ship and ends up on Mars himself.
He discovers another human up there named Gribble (Dan Folger) and with his help and an rebellious Martian woman named Ki (Elisabeth Harnois), he maneuvers around Mars to rescue his mother from being mind wiped.
I've got to say that I was touched by this story. I think we can all relate to wishing our mom wasn't there. Not because she's a bad person, but, when you're younger, you often take discipline as just annoying. But, we all would panic if she actually disappeared from our lives. In Mars Needs Moms, you get that sense of despair from Milo and you just want to help him.
I found Gribble to be an enjoyable character. I thought I would find him irritating. Folger does a good job in conveying both humor and emotion from that character. And Harnois is hilarious giving Ki this 1970s lexicon (She discovered human television from the 70s and fell in love with color).
The motion capture was still a little creepy, but didn't bother me as much as The Polar Express or Disney's A Christmas Carol. They were able to convey emotion nicely.
As for the story, the tended to draw it out. It felt like they were trying to fill up a certain time limit rather than just tell a streamlined story. That said, I enjoyed it. And, the cinematography was quite good. There was a scene where Milo's helmet shatters and his mother gives him her helmet. The whole thing is seen through the mother's perspective, making her sacrifice feel even more powerful.
I'm glad I added this film to my watch list. It was fun and emotional and that's all I can ask from my animated films.