Mars Needs Moms – From Disney Studios

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Mars doesn’t just need moms, it also needs an interesting story, some screen-worthy characters and, above all, some laughs. Despite a lot of very expensive special effects, this film is just the moon all over again but with a high rise office complex added and, of course, Martians.

Milo (Seth Green) is nine years old and is so fed up of his mom (Joan Cusack) nagging him that he tells her he’d be better off without her. Later, when Milo goes to apologize, he spots a spaceship in the distance with his mom on board. He races towards it but the doors close just as he gets there, catching his shirt and spiriting him away to Mars. The first person he meets after landing is Gribble (Dan Fogler), who is also human and has been stranded on Mars since he was five. Gribble explains that, every 25 years, the Martians need a mother so they can extract her mom-ness and transfer it to the Robo-nannies who nurse the new-born Martians. Milo decides that his mom must be saved.

A lot of screen time is spent with Milo and Gribble but their characters are trite and their relationship lacks sparkle. They were born two decades apart and brought up on different planets, so the scope for misunderstandings and therefore comedy is inexhaustible, but the writers walk right past that one and treat the two as equals. Attempts to breathe life into some of the dialogue is made by Gribble using jargon from the 80s and one of the Martians using jargon from the 70s, which are both pretty bizarre choices as most of the audience won’t have been born until the 21st century.

The totalitarian Martian Leader decrees that life on Mars should be devoid of emotion, with no room for warmth and love, and obviously Milo’s appearance on the planet is meant to turn this around. This is an admirable objective but, as most of the film is spent with everyone chasing each other around, the emotional story is ignored so no one learns anything and the goal of the film remains a physical one; for Milo to rescue his mom. This is achieved right at the end, within minutes of which everyone makes long speeches and the Martians agree that they should give each other love from now on but, as this has hardly been mentioned before, it plays like a p.s. rather than a celebration of the theme.

This final dialogue-driven message won’t resonate with children, but what they will remember is the list Milo reels off when he explains to the Martians what a mom is. He tells them that she’s the one who cooks, cleans, tucks him in at night, hugs him, kisses him and (wait for it) takes him to Disneyland.

Disney, for shame!

RELEASE DATES

Egypt – 9 March 2011

Hungary – 10 March 2011

Malaysia – 10 March 2011

Singapore- 10 March 2011

Canada – 11 March 2011

Norway – 11 March 2011

USA – 11 March 2011

Iceland – 18 March 2011

Spain – 18 March 2011

Greece – 24 March 2011

UK – 8 April 2011

Sweden – 15 April 2011

Portugal – 21 April 2011

Finland – 22 April 2011

Japan – 23 April 2011

Neth’Lnds- 27 April 2011

Germany – 28 April 2011

Italy – 1 June 2011

France – 6 July 2011