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on April 17, 2011
I believe that the critics were all wrong about "Mars Needs Moms". My four year old granddaughter and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was cute, colorful, funny, and very entertaining. We both smiled and laughed all the way through. Plus the main characters were warm, loyal, resourceful, and caring--good role models for the little ones. I intend to buy it as soon as it comes out in DVD so that my granddaughter and I can enjoy it all over again!
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on August 1, 2011
We all know how well Mars Needs Moms did at the box office. Sometimes, I think you really need to send in a kid to do a kids' job - particularly in reviewing a movie made for kids. Adults just don't get it. Here are video reviews by 2 of our 8 -year-old youth film critics reviews and, believe me, they loved it!

The DVD comes out this week so don't pass it by, give it the good old family try.
"This movie is out of this world literally, because it takes place on Mars, A.K.A The Red Planet. The movie is about a little boy named Milo voiced by Seth Dusky, who says some pretty mean things to his mom. Before he has a chance to apologize, she is Martian-napped and taken to Mars. He has 6.93 earth hours until sun rise to save her. Does he make it in time!

My favorite part is when Gribble, voiced by Dan Fogler, saves Milo's mom with the helmet that was meant for his mom. I thought that was very thoughtful. My favorite characters are Gribble, because he's just simply Gribbletastic. Ki, because she helps Milo, and she does something that no other Martain has ever done. She stands up to the supervisor. Head of all Martians, Milo, because he realizes that he needs his mom and is determined to do whatever he needs to save her.

I rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars because the Martains are a little scary, especially the supervisor. So for this reason I recommend this movie to kids ages 7 and up." Reviewed by Ny'Asia Bell, age 8, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
"I just finished watching an excellent movie called "Mars Needs Moms." The movie is about a boy named Milo who goes on a big adventure to help save his mom from aliens. The aliens that live on Mars are not very good mothers so they look to Earth to find good mothers to steal.

My favorite characters are Milo, Milo's mom, and Gribble. I liked Gribble because he helped Milo get his mother back and he helps Milo to see how important his mother truly is. My favorite part of the movie is when Milo has to save his new friend Gribble from the aliens. Gribble gets captured and the aliens are going to shoot him. Milo swings in to save the day and it is awesome.

This movie does have some characters that are bad and try to stop Milo from saving his mom. The aliens in the uniforms are bad because they listen to the Supervisor. The Supervisor controls everyone and wants everyone to do what she says.

I would recommend this movie for ages three and up. I think depending on what age you are is how you will see this movie. For example, my brother is 5 and he didn't think the movie was scary at all. I am 8 and I found the movie to be a little scary because it made me think about how sad I would be if I lost my own mother. But don't worry everything turns out ok in the end! Go out and buy this movie when it comes out on Disney DVD and Blu Ray.
Reviewed by Anthony A, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic
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on July 12, 2011
I'm giving this movie a full five stars right off the bat because when my 5 year old daughter and I saw Mars Needs Moms in a completely empty theater on opening weekend, I cried my eyes out at the ending. No, this movie is NOT a dedicated version of the Mars Needs Mom storybook; nor was it a B-grade movie in the style of the sci-fi classics Mars Attacks! and Mars Needs Women. However, it isn't the utter travesty critics and nay-sayers claim it is.

Once you get over the 'weird' CGI images of the actors, and you ignore the blatant ploy to make this a hit with the 8-year-old-boy crowd, you can't help but really appreciate the details in the landscape and backgrounds (the Red Planet, the garbage 'under world', the otherworld beauty of Ki and the Martians, etc.). And the story itself really resonates with all ages - courage when everything else seems lost, the support of friends, even hunger for political power, and the love between a mother and child. Yes, this movie could have been much better (by Disney standards); on the other hand, it could have been MUCH much worse if released by another studio.

No matter what your opinions of Robert Zemeckis' work, Mars Needs Moms deserves at least one viewing before you make your final judgement.
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on April 17, 2011
"Mars Needs Moms" relates the adventures of Milo, a boy who seeks to rescue his kidnapped mother from Martians . Based on a children's book by the famous comic strip author Berkeley Breathed, this animated film, while uneven in certain respects, excels in its depiction of sacrificial family love. Milo is truly heroic in his single-minded determination to free his mother despite insurmountable odds and even a powerful temptation to give up. I also found the Martian settings to be artistically imaginative, fascinating, and impressive.

The film's portrayal of the relationship between an American mother and her son was not only realistic but profoundly moving. Young Milo attempts to deceive his mother. Like all good mothers, she catches him out and holds him accountable. Like all disobedient children (which covers most of the human race at one time or another), Milo angrily lashes out at her. In a moment that rings true with my own childhood and with our own children on occasion, Milo's mother is reduced to tears by her son's cruel words. Milo tries to go to sleep but the guilt over his response to his mother troubles him. He gets up to apologize, only to discover that he is, in one sense, too late. His mother has disappeared. In another sense, he arrives in the nick of time, just able to follow after the strange beings who have kidnapped his mother. Love for his mother stoked by his remorse for his meanness fuel an unquenchable determination in Milo to rescue her. Within a fast-paced, wildly fantastic and carelessly implausible animated movie, this true-to-life family relationship comes as somewhat of a surprise. But the film succeeds brilliantly because the filmmakers remain true throughout to the theme of love between a mother and son.

Milo's mother has been kidnapped by a radical feminist Martian society that has all but destroyed maternal love in its elevation of power and technological progress. The Martians abandon their males at their planetary dump and leave their females to be raised by robot nursemaids. But little ones, even in a twisted society, need more than a robot to be cared for properly. Presumably unable and/or unwilling to provide quality maternal nature themselves, the Martian supervisors spy out likely outstanding mothers on planet Earth and kidnap the best candidates in an evil plan to enrich the maternal behavior of the robots.

In his quest, Milo meets Gribble, a fellow human stranded on Mars with his own tragic story and Ki, the Martian who has rebelled against the oppressive Martian society. The events that bring Milo and his new friends to the film's final climax uncover Mars' own dark secrets about motherhood and the family.

It is unfortunate that "Mars Needs Moms" was a dismal flop at the box office. The film's odd mix of a relatively serious theme in a wacky action-adventure animation vehicle may have hurt its reach. Some may have been repelled by its central theme of the importance of motherhood and the natural family. Surveys at a leading film website indicate that this film splits its audience, with people either loving or hating "Mars Needs Moms," with relatively few in between. Such a divergence indicates that people's fundamental views on life dictated their response to the film, not less weighty matters such as the animation style, humor, music, or plot devices.

It is my hope that the mostly brilliant folks at Disney made a few marketing errors and missed their target audience. If you believe that the natural human family is a fundamental, even divinely ordained social unit with motherhood being one of its key components, please give this film and the dvd a chance. You may find yourself not only entertained, but surprisingly moved.
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on November 7, 2011
This movie held the interest of my elementary age students. Late elementary children and older may not enjoy this film as much (my older child refused to watch it at all.) The film had a great message about appreciating your mom and all she does for you. We have been having an issue lately with a case of the "I wants" and not wanting to follow directions as the holiday season approaches. This was a great way to remind the boys to behave without having to nag them. It was funny and heart-felt. The graphics were good and the target audience was children. I gave it four-stars instead of five on advice of the children as it left out the importance of Dads. The boys felt it should have taught more about appreciating both parents.
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on September 2, 2011
Truthfully though I usually buy Disney movies at the drop-of-a-hat, I hesitated with MARS NEEDS MOMS, but then bought it anyway. -- I am glad I did. But, don't expect a TOY STORY, or their delicious TANGLED, because this is just not that type of Disney movie.

Describing it is not easy but if you will forgive the pun, MARS NEEDS MOMS is a down-to-earth story of family and relationships. It is mostly a story of a boy who after fighting with his mother suddenly finds she has been taken aboard a spaceship. His desperate chase and efforts to get his mother back is made the more interesting when he finds himself on Mars!

The story is easy to follow, even the addition of a couple twists. I won't give it away, but I do recommend this movie for the entire family.
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on September 29, 2013
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0

According to Wikipedia, 'Mars needs Moms', was the 5th biggest box office bomb in motion picture history. It cost about $150 million and the lifetime, world-wide gross was a little over $21 million. So where exactly did it go wrong? It's one of those films made using motion capture technology. The critics were split on the use of that technology: some dug it quite a bit and others found the characters to be like Madame Tussaud wax figures. Personally, I wasn't bothered by actors who had their movements and facial features, filled in by the magic of computer animation. And if you wait for the end credits, you'll see outtakes of just how the cast looked, when acting as 'motion capture' subjects.

'Mars' is based on a sci-fi, black comedy picture book of the same name by Berkeley Breathed. The adaptation is geared much more for adults than kids as it has quite a bit of a dark sub-text, that perhaps is a bit too off-putting for many viewers. For starters, nine-year-old protagonist Milo's declaration during the film's opening scene, that he wished he never had a mother, is a bit jarring; this especially after his mother merely asks him to take out the garbage and punishes him for not eating his broccoli. The kid immediately regrets his harsh rejoinder and spends the entire time trying to make up for the faux pas. The heartbroken look on the mother's face stays with you despite the fact that such a harsh statement emanates from a kid's mouth.

If there is a positive side to the film, it's in the action adventure component. Milo's adventures, as he manages to stow away on the ship that's his kidnapped Mom now finds herself on, and how he escapes initial capture on the Red Planet, are exciting moments indeed. The idea of Gribble, the man-child, who jokes how he's a secret astronaut from an 80s Reagan era program but is actually like Milo (a kid who tried to save his Mom), doesn't quite hit the mark, not only because he's a buffoon but the fact that he's been stranded on Mars since his childhood after his Mom was also kidnapped. What's worse is that he actually witnessed the Martians performing their own version of a lobotomy on his Mom and failed to save her, which I would think is a disturbing idea for young viewers to take.

There's more noir to endure when we discover that the Martian world is a vast police state run by females only (the childlike, ineffectual males are beneath the surface, existing in a giant trash compactor). The females are headed by 'The Supervisor', the film's antagonist, a Lady MacBeth-like, crazed control freak, who resembles a shriveled up, Spielberg Extraterrestrial. The mad Supervisor is a fun character and is pitted against Ki, who adopts the language of Hippies from an early 70s TV sitcom, which she finds in some secret files, she's assigned to oversee. Ki is the Mar's version of a beatnik, who enjoys painting colorful graffiti on the drab Martian home world. My problem with the Ki character is why is she the only one to break away from the pack? There seems no explanation for it, in the context of the story.

Milo only has a few hours to save his mother, and you probably can guess the film's denouement if you haven't seen the film yet. It's all rather predictable and the film's scenarists lost a big opportunity when they failed to develop Milo's mother as a fully developed character. Instead of having her disappear for most of the narrative, strapped to a gurney, wouldn't it have been better if the Martians made her a sentient overseer--directing the nannybots (who also could have interactional capabilities) in proper parenting techniques (a more animated Picard Locutus, is the character I'm thinking of).

For sheer action, Mars needs Moms, has some clever action scenes. But essentially it's a rescue story, and most of the characters prove to be decidedly one-note. It's worth watching, but deserves only an average rating.
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on August 29, 2011
"Mars Needs Moms" turned out to be MUCH more than we thought it would be. WOW! What a ride! It was exhilarating from the start. The movie had humor, action, emotion, and lots of good-feelings. The message was strong... as well as many other adult messages that could be points of conversation later. We all loved the movie and want to see it again and again. Very well thought-out and produced. We are surprised it didn't do better in the theaters. By the way, seeing it on a big screen would be optimal as the imagery is awesome. Regardless, a great flick for the entire family :)
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VINE VOICEon September 2, 2011
If you are at all concerned with the computer animated film industry, you probably know a little bit about Robert Zemeckis' unique approach of motion capture to achieve an animated product that looks remarkably lifelike (a technique he has proven in films like The Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol and Monster House thus far). The unique stylized look is back in Mars Needs Moms and this one managed to secure the promotion and backing by none other than Disney - who of course has been making a big push in the computer generated feature arena themselves since the absorption of Pixar.

The plot of this one is certainly unique with a welcome science fiction flare not as thoroughly fleshed out since Pixar's own Wall-E. The story follows nine-year-old Milo (played by Seth Green for the motion capture but voiced by child actor Seth Dusky) who, like most kids his age, is more interested in watching zombie movies than doing chores or eating his broccoli at dinner. When Milo's misconduct prompts his mother (Joan Cusack) to punish him with an early bedtime and no zombie pay-per-view, a moment straight out of Home Alone ensues: "I wish I didn't have a mother!" and hence the lesson of being careful what you wish for commences.

When Milo wakes to discover his mother is being kidnapped by Martians, fear of being probed is put on the backburner as he stages a rescue attempt that results in his being accidentally dragged along on for a ride to the red planet itself. Once there, Milo is befriended by a fellow earthling refuge calling himself Gribble (Dan Fogler), an overly enthusiastic man-child who's decades-long absence from Earth has left him trapped in the cultural mindset of the 1980s.

Surprisingly enough, this picture comes from a long line of CG-feature films inspired by children's books (a list that includes How to Train Your Dragon, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Meet the Robinsons to mention a few). The screenplay is surprisingly competent and while the intended audience of the film will likely be too swept up in the grandeur of the visuals to be concerned with such things, diehard scifi fans will likely be a bit frustrated by several questions of Marian society that are never fully answered.

However, the film juggles some pretty heavy themes- the dangers of suppressing free will in society, reliance upon technology, the universal power of love and why moms are more than simply nagging buzz-kills for example- it does so with that trademarked Zemeckis brand of humor that has made past efforts like Back to the Future so endearing. There are references scattered about that younger kids probably won't appreciate, but adults who remember a thing or two about the 80s will surely get a rise from. The humor in Monster House was certainly more universally appealing but it is nice that not all kid-oriented films rely upon slapstick for laughs.

The visuals here are an interesting mix of elements. On the one hand, the motion capture technique is capable of delivering facial expressions that are truly without rival (after all, this is essentially the tool James Cameron used to develop the aliens in Avatar). On the flip side it does away with the exaggerated characterizations kids flock to in your average DreamWorks or Pixar piece. In fact, at a glance, the human characters here can almost pass as live-action with just a hint of aberrance in their faces.

In all, this is a solid family film that doesn't tread upon objective language or themes that is rife with interesting environments, and a nice brisk pace that seems even quicker than its one-hour 22-minte runtime.
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on February 29, 2016
What a great movie it was! I love the technology of 3D and now that the movies are available at my home, it is a blessing! Mars Needs Moms was a fun movie that I enjoyed equally with my children and would watch it again in future. The trailer expresses the story well and it is amazing to follow the journey of a litlle boy to get his mom from the aliens. We enjoyed the movie as a family. Nice 3D animation as well!
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