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Style Magazine

Film Review: Mars Needs Moms

Mar 15, 2011 10:38AM ● By Wendy Sipple

Mars Needs Moms is a kid friendly space adventure film with a strong family values message.

Based off a children’s book of the same name, the movie clearly targets a younger audience and does not attempt to woo adults and teens with gags or side jokes “above the little kid's head” as other animated fair does. 

The premise of Mars Needs Moms is stated right there in the title; Martians do not have capable mothers on their planet so they abduct the best human moms from Earth and make robot clones of them to raise their Martian children.
The movie centers on nine-year-old Milo who discovers his mother being abducted by Martians and stows away on the alien spacecraft to save her. On Mars he meets another human named Gribble who has remained hidden from the Martians and has over the years breached the Martians technology. Together they plan to save Milo’s mother before the Martians destroy her in the process of making the robot clones.
The story is nicely built, and there are a few great characters, my favorite being Gribble. Gribble is slightly crazy from his solitary existence on Mars and is all too eager for a best friend. I liked how the Martians are portrayed, and they use their own language for some of the movie. It’s refreshing to have a very clear and concise family message center a movie as opposed to the somewhat watered down morals many animated films feature.
I can’t help to think the film makers shot themselves in the foot by choosing the style of animation they did. By developing the story with the same animators that created Beowolf, A Christmas Carol, and the Polar Express I think they may have alienated their core audience. If they would have gone for a more “cartoony” look and not the photo-realistic look, it would have been a more attractive option for its main target audience. 
And although the animation was interesting to look at, the making of credits at the end of the film raised the question why go through a process to make the human characters look just like the actors they film in motion capture to develop the animation? If you are going to go through the long and expensive process of animation why not add a different style and tone to it?
Overall Mars Needs Moms is entertaining if not spectacular. I appreciated what the film was trying to say, although it seems like an elaborate way of getting to the core message of appreciating you Mom. Kids will find the movie fun, adults won’t mind seeing it as well.

Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.