Mars Needs Moms
Directed by: Simon Wells Cast: Seth Green, Dan Fogler, Joan Cusack Running Time: 1 hr 30 min Rating: PG Due Out: August 9, 2011
PLOT: When Milo's (Green) mother is abducted by Martians, he hitches a ride on a spaceship to rescue her. But saving her will be harder than he thought, he'll need the help of Gribble (Fogler) another human in space and Ki (Harnois), a rebellious Martian.
WHO'S IT FOR? Children, though not too young. I think the idea of having your Mom stolen away by aliens may be scary for young kids.
A kid who doesn't appreciate his Mom goes into space and learns how much he needs a mother. Also he helps jump start a Martian revolution. Now you know the whole story of Mars Needs Moms, a Disney film using the motion capture technology from The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol. It's the same company, but the technology is leaps and bounds ahead of those previous movies, the backgrounds and martians look amazing. The human's movements look great too, but their faces still don't quite work. It's not creepy, like Tom Hanks was in Polar Express, with those horrible dead eyes. But it just doesn't quite work and the effect is that I feel removed from the characters. I think at some point, this company will find a way to make these characters more relatable, but not quite yet.
The movie looks good, but the story is pretty bad. Milo's kind of a jerk. Gribble, played by the funny and charming Dan Fogler, just seems like this weird dude who's out of place. I found it a chore to get through the film. Then I started watching the extras and was a little blown over. The Fun With Seth segment revealed something interesting, Seth Green (whose voice was scrapped for the finished film, replaced with a child's voice) and Dan Fogler have great chemistry and their scenes together are pretty good. Green brings Milo to life. I was even more surprised when I saw the deleted scenes and realized that the best stuff from the film was actually cut out. Every scene that reveals anything about Gribble's past and emotional motivations is cut out, as are the scenes where his relationship with Milo develops. In one scene, Fogler plays Gribble's horror at losing his mother and finding himself alone on a hostile alien planet. It's pretty amazing. It's dark, but probably the best thing from the film. Plus it gives so much more depth to his character. The filmmakers also took out the one scene where Milo and his mother playfully interact. I rarely see much in deleted scenes that I feel should have been left in the film, but on this case, what got cut out were the best scenes from the film. I have no idea what the filmmakers were thinking. I'm not saying Mars Needs Moms would have been a great movie, but it had the opportunity to be so much better.
MOVIE SCORE: 4/10
Life on Mars - Full motion-capture experience with audio commentary
Martian 101 - Speaking Martian with lessons from an expert
Fun with Seth - Featurette showcasing the on-set antics of Seth Green and Dan Fogler