Mars Needs Moms
Mars Needs Moms is a 2011 American 3D computer-animated science fiction comedy film based on the Berkeley Breathed book of the same name, produced by Walt Disney Pictures and ImageMovers Digital (the last film produced by ImageMovers Digital before it was re-absorbed back into ImageMovers), and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, and was directed by Simon Wells. The film premiered at El Capitan Theatre on March 6, 2011 and was released to theaters on March 11, 2011.
Milo is a 9-year-old boy who has a lot on his mind; he has monster movies to watch, comic books to read and all other kinds of fun stuff to accomplish. He definitely does not have time to do homework or eat his vegetables. He's getting tired of his mom nagging him to do these things, and his mom is tired of nagging. But just as Milo is telling his mom that life would be more fun without her, Martians kidnap her. Milo stows away on their spaceship, determined to launch a rescue.
- Hideous and cringe-inducing motion capture animation with terrible physics.
- The producers should have realized that motion-capture animation is still a work in progress.
- Bafflingly, they got Seth Green, a fully grown adult, to mocap Milo, a kid. He even voiced him until he was dubbed over by an actual kid, Seth Dusky. The Seth Green voice can be found in the trailers until in 29th May 2020, Justin Wilton (Cinephile Studios) was ripping the Blu-ray of the movie for his review until he found the Seth Green audio in the language files and posted it on Soundboard.
- There is very little worldbuilding, which leaves more questions than answers, despite the higher budget.
- Uncanny designs for the characters, like the Martians look less creepy than the humans, with one exception.
- Speaking of the Martians, their designs are oddly sexual with characters like Ki having unusually large rear ends and wide hips.
- Milo looks and sounds too old to be a 9-year-old and his mother sounds too old to be a mother. Not helping is the aforementioned Seth Green mocap for the former.
- Most of the characters are underdeveloped as well as flat and uninteresting. The only one that does is the Supervisor, who is stereotype martians main antagonist, whereas the other characters can only be described as these:
- Milo's mother as the typical domestic mother with no depth.
- Gribble as the orphaned with a help of Milo.
- Milo as the rebellious son main protagonist of the movie.
- Ki as the kindness martians hero.
- Milo's dad is only seen at the beginning and the end.
- Two-Cat as the robot spider-cat.
- Terrible action-packed sequences.
- Some obnoxious humor (e.g. Martian hatchling peeing on the Supervisor and Cojo vomiting).
- The Martians have no subtitles, even when Milo is wearing a translator.
- Milo is an unlikable and selfish brat and his voice is very annoying. To add insult to injury, he also has no personality other than enjoying zombie movies and at the start of the movie, he says one line that's so disrespectful, that you'll hate him (or want him to get comeuppance) throughout the movie: he says that his life would be better if he didn’t have a mom at all, which is the most heartless thing a kid could ever say to their own parent. In fact, he looks nothing like his book counterpart. It would've work better if it keeps the book appearance in the movie.
- Even after this rancid line, all he does throughout the movie is constantly state the obvious and spout random nonsense to the point where it’s debatable whether or not he can be considered a character.
- Numerous scenes that go on for far too long. For example, when Milo tells his mom that he doesn't want a mother, she looks sad and shocked and the scene holds for too long. The same thing that applies with Number 8.
- Laughable dialogue; particularly "My life will be so much better if I didn't have a mom at all!".
- Does the poor job for following plot of the book, which it feels more like a rehashed of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, despite that aliens attacked.
- The poster is also a blatant rip-off of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, except some of them are adjective.
- The film is very sexist towards the male Martians, as the Martian female babies are currently raised by nannybots in the technologically advanced society, while the male babies are sent down below to be raised by adult male Martians.
- They also have a very absurd and idiotic reason for this, as it's been revealed that they sent the males down below was because they were "too emotional".
- Milo's Mom told him that cats are not supposed to eat vegetables, which is completely inaccurate. Cats can actually eat some vegetables like cooked/steamed broccoli and some others.
- There are also errors in the film like Milo's weight was less on Mars than Earth, which would be correct. However, when Gribble and Ki are on Earth, their weight should be higher than on Mars - by a factor of approximately three. This would have made it impossible for them to walk or really move around at all.
- Massive loads of unnecessary and unneeded filler.
- The Supervisor is a dull antagonist with incredibly petty and lazy motives, and only has a few comprehensible lines near the end of the film, even in instances where her dialogue should technically be understandable to Milo and the audience. Also, she is only in the movie so the writers should find an excuse to make the book into a film.
- Tons of unnecessary pop-culture references, like how Gribble mentions The Terminator and Top Gun, or how Milo mentions the Nintendo Wii.
- Forced whimsical moments like when Milo is amazed by all of the world of trash he sees. "It's-it's not even whimsical! Why is there whimsical music playing!? It looks like he's standing in the fires of Hell! How is this even remotely whimsical!?" as what PhantomStrider says.
- The ending was very heartwarming. It was still bad, to say the least.
- Continuing from #8, at least Milo apologized to his mom for what he said to her earlier, but that still doesn't excuse the overly-long sad mom scene. Then again, he did say he was sorry for everything that was wrong of him, so at least he's not completely heartless.
- Gribble's design is actually pretty good.
- Gribble being quite a expressive character, can have his comical to funny moments due to his voice inflections
- The soundtrack is at least great by John Powell.
- The voice acting is somewhat decent.
- The backstory with Gribble's bad childhood was very touching.
- While stilted and awkward, the animation is realistic and is pretty good in some scenes, like it was taken from a video game cutscene.
- Gribble (if annoying at times, but still forgivable), Two-Cat and Ki are quite likable characters.
- It has a good and solid message about respecting your parents (even for some of it's contradictions).
- Decent visual effects.
- Some funny moments, like Gribble pressing the wrong button.
Mars Needs Moms received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and audiences who praised voice acting, visuals, and John Powell’s soundtrack, but criticism its writing, premise, character expressions, and drama, Opinions of the motion capture animation were mixed. Some praised it for looking realistic and others criticized it for falling into the uncanny valley and looking creepy, and currently holds a 37% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a critic consensus that reads "The cast is solid and it’s visually well-crafted, but Mars Needs Moms suffers from lack of imagination and heart.". On Metacritic, the film had a score of 49 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
The film was a huge box office flop as it grossed only $39 million worldwide against a $150 million budget. It was the second and last film from ImageMovers Digital before the company was shut down by Disney, and reverted back to simply ImageMovers. ImageMovers Digital had previously been reported to have Calling All Robots, a Yellow Submarine remake, a Roger Rabbit sequel, and The Nutcracker in development. Disney dropped all of these projects following the box-office failure of Mars Needs Moms, and shutted down the studio, like said before.
- Just like A Christmas Carol, It is one of Disney’s only CGI animated films without Walt Disney Animation Studios or Pixar.
- The failure of this movie was the reason for the "of Mars" being dropped from John Carter's title.
- Brie Larson were considered the role of the cast.