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Mars Needs Moms is Packed with Action

Mars Needs Moms is Packed with Action

Guest review by Rochelle Hepworth.
Based on the book of the same name by Berkeley Breathed, Mars Needs Moms is an animated adventure comedy from the same people that brought you The Polar Express and Disney’s A Christmas Carol. This means that the ultra-realistic graphics are sure to leave your family on the edge of your seats as you follow the whirlwind adventure into space.

Sending Mom to Mars

The movie tells the story of a typical 8-year-old boy named Milo (Seth Green), who is so unhappy with his mom (Joan Cusack) telling him to eat his vegetables and take out the trash all the time, that he blurts out, “My life would be so much better without you.”

Unbeknownst to Milo, this very maternal diligence makes his mom the perfect candidate for the Martians, who have given up on family and nurturing and need to extract good child-rearing techniques from a human mom. Their plan is to program these techniques into their nanny-bots who raise the Martian babies.

Getting Mom back

When the Martians abduct his mom, Milo gives chase and ends up in the spaceship that ultimately takes them all to Mars. There, with the help of Gribble, a human who came to Mars the same way as Milo, and Ki, a renegade Martian, they set out to rescue Milo’s mom.

Hanging on for the ride

The typical family scenarios depicted in the first ten minutes brought a smile to the faces of most parents in the audience, and the kids easily identified with Milo, who really just wants to play and have a good time. After that though, Mars Needs Moms becomes a non-stop thrill ride, complete with laser-gun chases, plummeting falls and narrow escapes.

The life-like computer animation won’t allow the action in this movie to pass as just animated violence. When Milo and his cohorts are being shot at by the Martian soldiers, there is no doubt as to what would happen to Milo if they actually hit him. These very realistic escapades, while exciting to the school-age set, might be disturbing to a sensitive preschooler.

Pulling out the tissues

The end of the film closely follows the ending in the book, and produces a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking scene (reminiscent of Bambi), that had my 6-year-old son wiping away tears, and my 3-year-old daughter crawling onto my lap saying, “That is very sad.” Even my husband admitted to “wet eyes.”

Eating the broccoli

It’s easy for the moral of the story—the importance of moms, their discipline and their nurturing—to get lost in the action scenes that make up most of the movie.

It’s unlikely that younger kids will be able to draw inferences about the importance of the family unit from the grey, regimented and emotionally cold lifestyle on Mars. They are more likely to remember the simpler “things that moms do” list that Milo blurts out at the end. But a conversation with your kids after the movie can easily drive the correct message home–and hopefully get them to eat their broccoli.

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