Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Movie Review: Mars Needs Moms

When I added this to my Netflix queue (and even after I'd watched it), I had no idea that it was the biggest box office bomb of all time, unadjusted for inflation.[1] It was also the biggest critical and financial failure of any film attached to the Disney company.[2] It's based on a book by Berkeley Breathed (whose comic strips, Bloom County and Opus, I've never enjoyed) and was directed by Simon Wells (some of whose other films I have enjoyed, including An American Tail: Fivel Goes West, The Prince of Egypt, and The Time Machine). It was released the same week as Battle: Los Angeles [3], which may have contributed to its financial demise.

My verdict: I don't think this film deserved the way it performed with critics and moviegoers. It has some good messages for kids—and even a couple that liberal educators and hyperfeminists would do well to take to heart. And I don't think these messages were conveyed sloppily. On the other hand, it surprised me that they would show certain things in a children's movie (i.e. self sacrifice, murder, and urination). The animation of the human characters is somewhat disturbing, just like Zemeckis' Polar Express.[4] I don't know why, since other films (e.g. How to Train Your Dragon [5]) don't have the uncanny valley effect.[6] The animation of the alien characters is both more interesting and less disturbing. My only complaint is that the female aliens' legs are so wide-set that they look like giant walking tuning forks. But the hippy graffiti art drawn by one of the aliens was rather interesting.


[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars Needs Moms.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Read my review here.

[4] Read my review here.

[5] Read my review here.

[6] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny valley.

Image attributions:

The Hubble Space Telescope Image of Mars is by NASA and is in the public domain. It is available at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2005-1103mars-full.jpg. 

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