Sometimes movies are praised so highly that when you see them there is somewhat of a letdown. I had never really anticipated the reverse to be true but I think it is, sometimes a movie can be panned so badly that when you see it, you realize it really isn’t that bad. Such is the case of the new DVD release of Mars Needs Moms. I had seen various reviews of the movie, most all bad, the latest, on a nationally broadcast syndicated television show had two critics listing it among their worst films of the year claiming it wasn’t for children. After seeing the movie I was pleasantly surprised, while not the best Disney film I have seen, it was far from the worst and it was actually ended up being quite enjoyable.
The premise of Mars Needs Moms is that an evil female Martian, called The Supervisor, voiced by Mindy Sterling, and has decided, unbeknownst to the other Martians to separate the male from female Martian babies because she sees little value in family. The female Martians are raised by robots and the males sent to the trash pits. Over the years the Martians have gathered or abducted Human Moms who ultimately die. The young human Milo, voiced by Seth Green, has issues with his mother, voiced by Joan Cusack. The Supervisor observes the issues and decides to abduct Milo’s mom. Milo sees the abduction, tries to save his mom, and gets trapped on the spaceship to Mars. While there he attempts to save his mother. He comes into contact with another human, Gribble, voiced by Dan Fogler who assists him in trying to save his mother.
One of the things Mars Needs Moms has been critiqued for by some is its dark nature, not only in its themes, but also in the colorization on screen. The film shot for a 3-D experience actually was quite nice on the Blu-ray rendition. Using a format which had the actors acting out the parts and having their images and expressions animated was quite nice. I was also impressed and pleased with the acting, and the dramatic nature of the film. The director, Simon Wells takes a difficult theme and turns it into a decent story.
One of the things the critics got right in their reviews is that it really is not a children’s film. There are scary moments and difficult themes which involve death, and abduction. These themes are rather difficult for young viewers, Seth Green, and especially Dab Fogler as Gribble do very nice jobs in their respective roles and we do see both characters grow. In their growth we see and learn about their past, especially in the case of Gribble. As the characters develop we see a change of attitude in Milo as he learns to accept the sacrifices his mother has made. By the time we get conclusion of the film, we feel for him, we also contemplate and think about our own relationships with those we love.
Mars Needs Moms address the most basic of human needs, the need for family, understanding and an appreciation for those who make sacrifices for others out of love. We see that sacrifice not just in the willingness of Milo to recognize his wrongs, but to recognize his need to change. We also see the love of a mother in her willingness to sacrifice for her son. As others observe sacrificial love they as well are moved to the point of change in their own lives, enough so to change their environment.
Many often refer to God as a man and male attributes and characteristics but there are several instances in the Bible that refer to the motherly nature of God. We see a glimpse of what that entails in the character of Mom. She is quick to discipline but she does so in love. She is also quick to sacrifice for her son and those she loves, in fact, all she does she does out of love. This is a reminder to the love God, no matter the situation or circumstance. That doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes have difficult times, even punishment, but it is always done out of a selfless love to improve our lives.
I found myself liking this movie far more than I thought I would. It isn’t a great film, but it isn’t bad either. Disney has always done a good job at providing quality entertainment and quality DVD’s, while this isn’t their best effort it isn’t bad. The package I reviewed came complete with a Digital Copy, a Standard DVD, a Blu-ray version and a Blu-ray 3-D version. There is a quality transfer with terrific sound and ample special features. Due to the quality of the special features and the complete package I found the DVD one worth owning. With the appropriate themes of family, respect, and appreciation of those who love you, the themes are worth visiting, and revisiting. While this movie isn’t for very small children, I think older children and parents will appreciate it. I have watched it twice already and fully expect to see it again. That said, one of the worst movies of the year? I don’t think so.
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