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Mars Needs Moms (3D)


Stars: Seth Green, Joan Cusack, Seth Dusky (voice), Dan Fogler, Elisabeth Harnois, Mindy Sterling, Kevin Cahoon, Tom Everett Scott

Director: Simon Wells

In spite of mediocre movies like Clash of the Titans, Hollywood still doesn’t appear to have realised that filming in 3D doesn’t guarantee a good movie. I’m not objecting to 3D per se – properly used, as in Drive Angry, for instance, the technique can add interesting depth (visual, that is, not necessarily dramatic) to the story.

Here 3D filming is perfectly acceptable but adds little to a flat story that has its 9-year-old protagonist Milo ending up on Mars when his mother is abducted by Martians who “plan to steal her mom-ness for their own young”. And, naturally, Milo proceeds to save his mom, aided and abetted by obese gadget-happy Earthman Gribble who lives underground on the Red Planet and a rebel Martian girl called Ki.

Producer Robert Zemeckis employed motion picture capture for The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol and uses it again here, with Seth Green ‘playing’ Milo. The process works well enough here which is more than I can say for director Wells’ screenplay (with Wendy Wells), based on the novel by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed) which comes over as more creepy than entertaining, especially when young Milo is fighting to survive in the oxygen-free Martian atmosphere.

The animation is excellent, the Martian backgrounds are vivid but the story is largely glum. Youngsters may enjoy the massed Martians and cliff-hanging sequences but, in spite of the expected happy ending, the overall atmosphere could be a tad scary for younger children. Mars may need moms, but many moms might consider their kids don’t really need Mars Needs Moms.

(Wells, incidentally, is the great-grandson of H G Wells, author of the ultimate Mars story War of The Worlds).

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Technicolor.
88 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Apr 2011