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DVD Review: Mars Needs Moms (Two-Disc Blu-ray / DVD Combo)

I'm kinda on the fence about Mars Needs Moms. I didn't see it in the theater, so I missed out on the 3D effects, but after seeing it on DVD I really don't think it would have influenced my opinion. The story wasn't bad, and I loved the design of the aliens. Their language especially sounded quite realistic, not like an alteration of some other human language. I'm thinking that I probably would have actually liked this film a lot more if the animation hadn't tried to be so realistic, because that realism make it feel extremely creepy.

It was pretty obvious from the get go that the human animations were motion captured, and that includes all the facial expressions. But the character designs weren't made to be photo-realistic, so this extremely life-like animation on faces that were drawn by people just felt very wrong. Also, the main character of the story is a nine year old boy named Milo, yet it was 37 year old Seth Green in the motion capture suit that animated him, and it showed. I noticed right away that nine year old Milo didn't move like a kid.

The story is about a group of female aliens who come to Earth and kidnap Milo's mom so that her experience in child rearing can help them raise their own offspring. Milo, after having a fight with his mom earlier on and feeling bad about it, goes to apologize and witnesses this abduction. He races after her and ends up secretly hitching a ride aboard the ship. When they arrive on the home world (which is Mars, obviously), he is quickly put inside a prison cell pod thing. Of course it'd be a pretty boring movie if he was stuck in there the whole time, so he ends up escaping with the help of an unseen friend.

His escape leads him to the underworld, or the lower level, whatever you want to call it. It reminded me a lot of Junkion, the planet of junk from The Transformers: The Movie, as there are mounds of junk everywhere, and it's all very detailed and realistic feeling. The realism works well with the environments and the aliens, just not the humans. There are aliens down here as well, but they seem more primitive and friendly. It's down here that Milo meets his mysterious helper, another human by the name of Gribble. And it's from Gribble that Milo learns he only has until sunrise to rescue his mom, or it will be too late.

The rest of the film is Milo's quest to rescue his mom, and it's a decent adventure with some twists and new friends.There are even some truly emotional moments. I just wish they would have hand-animated the human faces, I think that would have helped me to enjoy the film more than I did. I think this could have been a really good movie if I could have connected more with the main character instead of constantly having this awkward feeling every time he was on screen.

The DVD contains two good extras, one called Fun With Seth and another called Marian 101. Fun With Seth is a behind the scenes video footage of Seth Green being silly mixed with short interviews with people about their thoughts on Seth. It's a funny but short feature, coming in about about two and a half minutes. Martian 101 is behind the scenes and interviews about how they came up with the Martian language. It was pretty interesting, but also short, coming in at just under three minutes. If you have a Blu-ray player, then the Blu-ray disc has more features such as deleted scenes, an extended opening, Life on Mars which is said to be a full motion-capture experience with audio commentary.


Martian 101

Extraterrestrial Terminology

Launched Into Space (Film Clip)

Meeting Ki (Film Clip)

Have You Seen My Mom (Film Clip)

Meeting Gribble (Film Clip)

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