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Movie Review

Mars Needs Moms

MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action and peril.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Family Animation 3D
Length:
1 hr. 28 min.
Year of Release:
2011
USA Release:
March 11, 2011 (wide—3,000+ theaters)
DVD: August 9, 2011
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Aliens (extraterrestrials)

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer

Are we alone in the universe? Answer

Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer


importance obedience to parents

death of a parent

anxiety from parent-child separation

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Joan Cusack—Milo's Mom
Dan Fogler—Gribble
Breckin Meyer—Alien
Elisabeth Harnois—Ki
Tom Everett Scott—Milo's Dad
Billy Dee Williams—Alien
more »
Director: Simon Wells
Producer: Steven J. Boyd—producer
Jack Rapke—producer
Steve Starkey—producer
Peter M. Tobyansen—line producer
Robert Zemeckis—producer
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“Mom needs a little space.”

Copyrighted, Walt Disney Pictures

Milo is just your average, everyday boy. He has a mom (played by Joan Cusack) and a dad who love him very much. After deliberately disobeying his mother he is sent to his room and tells his mother that he wishes he had never had her as a mom. After a long period of time, Milo decides that he shouldn’t have said what he said and decides to go and apologize to his mother for how he reacted. As he approaches his mom’s bedroom door he sees a flashing light, opening the door to find his mother being abducted by Martians from the planet Mars. He races after the space-ship and climbs aboard in search for his mother. Along the way he runs into another human living on Mars, Gribble. Gribble informs Milo that the Martians are kidnapping moms from Earth (who can properly raise their children) so that they can raise the Martian children by extracting the moms’ memories and programming them into their “nanny-bots.” It’s up to Milo, Ki (a friendly Martian), and Gribble to stop the Martians and save Milo’s mom.

Disney has been making movies for a long time. I grew up with Disney and remember the classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, etc. I am usually never disappointed when I see a Disney movie and I definitely wasn’t disappointed when I saw their latest installment, “Mars Needs Moms.” This movie made me laugh, it held me in suspense, it did everything a Disney movie should do and for that I applaud “Mars Needs Moms”.

Overall, I was impressed with the film’s quality. The graphics were astounding and so, how should I say, “life-like.” The story was simple which is why it made for such a great children’s movie. Joan Cusack puts in an outstanding role as Milo’s mother, though her scenes are very brief. Cusack was born to play this role. What makes Cusack such a great actress is that she can take a small role, such as Milo’s mother, and turn it into a spectacular performance. I was also quite impressed with our protagonist Milo, voiced by the popular Seth Dusky. I have also seen a few films made by Dusky, such as “Old Dogs,” and have never been disappointed in his performances. Even Dan Fogler put in a humorous performance as Gribble. The music was just right for this film, with a couple exceptions to a few scenes. In general, this is a good film.

objectionable content

This is the part of the review I never enjoy writing, especially when it’s on a movie I enjoyed viewing. Nonetheless, there are some scenes and issues that I have to share with children and their parents. Violence: There was a moderate amount of violence for this film. In the beginning of this film Milo falls down a mountain of trash. In addition there are a few scenes in which the Martians are trying to shoot Milo and Gribble but they are mild and brief. There is a scene where a mother is “disintegrated” and lastly there is a scene where Gribble is electrocuted.

Profanity: There was some profanity but it was very mild and words that you would only hear on the playground at school for the most part. These words include, “cha-chee,” “jerk,” “idiot,” “freakazoid.” Also, there are a couple statements made about botox and about “always have a change of underwear”

Sex/Nudity. My biggest concern was the appearance of the Martians. The female Martians wear little to clothing, except the guards. The Martian babies are also naked. Towards the end of the film, there is a Martian baby peeing on another adult Martian.

spiritual lessons/morals

In the beginning of the film, Milo is disrespectful towards his mother. We can see that he loves his mother very much, but that he, like many children, doesn’t understand that with love comes obedience. Fortunately he realizes how much he has love, respect, and even obey his mother at the end of the film. This message is not only geared towards the children in our lives, but even to those of us who are “grown-ups” and have parents who still live among us as well. The book of Deuteronomy says this:

“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord you God is giving you” Deuteronomy 5:16 (NIV).

“Mars Needs Moms” is Disney’s latest attempt, since Wall-E, to entertain children on space and the possibility of life outside of Earth. This movie was cute and I can happily recommend this film to parents and children over the age of 7 (due to violent scenes). Children under this age will likely become confused and scared, as I noticed from children in the movie theater. Thank you Disney for bringing clean, family films back into Hollywood’s vision. Note: I did not see this film in Digital 3D. However, I feel that viewers will still enjoy this film without the 3D glasses.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—The first family-friendly—actually pro-family—thing I have seen from Disney in years. This is good. Chock full of good stuff—realistic human interactions (like rude behavior to parents) followed by realistic consequences (harming relationships, and your conscience). What it takes to make things right.

I’m a dad, and I look for good material to show my daughter—entertainment has lots of damage and very rarely real value. I really enjoyed this. It was beautiful. The science was a little contrived, but it’s kids animation, not the latest episode of “Star Trek.” It validates marriage. It shows the cost of single parenthood. It shows the cost of cowardice, and the reward of fighting for the noble things that we should fight for.

I like how they handle the “bad-guy” in the end… with mercy, and a very appropriate justice. I like how it emphasizes the value of understanding, true understanding, in decision making—by using the costs of ignorance.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mike, age 37 (USA)
Positive—We just rented this movie last night, and I had read the reviews here… so I thought I’d give this a try. My children are 6 and 4, and this movie absolutely kept them highly entertained, and it was a clean movie. There were a couple of very minor things that I didn’t like… me being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud. But, I have to say that I watched the movie 2 times, and there were NO naked female aliens. The only nudity was the “hatchlings”—The female, Key, (or however you spell it) if you look closely, you will see she has on clothing. It’s skin-tight, granted, but all the adult aliens are clothed.

This was a lovely movie. I almost teared up when the Mom put her oxygen helmet on her son. It was a very touching moment. There are great moral lessons learned here and I thought Gribble was awesome… The mild violence (or “peril” would be a better word) and aliens did not scare my 4-year-old or 6 year old. And this is coming from a family that has no cable / satellite TV. We have DVDs that are carefully monitored and chosen.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Laura C, age 36 (USA)
Positive—I really liked this movie, as did my 3, 5 and 9 year olds. I hadn’t seen it in the theaters—it just didn’t look interesting. I rented it and wish in hind sight we’d seen it in the theaters. It’s nice to take the kids out to the movies, because there can be quite a wait for an appropriate one.

This one had me tearing up at the end. I was also moved by the mom tearing up by the son being mean to her—the often thankless job of motherhood. Another thing—there was a dad! So often there is no dad in many kids stories, but, even though he was a tiny part of the film, the role was there.

***POSSIBLE SPOILER*** And Gribble got to help in the end, to kind of bring that closure to the hurt of not being able to help his own mom.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Andrea, age 38 (USA)
Positive—We rented this movie for our children, ages 11, 9, 7, and 5. Other than a few inappropriate words, such as idiot and jerk, the language was fine. These comments appeared maybe one time. The action was intense, a little too much for my 5 year old. There was also a scene in which someone gets disintegrated, and that was a little confusing for our youngest.

Although Milo is disrespectful to his mom in the beginning, I really liked the fact that he was remorseful fairly quickly and tried to do the right thing and apologize. I consider our family fairly conservative in the movies we allow our children to watch, and always look at the Christian reviews before we rent DVD’s. Overall, I would recommend this movie for ages 7 and up because of the intense action.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tracie, age 41 (USA)
Neutral

none

Negative
Negative—We took our children, 10, 7 and 4 to this movie. Our 7 and 4 year old children were very disturbed and frightened by much of it. Our 10 year old thought it was just okay. Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger kids. As for my wife and I, we left pretty disappointed. In my opinion, this movie has a lot of unnecessary darkness in it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Brad, age 50 (USA)
Negative—We watched this movie with our three sons ages 10, 8, and 6. All three were in tears and very disturbed during one part of the movie. The scene was too explicit; our children would not go to bed alone that evening and just wanted to cuddle with Mom. For sensitive children, this movie is too much. They understood the sacrifice the mother was willing to make for her son and were over-wrought by sympathy for the boy. I rely heavily on this Web site for movie recommendations and felt this movie was wrongly described as a fun family film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: / Moviemaking quality:
—Kimberly, age 35 (USA)
Negative—We watched this movie with our 4 boys, ages 12, 10, 7 and 5, because the reviews on this and another Christian review site seemed to emphasize the positives quite a bit. We thought it would be a nice family movie for us. I’m really sorry we watched it. During, and right after, the movie, the younger two were quite worried. It was way too intense and dark for our boys. Even the older two weren’t big fans of it. I suppose it made them be thankful for me, but I don’t want their gratitude to come out of fear.

Tonight, two months after watching it, my seven year old came out of bed and asked me for a hug. He told me he couldn’t stop thinking about “Mars Needs Moms”. We talked about how it wasn’t real, but he was still worried and wanted to come sleep by me. And he’s normally a very happy-go-lucky, rough and tumble, confident boy. After we talked, he said to me, “Can you go to the computer and write that “Mars Needs Moms” is bad?” So, here I am. Thumbs Down! Time for me to go give my boys a hug. :)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Joy, age 40 (USA)
Comments from young people
—Just watched this, and I seemed to enjoy it a bit. I like the animation, and I thought it was worth a 1 hr. and 28 min. watch. The only thing that bored me was the plot. I like the many lessons that Milo has learned, but I just didn’t like how quick the movie went by. It felt rushed, but I enjoyed it none the less. I also didn’t really find anything offensive, so it was GOOD!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Andre, age 15 (Canada)