x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Mars Needs Moms: a visual treat with a sappy plot

Its revolutionary use of motion-capture techniques makes Mars Needs Moms visually stunning, but in the end this family-friendly adventure disappoints with a sentimental storyline.

Mars Needs Moms

Director: Simon Wells

Starring: Seth Green, Seth Dusky, Joan Cusack, Dan Fogler

Produced by Robert Zemeckis, and using the motion-capture process championed by the Back to the Future director, Mars Needs Moms is the tale of Milo (Green and Dusky), a nine-year-old boy who constantly clashes with his overwrought mother (Joan Cusack). Tired of being told what to do, Milo wishes his mother didn't exist. His wish is unexpectedly granted when Martians come to Earth and steal her, with a plan to populate their planet with her "mom-ness". He now must find a way to rescue her, with only the slovenly Earthling Gribble (Fogler) and the feisty Martian Ki (Elisabeth Harnois) to help him.

On the positive side, the jokes between Milo and Gribble are effective, and there are a few 1980s movie references for any parents in the audience. While motion capture has been dogged by criticism of the lack of emotion in the renderings, the film is visually amazing, and makes the most of the 3D platform. Mars Needs Moms attempts to dazzle you with its technical prowess only to cling disappointingly to an overly sentimental, morally dubious storyline. That said, as a disposable family adventure it more than fits the bill, with the 3D and fast-moving script proving just enough to get even cynical adults through.