Mars Needs Moms So Does Earth
By Skip Sheffield
Hey there single moms, here is just the movie for you.
“Mars Needs Moms” celebrates all mothers, single or married, but I think it has special meaning for women struggling to fill the role of both parents.
“Mars Needs Moms” is a motion-capture animated comedy from the makers of “Polar Express.” I saw a preview of the movie at the giant screen IMAX Theatre in Fort Lauderdale with a single mom and her two young sons. I think it is fair to say we all loved the film, young and old.
Joan Cusack stars as the mother of Milo, a typically unappreciative nine-year-old boy who gives mom a hard time over his chores.
Mom isn’t even given a name in this contemporary fable by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. There is a dad, but he is mostly absent.
Breathed won a 1987 Pulitzer prize for political cartooning with his popular strip “Bloom County,” and he retired the strip at the peak of its popularity in 1989.
There are political references in “Mars Needs Moms,” but most of them will fly over the heads of little kids.
The story is set in the present, with very funny blasts from the past adults will appreciate.
Milo is played by Seth Green for his motion and Seth Robert Dusky for his voice.
After complaining about taking out the garbage, Milo blurts out, “My life would be so much better if I didn’t have a mom at all.”
Milo doesn’t realize it, but he just said the magic words. Martians monitor human activity on planet Earth you see, and every so often they swoop down in a space ship and abduct an ideal mother. Milo’s mom is a perfect candidate. When mom is snatched, Milo desperately tries to save her, and he becomes an inadvertent stowaway on the space ship.
Life in Mars is a regimented nightmare. Martian boys and girls are artificially created and the sexes are separated at birth. Girls become sexless worker bees and soldiers and boys become hairy ape-like creatures forced to live in the planet’s giant subterranean garbage dump. The whole planet is ruled by the elderly dictator known as the Supervisor (Mindy Sterling), a nasty, spirit-killing tyrant.
Milo learns all this after he slides down a garbage chute to evade his pursuers and meets Gribble (Dan Folger motion and voice), who is king of the garbage heap.
Gribble is a jolly man whose mom was abducted years ago, when Ronald Reagan was President. Gribble had been part of Reagan’s “Secret Astronaut Program,” and he has been stuck in that era ever since.
Visually “Mars Needs Moms” is a delight, jam-packed with action, colorful costumes that parody the 1970s and 1980s and a musical soundtrack that captures the delicious retro flair.
I’ll let you guess the payoff, but parents and especially moms can rest assured their children will see them in a new, more appreciative light. See it with your kids. If you don’t have a kid, borrow one.