The first theatrical release of 2011 was Mars Needs Moms, which, wikipedia tells me, tanked epically. After having watched the movie, I understand why that was the case but lets not get ahead of ourselves here.
The movie starts out – you may have guessed it – on Mars. There’s a NASA robot driving around on the surface but the interesting thing is going on underground. There are weird ape like creatures hatching from the ground and it’s a bit creepy. Two of these grown creatures, I assume they are Martians, talk to each other as they’re observing something. They talk in a weird tongue and I had to fast forward to make sure this wasn’t actually a movie in another language but nope. I guess it’s unimportant what they actually say, hokay then.
The two are actually watching people on earth, families playing with each other and so on. They switch quickly between families until they find the right one, whatever that means.
Cut to that family on earth which consists of a mother nagging her son, Milo, to take the garbage outside. You know, normal mother kid stuff. They look like Sims characters and that’s pretty off putting for me. Just like with A Christmas Carol, I actually don’t enjoy it much to have my Disney characters look to realistic. I prefer the animation of Tangled than this.
Anyway. The father calls to say he won’t get home in time to go to the movies with Milo and so Milo gets to watch Pay-TV after dinner. But Milo makes the cat eat his broccoli which the cat vomits up and Milo is sent to his room. There he throws a little temper tantrum, telling his mother his “life would be so much better if he didn’t have a mom at all”. Wow, while I can understand that sentiment coming from a kid, it also sounds very harsh, hearing it said like this in a movie.
In the night, Milo wakes up and wants to apologise to his mother who is currently being abducted by aliens. Milo follows her outside and somehow manages to get stuck on the outside of the spaceship. Milo ends up inside and sees his mother being put into some kind of capsule.
On Mars, the boy wakes up in a Marian cell and freaks out as everyone would in his position. But also, he goes free from his cell and learns that gravity is lower on Mars than on Earth. Go figure. He goes exploring a little bit but a voice (in English) tells him to go down the trash chute and he eventually does so when the Martians start firing at him. Not very friendly.
Milo lands in a big pile of trash with weird ape like creatures who don’t understand a word he’s saying and generally seems pretty dumb but harmless. He tries to explain to them that he is looking for his mother and then has to explain what a mother is. Only, Milo uses things like “she cleans, vacuums, tucks me in at night”. Ugh. Those are hardly things that make a mother and it’s quite frustrating.
Something grabs Milo and makes him float over the piles of trash into a secret lair of the guy who originally told him to go down the chute. He’s a fat fellow but human and we can all guess how he ended up where he is. I’ll give you a hint, it involves an abducted mother. *yawn*
The guy’s name is Gribble by the way and he shows Milo around a bit. Then Milo sees his mother on screen being prepared for whatever it is they are doing with her. He demands answers from Gribble who explains that every 25 years, the baby Martians hatch and the get raised by nannybots but as the Martians are so bad at raising children, they steal mothers from Earth to transform their abilities into a nannybot. It’s completely bonkers.
Milo, of course, wants to save his mother and Gribble sends the boy on what seems like a fools errand. There’s a lot of commotion and Milo has to run away but he then meets a nice Martian girl who is kind of a rebel herself and how starts helping him. She explains that she learned English from hippie TV shows the superiors streamed from earth and she fell in love with the colours.
Milo explains again about his mother but when he learns that the Martians in charge used him to get to Gribble, he runs to get back to the guy leaving the Martian woman behind.
The lair is down and Milo finds Gribble at the guy’s execution. The Martian woman is also there and helping Milo breaking Gribble out.
Our guys get chased through the trash but end up in a pretty cave that reminds of Goonies, when the kids find the pirate ship full of gold in a cave. Anyway, the cave is awesome and in there, the Martian woman, who’s name is Ki, finds an old painting of a kid being held by his parents and she has a revelatory moment. The old woman in charge always told the Martian’s they couldn’t raise kids but there is proof that it actually worked before.
Oh, also Gribble tells his sad story of when he followed his mother’s abduction and saw her being basically stripped of everything. I know I should feel bad for him and care and all that but no, I can’t bring myself to. The movie is too much all over the place for me to get emotionally invested in.
In the control room of the Martians, the kids are sorted into boys and girls. The boys are sent done to the other men into the trash and the girls will be raised by nannybots. Interesting choices. Generally, I like the portrayal of societies where women are in charge but here it’s used as a sign that it turns pretty bad and I can’t support that.
Ki and Gribble get some flirting on and that may be the best part of this movie, even if it grosses me out a little bit.
My notes say: stuff happens. Okay then. The nannybots get destroyed, oh and Milo’s mother is also freed in the last second possible. But then, as Milo and his mom are running to the spaceship Ki is operating, Milo trips and shatters his breathing helmet. His mother gives him hers and sacrifices her own life but fear not as Gribble, 25 years ago, conveniently dropped a helmet not too far away that still works after lying in soil all those years. Mother and son are safe and end up on the space ship. Oh, and the matriarchy on the planet is brought down through Ki and her explaining about the cave painting.
Everything is peachy. Milo and his mom end up back on earth just in time for the father to get home.
Back on Mars, the underground life has been transformed by Ki who is rocking the colours with Gribble.
Being at the end of done with this movie, I feel a little more gracious towards it but it still wasn’t very good in my opinion. It was predictable as hell and did not enough world building. Also, like I mentioned above, I didn’t like the animation of the humans. Plus, it was weird to start this movie off with the martians talking without subtitles. IDK why that was a thing. So glad to be done with this and never having to revisit it again.