Hey, I’m only a mommy blogger, trying to raise four kids who all happened to be born within a year. My second job is doing frank content-rich reviews about family friendly topics for my readers, so here goes my own take on this latest Disney project.
Disney’s latest motion-capture film Mars Needs Moms is based on the book Mars Needs Moms! by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Berkeley Breathed. The title was inspired by an interaction between the author/illustrator's real-life son, also named Milo, and wife.
The screen version is a wild and funny adventure in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D directed by Simon Wells (The Polar Express, The Time Machine, Prince of Egypt) and co-written by Wells and his wife Wendy Wells, who are parents of two daughters.
A bit of trivia: Simon is the great grandson of H.G. Wells, the science fiction author of The War of the Worlds and many other great classics.
The film -- made in partnership with ImageMovers -- is produced by Academy Award®-winning director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump). To capture the action on film, called performance capture, thespians wore special body suits that were marked with dots that were then used to map out the characters movements and facial expressions, using Avatar-style computerized animation.
“Our actors wear sensors,” Zemeckis explains. “They perform the entire movie using their bodies, voices, faces as if they were on stage—it’s like a black-box theater. We captured the performances in 3D, taking the emotional essence and wrapping settings, character appearances and creatures around those performances.”
The story begins with a mishap involving a child named Milo and broccoli – a vegetable I recently used to illustrate my DealPop guest post about kids eating healthy.
Watching the scene from the planet Mars, Milo’s mom is singled out for her all-around model parenting skills, resulting in her abduction by Martians. That's because the Red Planet’s nanny-bots need a parenting primer to properly raise their own hatchlings that are sprouting like potatoes back home.
The character Milo character is acted out by two people: Seth Green (Austin Powers Trilogy) does the action with the youngster’s voice coming from 11 year-old child performer Seth Dursky (TV commercials & Nickelodeon's Big Time Rush).
Two interesting tidbits. First, the name "Seth" in Hebrew translates to "gift" in English. Second, the fact that the two actors share the same first name is purely coincidental.
Other major members of the cast are Dan Fogler (Gribble), Joan Cusack (Milo’s Mom), Elisabeth Harnois (the rebel, Martian Ki), Mindy Sterling (the Supervisor), Kevin Cahoon (Wingnut). Fogler, a Tony Award® winner and star of Kung Fu Panda also currently stars in Take Me Home Tonight an R-rated movie that is definitely not suitable for underage youth.
My kids had very different reactions to the movie, ranging from just saying that it was boring to identifying with the badly behaved boy to showing empathy for the mom. I attribute this to the fact that my children are 13 year-old triplets + one more all born within a year -- so they are at the upper edge of the audience demographic for this PG movie.
Image from Walt Disney Pictures 2011
Disney’s movies -- whether rated G or PG – certainly are notorious for their messages when it comes to the relationships of parents (and in some cases extended family) with their young.
Think the film The Lion King, for example. Walt Disney Pictures has historically been well regarded for double but parallel storylines that make movies possible for kids and parents to watch side by side.
But, on the other, as moms (and many dads too) we have a natural need to feel needed and to nurture the children we are raising whether they are biologically-related, adopted, or fostered. So, the challenge for us adults is to balance being there for our children, even when they’re rejecting us.
For most of the movie, rearing children is seen strictly as the domain of the robotic women who work very hard, but fail to succeed in meeting the needs of their charges. As a consequence the results are disastrous for Mars.
Which is where I want to bring up the grandparents. That is because in today’s community, especially here in the U.S., there are now Baby Boomers who are grandmas and grandpas raising their kids’ kids in record numbers.
Burbank Police Cars, Downtown Burbank, 2011
iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas, MommyBlogExpert.com
Based on experience, I don’t think I’ve seen more imagery or heard more 1960s slang lines spoken in any animated feature since 1969 than in Mars Needs Moms. I mean, when was the last time you saw a psychedelic VW bus or for that matter heard any one say, “Right on,” or “Dig it,” or refer to our law enforcement as, “The fuzz?”
Mars Needs Moms offers something that kids, moms and dads, and grandparents can all take home. These are truly gems of wisdom to prize above all else.
I guess it really takes a family and a village to raise kids to become contributing members of society. To borrow a 60s phrase and line from this film, "To give that crazy love thing to each other." That and more dads, like my hubbie, who are involved in their children's lives and who actually do change diapers and help us weary mommies with our babies.
Holding 2 of Our Infant Triplets After Changing Their Diapers
Vintage photo by Janis Brett Elspas, MommyBlogExpert.com
That, in a nutshell, is why I think kids 8-12 as well as parents and grandparents of this age group should go see Mars Needs Moms. Best of all, unlike its purported competition also opening today -- Sony's Battle: L.A. and Warner Brothers' Red Riding Hood which are both rated PG-13 -- Mars Needs Moms is rated PG.
FTC Disclosure: I received movie passes for my family to see Mars Needs Moms with me from SocialMoms and Walt Disney Pictures to facilitate this movie review. MommyBlogExpert did not receive any payment or other compensation related to this post. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.