Mars Needs Moms [Blu-Ray] Simon Wells

Mars Needs Moms [Blu-Ray] Simon Wells
You have to admire Robert Zemeckis's bloody mindedness. Ever since he started his attempts to create motion-captured animated movies back in 2004 with The Polar Express, people have criticized the films for their creepy depictions of humans, but he stuck with it. Nevertheless, the infamous "uncanny valley" has turned out to be far too deep for even the Oscar winner to climb out of, and that remains the case with Mars Needs Moms. Based on the Berkeley Breathed book of the same name, it tells the tale of nine-year-old Milo, who constantly fights against his mother's requests to do chores and eat his vegetables, and, after one such fight, wishes he didn't have a mother at all. Almost immediately, she's abducted by Martians, who value her parenting skills, so Milo hitches a ride to Mars on a rocket in order to rescue her. Naturally, the entire rescue isn't straightforward, involving all kinds of shenanigans, including help from some Avatar-esque aliens and another human named Gribble, who's had a similar experience. It shouldn't spoil the movie for anybody to reveal that it all ends up happily ever after, but not before some rather scary, dark moments, for a Disney film. Even without the usual motion-capture issues, Mars Needs Moms is far from perfect. The pacing is way off because there's only about 30 minutes of story stretched out to an hour-and-a-half. Some of the set pieces do work well though, thanks to some tight direction by Simon Wells, and it's definitely the best of the Zemeckis animated films to date. But considering it cost more than $150 million to make and barely made $20 million domestically, chances are it could be one of the last motion-captured movies in a long time. The Blu-Ray edition of the movie does look good. The people aren't as soulless as in The Polar Express, but it's the environments that are the most impressive element, with an incredible amount of detail, and that eye candy helps compensate for some of the other issues. The main extras included on the disc are an audio commentary with director Wells, plus Seth Green and Dan Fogler, and a picture-in-picture, behind-the-scenes look at motion capture, which only goes to show just how elaborate the process is. The 30 minutes of deleted scenes are inconsequential, as the film is already overlong. (Disney)