Mars Needs Moms Movie Review–Mix Of Cliche And Awesome
I can’t tell you how excited I was to see that Mars Needs Moms was coming out. Created by one of the greatest newspaper cartoonists of all time, Berkeley Breathed (of Bloom County, Outland and Opus), it was great to see something like this come along. But would the movie live up to the greatness Bloom County wrought? The folks out at Disney sent a copy over, and the end result was a serious surprise.
Mars Needs Moms follows Milo, a little boy who’s not exactly happy with his mother these days. A little too much of that eat your broccoli / take out the trash sort of thing has left him a bit soured on it all. But when a horde of Martians abducts his mother to serve in their employ (ironically enough, the Martians actually select his mother because she told him to take out the trash, and he did it), he realizes that he needs her back, and badly. How badly? Badly enough to stage a one-boy invasion of the Red Planet. But he’ll get some help from surprising sources, and he just may have enough skill, courage, and help to make it through Mars and liberate his mom.
Admittedly, the first ten minutes or so are a little too Home Alone for comfort, but after that somewhat shaky start, the full Breathed charm is going to kick in, especially when we meet Reagan-era space traveller Gribble. For those not familiar with Bloom County, that was when Breathed was best. The man knows his eighties, and having Gribble involved is almost like having Portnoy as an astronaut. It’s terrific.
It’s a little on the cliche side, and I’m figuring that’s a bit of that Disney impact shining through, but at the same time, there’s plenty of quality action footage and a lot of sci-fi joy that’s very much Breathed. In fact, by the tail end of this, there’s going to be a good dose of doubt as to whether or not the main character will even survive. It will actually manage to be shades of Total Recall, just nowhere near so graphic.
Mars Needs Moms is actually something of a surprise, with bits of the cliche mixed in with some pretty exciting stuff. If you can forgive the one, then you’ll really get a bang out of the other. And thankfully, the cliche is in relatively small doses against the much more exciting science fiction action sequences, and that makes the whole much more palatable.
The Screenhead Ten Scale lands Mars Needs Moms a seven out of ten; there’s a little more here cliche and overdone than I’d like, but there’s also plenty of good stuff here that will make it well worth watching.