Mars Needs Moms
Moms. They tirelessly work to keep everything organized, taken care of, and ensure their children are well behaved. At least, that’s what they do on the surface, which is all Mars wants to know about. That’s right, I said Mars. See, unbeknownst to the people of earth, Martians have been watching our mothers for decades. And they are looking for one specific trait; the ability to keep order in her world and do it well.
Why, you might ask? Because, instead of their children being raised by a mother, the Martian children are raised by nannybots programmed from the memories and maternal instincts of an earth mother. It’s actually quite simple to do, if you’re okay with sacrificing her in order to get those memories programmed into your nannybots. The downside for the Martians, though, is that the programming only lasts so long before the nannybots fry and they need a new breed of mother.
Enter Milo’s mom. She’s really good at what she does, despite the fact that Milo gets tire of having her rag on him to take out the trash, eat his broccoli, go to bed- you get the picture. So, in a moment of passion, Milo tells his mom that his life would be better off without her. The problem with that, though, is that he doesn’t really believe it. So when the Martians come to abduct his mother as the perfect new programming device for their hatchlings, Milo’s not going to take it lying down, so to speak. No one’s going to take his mom. She’s his mom, after all!
But Mars is a treacherous place, and he’s going to have to convince Gribble, a fellow human who has been stranded on Mars ever since his mom was abducted and killed in a similar situation 20 years ago, to help him, and maybe even change the way the aliens view families and mothers.
While the movie starts out with a kid who is very much like any other kid- he whines, he doesn’t do what he’s told, and he’s disrespectful as all children are- we soon find out that Milo has something special. He has a mom who loves him, and he’s not going to let that go. So Milo begins smashing through the multilevel underground city of Mars in an effort to save her, even going so far as to put his own life on the line for her by jumping in from of a laser blast for her.
Central to the theme of the movie is the importance of a loving family (shockingly enough we see that Milo is very close to his father, completing the well rounded, and loving nature of his homelife), specifically targeting the mom in this instance. As Milo lists the thing his mother selflessly does for him, while trying to describe to some of the aliens what a mother is—she cooks, cleans, gives hugs and kisses, tucks him in at night—he comes to the realization that all these things she does, she does because she loves him.
As for Milo’s mother, we hear about how much she loves Milo, and all the thing she does for him, but we see that on best display when, while attempting to rescue her, Milo’s oxygen helmet shatters (we see him begin to gasp for air) and his mother removes her own lifeline, the oxygen helmet, in an effort to save her son. Going so far as to break off the toggle that would allow him to take it off his head and give it back to her. She is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to see her son live.
The family structure on Mars is messed up. The male Martians have been driven to the waste disposal sections of Mars’ underground society, speaking quite clearly about how the females have been raised to view them. The babies are raised by nannybots without love or warmth, and they are all ruled by the Supervisor. However, while this system is certainly messed up, it is never lauded as a good thing.
The violence is minimized to laser beams bouncing all over the place, so there is nothing to worry about there, but we certainly have some intense moments in the film. As stated above, we see first Milo begin to suffocate, and then his mother, producing a scene that had my own Mother’s water works going. We learn of Gribble’s tragic past, and see him trying to save his mom, only to watch her be vaporized (offscreen).
The worst thing you will hear in this movie is some mild name calling consisting of words like dummy and jerk, and a couple explanations of nuts.
Also worth noting is some mild bathroom humor. The cat vomits after eating broccoli (which Milo was supposed to eat), Gribble needs a new pair of underwear after a laser is shot near his feet, and the childlike romance between Gribble and Ki make his robotic dog vomit nuts and bolts.
The animation is incredible, done in the performance-capture technology (think, a Christmas Carol), and the voice choices were spot on. I was entertained early on, despite thinking the plot of the story sounded really out there, and I connected with the story emotionally, especially when we see the sacrifice Milo’s mother is willing to make.
Honestly, the worst thing that can be said about this movie is what I just said. The premise was really weird! But, once you get into it, it is amazing how okay you are with the premise. Even my Daddy, who is rather hard to sell on such things, liked the movie, and didn’t care about the odd premise, in the end.
But best of all, moms are never made light of in the film. They are placed on a seat of honor. The message shines clearly. Families are essential, and we couldn’t live without moms.