a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Mar, 2011

Mars Needs Moms!

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy

I had the good fortune to be given tickets to a special preview screening of Mars Needs Moms last weekend. It was, in a word (or four) A Very Fun Movie. Today is the official release date, just in time for March Break. A perfect thing to do with the family if you ask me.

Both girls really enjoyed it. In fact, I looked over to look at Emma during the movie and she was LITERALLY at the edge of her seat. Sarah described it as “awesome” … and was rather wide-eyed upon exit.

When I first saw the trailer I wasn’t sure if MNM was going to be a film I’d like. Here’s the general premise:

“Mars Needs Moms” showcases nine-year-old Milo’s (Seth Green) quest to save his mom (Joan Cusack) from Martians—a wild adventure in Disney Digital 3D™ and IMAX® 3D that involves stowing away on a spaceship, navigating an elaborate, multi-level planet and taking on the alien nation and their leader (Mindy Sterling).

But you know what, I liked it. Joan Cusack voiced a great mom. Here’s a fun clip:

That still cracks me up.

This is a great definition of a family film. Kids will understand it from Milo’s perspective, and parents will see it from the mom’s perspective… and everyone will enjoy themselves.

Mark thought it was predictable. Of course it is. It’s a children’s adventure film! It goes without saying that there will be a satisfactory resolution at the end, although you won’t be able to predict how they solve their problem and what twists they will encounter along the way.

Some seemingly random points:

  • For some reason I found the quality of the 3D print disappointing. I’m not sure if the theatre messed up the brightness levels but it was DARK. Add to that a pair of 3-D glasses and it’s even darker, making to hard to see some of the details. Call me a snob, but personally, I would have left – that’s how distracting it was – but this is hard to do when kids are involved.
  • Speaking of 3D, it is hard to wipe tears away behind clunky plastic glasses. Don’t judge me. :)
  • Other than the issue with the brightness, the quality of the animation was superb and reminded me of “The Polar Express,” and especially “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” (MNM’s producer Robert Zemeckis wrote, directed and produced both of those films).
  • Milo meets an underground earthman named Gribble (Dan Fogler). Gribble is, essentially, a kid who never grew up. He’s really well animated. Zemeckis deserves an award for best animation of a human. Wow.
  • Also, the martian matriarch is very weird and reminds me of a screechy 150-year old version of Eartha Kitt, which might freak out very young viewers. (Remember Eartha’s voice work in Emperor’s New Groove? It was hilarious, and ENG remains one of the most underrated Disney movies of all time.)

An interesting note from tthe MNM press release:

Berkeley Breathed, a Pulitzer-Prize winner for his comic strip “Bloom County,” is the author and illustrator of the book “Mars Needs Moms.” The story was inspired by a particular moment of disagreement that took place between his son Milo and his wife.


 Visit the official website for previews and games.

I wish I had tickets to give away, but I do have a Mars Needs Moms Prize Pack for someone. It contains:

  • Four MARS NEEDS MOMS t-shirts (2 Adult, 2 kids)
  • Mars Needs Moms poster
  • Mars Needs Moms tattoos
  • Mars Needs Moms Backpack

First Canadian family who wants it, gets it. :)

7 Responses to "Mars Needs Moms!"

1 | Liisa

March 11th, 2011 at 2:25 pm


I want it! My kids will eat it up.

2 | binki

March 11th, 2011 at 2:56 pm


PLEASE ADD MY NAME ! Sounds great. Too much for a 6 year old?

3 | andrea

March 11th, 2011 at 4:45 pm


Sorry binki, Liisa was the first one up. Next time! :)

4 | Jm

March 12th, 2011 at 2:29 pm


Sounds like fun. Do Moms need Mars too? Some days it feels that way!

5 | ken

March 12th, 2011 at 11:47 pm


Too much for a 6 year old?

not at all. I took my 6 year old and she loved it. She even leaned over to my wife a couple of times to explain what was going on.

6 | andrea

March 13th, 2011 at 9:29 am


ken – that’s good to know… thank you for sharing. Hilarious about your daughter sharing plot points with your wife. :)

7 | Alexandra

March 16th, 2011 at 9:25 am


We saw this movie, and I fell in love with it.

I went with my 3 boys, and I found myself wiping away a tear at the end.

VERY well written.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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