I took the family to see Mars Needs Moms Friday, and for the most part the trepidation I expressed in an earlier post was unwarranted.
Despite some flat/cheesy dialogue I felt the screenplay did a nice job of extending a 700-word book to feature film length. The movie was reasonably consistent with the book, while the new characters and subplots added depth to the original narrative. Even the obligatory kid elements (gadgets, colors, slides, etc.) were generally plot-relevant and less annoying than other adaptations I have had to sit through.
Visually, Mars Needs Moms was impressive, though the human characters still suffer from the “dead-eye” that afflicts so much computer animation. Among the humans, the character Gribble was well animated, but Milo and his Mom left something to be desired. The Martians were interesting enough, though I have to say I found their lower bodies a bit disturbing to look at.
As for technical accuracy, the movie fared quite well. Keeping in mind that it was based on a short, illustrated story, I was OK with the filmmakers keeping the imagery in the climactic scene where the characters are wearing helmets and ordinary clothing on the Martian surface. I felt there was an effort to compensate for that by making the rest of the film more scientifically accurate, including using a wormhole to shorten the months-long Earth-Mars transit, and showing the lower Martian gravity (though as portrayed it looked closer to lunar gravity to me).
The most important critics, my 5, 8 and 10-year-old daughters, loved Mars Needs Moms, as did my wife. I’d recommend it to anyone with children. As for me, I enjoyed it though I’m still looking forward to a Mars movie that is simultaneously entertaining and realistic.