By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –
Mars Needs Moms is one of the few films wholly using motion capture technology, which uses sensors to capture the movements of actors in order to emulate them with animation.The effect can be amazingly lifelike, although to this day they still haven’t gotten the faces quite right.This adds an otherworldly, pretty much creepy effect.This was fine for the most famous usage of the technology, Gollum.
Not as much for children
The story is about a boy who ends up along for the ride when Martians kidnap his mother.It turns out the Martians need mothers, particularly their discipline, which they extract in a process that ends up killing them.It’s now up to the boy and the zany characters he meets along the way to save her.
The animation is very good, and I especially like how they accounted for the lower gravity of Mars.If you stick around to the very end of the credits, you get to see some behind-the-scenes footage of the technology that is pretty interesting.
The zany character pictured above is played by Dan Fogle, who displays an impressive command of the annoying.You might want to save this beer to hurl at the projector in a desperate attempt to shut him up.
There’s more soul-crushing zaniness to be found in the males of the Martian species, who for some reason are some rasta/Jerry Garcia-style hybrid hippies that literally live in filth.
Towards the end of the movie the screenwriters apparently thought they’d leave no cliché unused so they wrote in a romantic subplot between Fogler and a Martian named Key.With lines like “Key is a word used to unlock… my heart” I now know that these screenwriters were 11 year old girls.
Actually, drink a beer to the fact that this corniness extends to the entire plot.There’s multiple usages of the phrase “that crazy love thing” and the whole deal boils down to the point that hands-free, hug-a-lot parenting style is so much better than mean, ugly discipline.
All of this touchy-feely stuff could be forgiven if the movie was funny.Their attempt at the Shrek-style cultural references thing was an abominable failure.They go for a Wall-E with a robot-dog, but it has all of the subtlety of a morning radio show sound effects board.Outside of the one smart-aleck crack by the kid featured in the preview, pretty much all the humor falls flat.
Apparently audiences saw through the marketing, with extremely low Friday box-office returns.This one will lose a decent chunk of change, and be one more nail in the coffin of both motion-capture and 3-D technology.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time you see a hippy Martian
Take a Drink: every time someone says “love”
Drink a Shot: every time Key uses 70s slang