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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Animation > Computer Motion Capture > Science Fiction > Mars Needs Moms (2011/Image Movers Digital/Disney Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)

Mars Needs Moms (2011/Image Movers Digital/Disney Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)


3D Picture: B+     2D Picture: B/C     Sound: B/C+     Extras: C-     Film: C-



Robert Zemeckis is no dummy and for a while, he has put his live action directing career on hold to try and try to make way for a new kind of digital experience based on expensive motion capture technology that has had mixed critical and commercial success in releases like Monster House, Beowulf, Polar Express and A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey among others.  Not wanting to quit and with the support of a powerhouse like Disney that wants to stay king in the animation business, the Simon Wells-directed Mars Needs Moms (2011) might have had some kind of good intents, but it is the biggest bomb of its kind since Sony took a bath on Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within in 2001.


Though not as boring or unintentionally funny as that dud, this is still bizarre in its own right.  Mars has Martians (yawn) and a population problem (is that why we cannot find them?) so they (in a very old cliché) need to make up for population problems.  Turns out there is a shortage of female adults, so they start spying on earth to find a way to make up for the difference.  So who does an older, suspicious grandmother Martian like?  Joan Cusack!!!


There is a new Family Guy joke here somewhere, but I like her and always did.  Too bad she is not here enough and neither is much of a script, co-written by the director.  The basic story (mom is kidnapped and her son “accidentally” joins her running to stop the ship from taking her away) is and has nothing we have not seen before, it does nothing new, Seth Green (of Family Guy, ironically) cannot make this entertaining either and the result is a shockingly flat romp that might work for some very young viewers, but was not worth going all out for.  At least Zemeckis’ motion capture finally looks like it is beginning to have some life to it.  The same cannot be said for the rest of it.  Of course, the would-be child-friendly title killed this at the box office upon arrival if nothing else had.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D – Full Resolution digital High Definition image is the default highlight of this release, as the 3D effects are the only thing besides unintended humor that makes this dud watchable, though the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital 2D High Definition image transfer still is full and colorful enough considering the limits of this digital animation, but the anamorphically enhanced DVD is very soft and limited in color, depth, detail and color range making it very hard to watch.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix has its moments, but is not always top rate.  Though it is well recorded, it is not always mixed to best effect despite having some good moments.  The problem is that we have heard most of these configurations before, even with the additional channels and towards the end a classic hit by Queen shows up and sounds compressed and limited when it should not.  The DVD’s lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is much poorer with limited fullness and sound range that only the DTS-MA has.  Queen fans who have heard the valuable, out-of-print DVD-Audio format 5.1 versions of their albums will especially notice the problems with the song.


Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, Blu-ray 3D exclusive Alternate and Deleted Scenes, 2D Blu-ray exclusive Deleted Scenes, Extended Opening and motion capture featurette Life On Mars, plus it and the DVD include two more featurettes: Martian 101 and Fun With Seth.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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