Friday, September 23, 2011

Moms don't need "Mars Needs Moms" - TheAnimationEmpire Movie Review

After the good success of Polar Express, the okay results of Monster House, and the bust of Beowulf, for some reason Disney bought/invested in Robert Zemeckis' Image Movers.

Disney thought the company could line up Polar Express-like hits for their studio. Really?

Well after a successful take on "A Christmas Carol" where Jim Carrey filled the need that Tom Hanks provided in Polar Express, Disney kept at it. And Image Movers' next project did not fare so well. Zemeckis directed Polar Express, Beowulf, and A Christmas Carol himself, but he did not direct...

Mars Needs Moms

We always ask the simple question, "Who is this for?"

Watch the trailer and ask yourself that.

It's a great film. It's jaw dropping at moments and a nice sentimental story (which in theory would appeal to mothers). But aliens kidnapping moms? In a movie starring immature guys? With a visual style of a John Carpenter sci-fi horror flick? Really?

So it doesn't appeal to moms, obviously. You could get that just from the title ("Cowboys Versus Aliens" strikes again).

So who does Mars Needs Moms appeal to then? How about to the immature boys who can identify with the humor of the primary characters? Well, let's see, would teenage and 20 something guys prefer to watch this animation or Hangover Part 2?

No, they're definitely not the audience. Not unless Austin Powers is in this movie (which he's not).

So who's the audience? Girls? Why would girls be interested in a film that looks like a sci-fi horror flick?

What about older men? Well, it's their visual style, but I don't think they really want this family message, humor, and theme.

Then who was it for?

Well enough random people to make about x dollars. However, this hyper-realistic style of 3D animation that Image Movers is pushing forward is really just waiting for a failure (like Final Fantasy was) to put itself out of business. These films are way too expensive, and that puts more pressure on for each to be a hit or else they don't make profit.

Mars Needs Moms cost $ to make. If it cost $ to the theaters and another $20 million in Marketing, then this is a huge loss.

And, as predicted, it did put the Image Movers studio out of business. Zemeckis green lit the film but didn't direct it, and it's the one that sank the studio.

However, Robert Zemeckis is striking back! He struck a deal with X to fund his next grossly expensive animation, Yellow Submarine, based on the Beatles animated short.

But will The Beatles appeal more to adults than children (and then only a niche of adults)?

Will it be able to survive? The only clear hits Zemeckis had (Polar Express and A Christmas Carol) were family/kids films based on the concept of hiring a capable and successful actor to headline the film and make it his own (much like Carrey also did for "A Series of Unfortunate Events").

And Yellow Submarine doesn't fit that mold (instead the focus is on getting actors to recreate the voices and mannerisms of the Beatles). So perhaps Disney wisely pulled the plug?

Anyway, let's talk more about Mars Needs Moms...

It's a great film! =^)

We highly recommend it. It's a little scary (also makes you wonder why moms would want their kids to watch that), it's good fun, adventurous, and it has a nice emotional message about the importance of family and listening to parents. And the acting is almost as great as the visuals.

However, it took me a looooong time of hearing Joan Cusack's voice before I stopped getting pulled out of the movie and visualizing Joan Cusack. (Maybe it's because she was more "in character" in Toy Story 2 and 3 and less herself as she is in "Mars Needs Moms".)

I'm not sure why Mars Needs Moms was made or how they convinced Disney to green light it, but it was. So go enjoy it on DVD!


1 comment:

  1. There's a reason Mars Needs Moms failed, and it doesn't involve appealing to moms (warning : rather long lecture ahead).

    See, Mars Needs Moms used a type of animation called motion-capture, in which a human actor is filmed and computer-generated graphics are traced over them. Zemeckis had made this his trademark technique in the past, with movies like The Polar Express, Monster House, and Beowulf. None of them were exceptionally successful. Why? Because the animation created with motion-capture filming is, for lack of a better word, creepy--at least when the characters are meant to be realistic humans. Even The Polar Express, successful as it was, got a lot of complaints about this.


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