Mars Needs Moms (PG)

Voices: Seth Green, Joan Cusack, Elisabeth Harnois
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The Independent Culture

File under "Bizarre". This latest Disney animation is meant for kids, though its script and stylings are clearly born of a nostalgia-blitzed adult.

Nine-year-old Milo is horribly rude to his mom one night after she sends him to bed, but when he decides to apologise he finds that she's being kidnapped by a Martian spaceship. On reaching the Red Planet as a stowaway he discovers why: Martian society has delegated child-rearing to "nannybots", programmed to operate from the blueprint of Milo's mum – who will herself then be discarded. I quite liked the slobbish Gribble whom Milo befriends – a John Candy-lookalike with abandonment issues – but the militaristic tyranny led by a wizened matriarch (Anna Wintour meets ET) and the vast Martian fortress are too weird to be funny or exciting, while the references to Reagan-era politics and hippie-era language are purely a scriptwriter's indulgence. Its ode to maternal self-sacrifice is quite touching, but as entertainment it's flat.

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