When it comes to really bad Disney animated movies, one of the more common ones to appear on that list is "Mars Needs Moms". I won't lie when I say this was a movie I was dreading to watch and review for a while due to how infamous it was. It could be because this movie was a massive box office bomb as it didn't even make a quarter of its budget, but then again there's a reason audiences avoided this movie like the plague. Having finally seen it, I can easily say that this is one of the worst animated films I have seen in quite some time. This film is simply dreadful and unpleasant and is one of the worst animated films ever released under the Disney banner. It's astonishing how bad this movie is and I'm shocked that it was even approved in the first place.
Nine-year-old Milo (mo-capped by Seth Green yet voiced by Seth Dusky) has become to get frustrated with his mother (Joan Cusack) with the constant chores he's been assigned. One day though, he gets mad at his mother for grounding him and snaps that his life would be better off without her which brings her to tears. Realizing he went too far, Milo goes to apologize only to find that she has been abducted by Martians. He follows after them and ends up on a spaceship to Mars where he ends up in a prison cell underground. Milo eventually escapes into a garbage wasteland down below and comes across another human named Gribble (Dan Fogler) who explains that Martians capture mothers from Earth to extract their discipline so they can fuel robots to raise future generations. The only problem is the extraction of their discipline will eventually kill his mother. Wanting to rescue her, Milo enlists the help of Gribble as well as a graffiti artist Martian named Ki (Elisabeth Harnois) to help save his mother from the grasps of the evil ruler of Mars, the Supervisor (Mindy Sterling).
This film is seriously one of the most unpleasant and miserable animated movies I have seen in a very long time. I really don't understand how anyone at Disney or ImageMovers thought that this film could've possibly worked, but here we are. This film is such a trainwreck that I don't know where to start. The story was simply unpleasant and just not fun. I don't know why anyone let alone kids would want to watch a movie where a mother gets abducted and taken to Mars. That's actually a very scary thought to have anyone you love being abducted by aliens and eventually killed. Not only that, it's simply not fun. None of the jokes land or made me laugh. Also, I simply hated the idiotic message that it somehow sends. Apparently, if you're a good kid and do what your parents ask you to do, Martians will come to Earth and kidnap and kill your mother. What a brilliant message to send to the kids! I can see them getting nightmares for weeks based on that. As far as the animation goes, it's so uncanny and creepy that it was hard to watch at times. I've been kind to motion capture animated movies in the past like "The Polar Express" and "Monster House", but here it really fails. It's so creepy and disturbing that it really adds on to how unpleasant the film is. Not only that, but even the sets of the film are very uncreative. Most of the stuff seen on Mars feels like stuff left off of "Tron: Legacy" while the garbage dump reminded me of the dump from "Toy Story 3". It really looked very unoriginal. As for the characters, none of them are likable. Milo is an especially unlikeable protagonist mainly because he is such a brat in the opening. What he says to his mother is so scathing and hurtful that it makes it kind of hard to root for him throughout the movie. Gribble got under my skin fast with how annoying he was and Ki was also annoying based on the way she learned to speak English which she found out while watching TV shows from the 1960s involving hippies. No seriously. If there's any minute praise I can get from this film, it's that the actors tried with the little material they were given. Though then again, Green, Cusack, and Fogler have all been in many better-animated movies so they really have no excuse for starring in this miserable movie.
And that's what I would sum up "Mars Needs Moms" in a nutshell. A miserable movie. The story is downbeat and simply not fun, the animation is uncanny and very unoriginal at times, and the characters are all simply unlikeable. I really don't know in what world this film would work and all I can say is that I feel really bad for the people who worked on it since after this film wrapped, they all lost their jobs due to Disney shutting down the company. I just hope they went on to find better jobs in the end. If they did, that's all that matters. This movie, on the other hand, should be left in the dust where it belongs.