Monday, April 04, 2011
Mars Needs Happy Music
Review by Helen San
Inspired by a 40-paged children's book by Pulitzer-winning Berkeley Breathed (Bloom County), the title, "Mars Needs Moms" is a twist on a 60's, B-sci-fi, made-for-TV, if-it-had-more-cheese-it'd-be-a-cow-of-a movie called "Mars Needs Women." Breathed wrote the book after his 4 year old son Milo proclaimed, "I wish I never had a mother!" Of course, as soon as he said that, he should have known he'd be taught a lesson on how valuable mothers are. The kicker is that lesson comes with a giant, humongous Kleenex box. Breathed summarized the emotional core of his story thus: "There'll be one woman in your life that will unhesitatingly die for you. Love her. And it's not your %$#@ girlfriend."
After the nine year old protagonist, named uh, Milo, hurts his mother's feelings, he finds that Martians have abducted her to steal her "momness" for programming their nannybots. He hitches a ride on a Martian spaceship to save her from certain death in an elaborate, eye-candy of an adventure. In the end, he learns his tearful lesson on how much his mom loves him, and how much he loves her back. One movie reviewer used the term "tear whoring," which conveys just how many tears are involved.
Directed by animation veteran Simon Wells (BALTO, PRINCE OF EGYPT) and produced by Robert Zemeckis' digital studio ImageMovers (THE POLAR EXPRESS, MONSTER HOUSE, A CHRISTMAS CAROL), MARS NEEDS MOMS had a $150 million budget and involved some of the top names in animated features. It is no wonder, then, they got JOHN POWELL (BOLT, ICE AGE 2 & 3, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON), Go-To-Composer of Animation Goodness, onboard.
His first score after HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (HTTYD), MARS NEEDS MOMS was greeted eagerly by fans such as myself. It's hard to follow up on a 10/10 though. He'd raised the bar for himself now, and "proficiently crafted" isn't going to cut it anymore. We got high on the Dragon, and we want to fly again. It really is unfair to the composer, if you think about it. We're spoiled.
Read the full review