The new Disney movie "Mars Needs Moms," released Friday, carries a decidedly pro-mom message. But some found the film's neglect to give dads equal treatment confusing.
The story for "Mars Needs Moms" is based on a picture book by the same title by Berkeley Breathed. Breathed was inspired to write the story when his wife and son had an argument after the five-year-old refused to eat his broccoli. Breathed had interceded by telling his son, "imagine if your mom was abducted by aliens," which led to the idea behind the book and now the motion picture.
Simon Wells – whose credits include "The Prince of Egypt" and "The Time Machine" – directs the film and co-wrote the screenplay with his wife, Wendy Wells.
The story centers around main character Milo (motion by Seth Green, voice by Seth Dusky) when he puts on the armor of hero and goes on an adventure to save his mom (voice of Joan Cusack) who is kidnapped by aliens looking to transfer her memories to disposable robot nannies. He is accompanied by the childlike man, Gribble, and an almost hippy -looking Martian girl.
It is on the communist planet that gender issues are discovered. The nomadic males are allotted to the slums of the planet while their female counterparts are dominant and indifferent. Baby aliens emerge from the ground when born and are neglected by their mothers. It's truly up to the parent whether they wish to care for the baby aliens or not.
The movie keeps the crowd entertained with its action-packed scenes, vibrant colors and witty jokes. And the 3-D animated film has been regarded as fun and witty, as well as didactic and new. The movie's main theme of love, appreciation and forgiveness also strikes a feel-good chord with parents and children. But the film also sends a controversial message to its male audience.
How much of the underlying gender message will children get? Probably none to maybe some.
The ending of the movie will most likely simply remind children that their mothers are not only important but also worth fighting for regardless if they are made to eat broccoli and clean their room.
The reaction can be confusing, what is yours?