Enhanced by nimble ad-libbing from the comedy-trained cast, the screenplay is delightful, by turns funny and emotional...
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
It seems that it's time to admit that dressing actors in LED-studded catsuits, asking them to give performances on sterile white sets and handing the results to a team of computer animators is not a way to make a good movie.
Mike Hale - New York Times
The movie is hampered by uninteresting characters, a predictable story and 3-D technology, which darkens even the brightest colors and detracts from the vibrancy of the tale.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
While Wells's ice-blue color scheme borrows from both "Tron" films and a litany of "Star Trek" episodes, a majestic musical score by the great composer John Powell somehow makes everything old feel fresh and wondrous again.
Sean O'Connell - Washington Post
"Mars'' needs Mom more than the filmmakers seem to realize.
Tom Russo - Boston Globe
With originality an alien concept, the film proves to be the equivalent of sci-fi-cinema training wheels.
Nick Schager - Village Voice
It's based on a children's book by Berkeley Breathed, creator of the classic comic "Bloom County," so there's a shaggy, countercultural vibe; if you get in the groove, it's a hoot.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Mars may need moms, but Earth needs good movies, and this isn't one of them.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Families may be pleasantly surprised to find this an often thrilling and imaginative ride for younger kids with a big helping of heart for parents.
Nancy Churnin - Dallas Morning News
Mars Needs Moms is precisely the sort of mess that just grows more depressing the more one ruminates on it.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
The tone baffles and wobbles. This is one of the least visually appealing films ever to go out under the Disney banner.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
"Mars Needs Moms" doesn't crash-land into "Yogi Bear" territory, but it definitely doesn't soar to "Toy Story 3" heights of animated grandeur.
Tom Horgen - Minneapolis Star Tribune
This is just a big rollercoaster of a movie, filled with dazzling effects and funny creatures and the requisite five-hankie "I love you, Mom" ending. But then, there are some weird gender political battles at play here.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Working against an ungainly title and a rather formulaic marketing campaign, pic is a modestly enjoyable performance-capture creation bearing the unmistakable imprint of producer Robert Zemeckis.
Lael Loewenstein - Variety
Aside from a relatively brief appearance by Joan Cusack's avatar as the kidnapped mother, there are no involving characters or situations.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Light enough in tone, but plastic.
Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
Mars Needs Moms isn't much of a movie, but it's a great teaching tool for how not to make an animated film.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
They took a small story, made it complicated and burdensome, filmed some actors performing it, turned those actors into affectless, mechanical cartoons, converted it to 3-D, and dropped it in theaters. Wheeee!
Eric D. Snider - Film.com
As with a good live-action movie, it all begins with the script, and this one is solid-well thought-out, briskly paced, funny and sweet. In the end, it's the finished film that matters, not the process...
Leonard Maltin - indieWIRE
Even though Mars Needs Moms isn't female-friendly, mothers looking for quality time with 6- to 12-year-old boys could do worse than book group passage there soon.
Stephen Cole - Globe and Mail
The skill level of this motion capture animation is getting better all the time. So Mars is accomplished at every level. But the three most important things in movies are story, story, story.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Red and Battle: Convoluted story, motion capture sucks warmth out of every scene
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
Instead of breathing life into cartoonist Berkeley Breathed's cheeky kids morality tale, the movie - with all its 3-D motion capture animation flash - flatlines.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Here is a movie that seems at war with the notion that animation can inspire or invigorate.
David Keyes - Cinemaphile.org
Mars Needs Moms actually entertained me. There's the bright colors and great 3D, but there's also some touching moments and grown-up wit
Amy Curtis - We Got This Covered
Mars Needs Moms isn't as bad as you've heard, nor is it as good as it could have been. Will it entertain your family? That depends on how much your kids like mo-cap technology, and how much attention they pay to the inner logic of a film.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
A solid, vibrant family film that parents and young-ish nippers can enjoy together.
Guy Haley - SFX Magazine
a disposable family adventure it more than fits the bill
James Luxford - The National
The whole fiasco turns out to be an excuse to let Seth Green play a (redubbed) little boy. Next time, maybe just cast a real boy, build some sets in an old barn, and have Mom make the costumes. [Blu-ray 3D]
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
An extraordinary achievement in character expressiveness and realistic movement limited by a storyline for a pre-middle school audience.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
Mars Needs Moms dares to venture into some sad, tragic territory which, in a perverse way, made the film a bit more enjoyable and prevented it from being completely underwhelming
Matt Fowler - IGN Movies
Infused with a half-baked psychedelic ethos, incorporating some rather incongruous imagery that is supposed to tie in with its simple-minded politics regarding ideas of child rearing and gender roles.
Dan Gear - Moviedex
If Mars Needs Moms had not have been produced using the mo-cap process -- which still hasn't fixed the problem where some folk have a spooky, neither-alive-nor-dead look -- it might have stood more chance of finding an audience.
Leigh Paatsch - Herald Sun (Australia)
What really sells this fabulous, kid-friendly 3D adventure to anybody over eight (no offense, kids) is its astonishing visuals, which uses motion-capture technology to a degree that surpasses what we saw in Avatar.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
The credited director is Simon Wells (The Time Machine), but the grotesque characters and dark action bear the Zemeckis stamp.
Jake Wilson - The Age (Australia)
Mars Needs Moms becomes a stunning achievement not only in the visual and action stakes but emotionally as well, with a heartbreaking clarity putting into perspective the love and sacrifices that good mothers make for their children.
Matthew Pejkovic - FILMINK (Australia)
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
Most kids (and any accompanying parents) will find this to be of a noticeably lower standard than many of the other children's films that have been released recently.
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
Offers yet more proof that performance capture is a terrible idea when it comes to making fully animated feature films.
Alistair Harkness - Scotsman
Children are unlikely to enjoy it, and parents will be aching for a few stiff drinks in a Mars bar long before it's over.
Mars Needs To Work Out How To Animate Humans So They Don't Look Like Possessed Shop Window Dummies.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
Motion-capture animation takes a giant step backwards with this unappealing outer-space adventure.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
It's enjoyable enough, but a live-action movie with a better script would have been much more engaging
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
Good looks are about the only thing going for it.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
It's an interplanetary clunker.
David Sexton - This is London
Wells's fast-paced film mixes action, comedy and some heart-tugging emotion, delivering out of this world thrills to audiences of all ages.
Catherine Jones - Liverpool Echo
While the multi-level Mars is an impressive backdrop there's no getting past performance capture problems.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
The incoherent, over-complicated storyline is played with much too much gravity, and the few jokes aren't funny.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
None of it makes much sense, the characters are largely annoying and the underground Martian city is drab and uninviting.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Family comedies about Martians don't need to be plausible exactly, but they need to be smart and entertaining. This one is ho-hum, so-so and so what?
The story canters along at a merry pace and doesn't outstay its welcome.
Sukhdev Sandhu - Daily Telegraph
It's a stretch to stomach Seth Green's face having been reverse-engineered onto that of a 9-year-old boy...but Mars Needs Moms stands among few animated films able to scarcely broach that problematic uncanny valley.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
Mars may need moms, but does Earth need this movie?
David Aldridge - Radio Times
89 minutes of ... near-lifeless 'animated' characters who are constantly struggling to break through the stifling limitations of 'motion capture' technology.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
Makes you long for the parentless state of the Martians the movie depicts, who kidnap a mother and inadvertently whisk up her little son during a mom-harvesting trip to Earth.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
The 'Polar Express'-style CG-meets-live-action visuals are creepy and flat, the characters are largely nonexistent and the story takes so many short cuts that it becomes meaningless...
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
It's a solid, well-made family movie proving - as if it really needed to be said - that mum is the word.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
[S]pectacularly mediocre... There isn't a whole lot... to really recommend Moms beyond the fact that it's not particularly offensive.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
An uninvolving mo-cap adventure that's well below par. Marvin the Martian would be unhappy to share his planet with this bunch.
William Thomas - Empire Magazine
Kids will enjoy this strangely touching tale about the bond between mothers and their children.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
The film looks neither fully real nor fully imagined, which could be forgiven if Mars Needs Moms had something more to offer besides its nifty technology.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Don't be put off by the title. Wells harnesses 3D mo-cap wizardry for a children's adventure that balances storytelling and sci-fi.
Jonathan Crocker - Total Film
Talk all you want about technique: a good animated film depends on story and character, and it's those vital ingredients that make Mars Needs Moms so entertaining. It's also
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
"Mars Needs Moms" is only consistent in that it's a mess.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Darker than expected but with a good theme: moms are great.
What America doesn't need is more of these live action animated movies.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Forget about the IMAX and 3-D, wait for the dvd.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
As used by Zemeckis, 'performance capture' technology turns actors into inferior simulacra of themselves. The effect of this 'realism' is not just creepy but kitschy -- and even ugly when placed in this story's anti-woman context...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
... unobjectionable enough for undemanding kids ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
It has the emotional gravity of a greeting card.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
Part anti-feminist, anti-authoritarian screed, part insufferable culture-clash comedy, and part suitable space shenanigans that are nonetheless stranded in the uncanny valley.
William Goss - Cinematical
Important note: if you are going to make a film whose moral is that mechanical objects can never replace people (or Martians), try not to make exactly that mistake.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
The computer approximation of Joan Cusack's face looks like nothing. I don't get how anyone can look at that and think, 'We're onto something. Next time we'll tweak the cheeks a little more.'
Fred Topel - Screen Junkies
...a solid computer-animated flick that should leave adults just as satisfied and entertained as kids.
David Nusair - About.com
So, okay, men are completely irresponsible slobs, which is why women need to be unceasing nags. Check. Great message for the kids.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
The animation, special effects and sound effects are top drawer. This family-friendly entertainment package comes with a lasting side benefit.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
Mars Needs Moms is visually inventive and occasionally emotionally potent, but feels overly padded in its attempt to stretch such a short story to feature length.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
More dreary than fun.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
I'd rather watch hand puppets deliver clever dialogue than watch the most cutting-edge supercomputer-generated non-humans mouthing dull, uninspired nonsense.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
A fun, all-ages space adventure.
David Frese - Kansas City Star
The motion-capture animation technique has come a long way since Robert Zemeckis (a producer on this film) introduced it in The Polar Express, but what's missing too often is the human element, especially during all the rambunctious activity on Mars.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Mars - in this case - needs more than moms.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Surprisingly touching adventure has sad moments amid comedy.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
It has its heart in the right place, and earns its few moments of emotional resonance, but they don't elevate the story past the thoroughly commonplace.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
The awe-inspiring 3-D work offers a richly textured, luxuriously detailed vision of life on Mars.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
A flat, uninvolving, and annoying sci-fi and 3D animated film
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
If Breathed's style could have been applied to the animation, this offbeat story would have a better chance at success. Instead, we're left with a kids' movie that leaves audiences cold.
Jody Mitori - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The best way to enjoy "Mars Needs Moms"? Skip the movie and watch the closing credits.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
The film's production values are almost enough to make the film's monumental shortcomings worth overlooking. But only almost.
Simon Abrams - Slant Magazine
What's missing, especially in an era when we've invested so much hope for extraterrestrial life by sending real probes to the real Mars, is a sense of wonder.
Tom Keogh - Seattle Times
Energetic and inspired (sans Fogler), the picture concludes on a high note, providing the intergalactic goods with spirit, only one critical miscasting away from true satisfaction.
Brian Orndorf - Sci-Fi Movie Page
The 3D IMAX visuals do impress, but the subtext - that if you behave well, the Martians will zap your mother's brain - is a little out of this world.
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
Introducing children to fun questions about evolution and gender politics, Mars Needs Moms is an odd, little hybrid of adventure and simplistic allegory.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
An impersonal, borderline-mechanical experience book-ended by the dramatic warmth its middle hour hasn't a speck of.
Talk about setting the bar too low, especially in a movie that kids will be watching.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Succeeds both as a sci-fi adventure and as a familial love story.
Cathy Jakicic - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Mars doesn't need moms, and Earth doesn't need this movie
Jason McKiernan - Filmcritic.com
One of those mediocre computer-animated kidflicks that seem to come along every couple of weeks nowadays...desperately needs more imagination, charm and heart.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The perfect family film in every way, moms, dads, kids and even those Martians are gonna love this funny, warm and wonderful tale.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
An entertaining, accomplished movie that shows off what its signature technology can do...
Keith Phipps - AV Club
Superlative craftsmanship but only the first segment is intriguing.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
Lively, richly animated with intriguing motion capture fluidity, and pleasingly designed with special attention to sprawling Martian environments, the feature is nearly sunk by the efforts of co-star Dan Fogler.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Very young children may enjoy this sweet-natured, old-fashioned, simplistic tale, but the movie suffers from the same problems evident in Zemeckis' previous animated productions
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Green makes a whiny hero, and Dan Fogler (as his buddy on Mars) fails to amuse. Plus, why is Milo's stay-at-home mom a saint and the working alien moms evil?
Thelma Adams - Us Weekly
One tries to make sense of it this way and that and then leaves half admiring its outre visions of maternal care and coldness, half wishing its metaphorical swagger had either busted the story open or gotten out of its way.
Michelle Orange - Movieline
After years of animators riding the post-Pixar renaissance and filmgoers feasting on the fruits of their labor, we may have finally hit a collective moment of big-screen-toon fatigue.
David Fear - Time Out
Feels like an amalgamation of other animated films' styles and storylines, assembled by a marketing department bent on hitting a demographic sweet spot rather than artists following their muse.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
[VIDEO] Based on a children's book by cartoonist Berkeley Breathed (known for his "Bloom County" comic strip), "Mars Needs Moms" is a tone-deaf animated disaster.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Mars Needs Moms is so rambunctious that it snuffs out much of the story's potential charm and pathos.
Tim Grierson - Screen International
Visually arresting and emotionally rich, Mars Needs Moms is another animated triumph from a rejuvenated Disney Animation.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews