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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2011

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"Mars Needs Moms 3D" (3D Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Adrian Wittenberg

movie-august-2011-mars-needs-moms-3d

Synopsis

An alien race on Mars uses nannybots to raise their infants but needs women subjects from Earth with good mothering abilities to program the robots.  Milo's (Seth Green, Seth Dusky) mom (Joan Cusack) is a perfect candidate as she is observed as frequently struggling with Milo and is successful at getting him to do his chores or eat his vegetables.  On one night when Milo almost thinks he would be better off without a nagging mom, the alien race comes to Earth to kidnap her.  Milo witnesses the spaceship begin to take off and manages to climb on board before it leaves the Earth.  After landing, Milo barely escapes the spaceship by listening to advice from Gribble (Dan Fogler) who he soon meets on the surface of Mars.  Gribble informs Milo of the details of the alien race and reluctantly shows Milo the calamitous fate that will come of his mother after the aliens are done using her for programming their nannybots.  Milo, realizes that he must embark on a mission try to save his mom at all costs and pursuades Gribble to offer any help he can.     

Specifications

  • Disney/Buena Vista
  • 2011, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 28 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Codec: MPEG 4 - MVC
  • 1080p
  • English DTS-HD MA 7.1
  • Starring: Seth Green, Joan Cusack, Dan Fogler, Mindy Sterling, and Seth Dusky
  • Directed by Simon Wells
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Very Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This film uses a unique style of animation.  All of the main action in the film from the characters is taken from motion capture and is then rendered on a computer.  This is much different then a traditional 3D animation that uses 3D modeling and animators to decide on the movement of the characters.  This technique proved to be very interesting and gave the film the ability to use computer generated images to create its 3D effects while retaining a more life like human appearance.  Computer animation has much more diversity in varying the 3D effects than live action filming does due to the limitation of live action productions needing to preset their two camera angles and depth, before filming a scene.  The downside to computer animation is that the characters look cartoonish and not always lifelike despite the talent of the animator.  At first, Mars needs Mom's style of animation looked a little strange and almost creepy to me, but by the end of the film I felt it served the purpose of succesfully adding the human element to an animated sci fi adventure.  The 3D effects in this film are very good.  While almost every scene has tasteful uses of depth and there is good separation between objects there are more than a couple scenes that stand out where the 3D effects really enhance the scene by adding the effects necessary to envoke an appropriate feeling.  One example is the sequence where Milo has seconds left to save his mom from a death contraption and is desperately running towards his Mom along the surface of Mars. Mars needs Moms is one of the first films that is successful at crossing over into a new hybrid style of animated film and it has a good delivery of a far fetched story.  The story proceeds with good pacing and is effiicient in delivering it's message.  Mars needs Moms overall presentation and clever 3D effects make it one of the best 3D Blu-ray releases currently available and definitely an enjoyable family picture.  

Technical

The video quality of Mars needs Moms 3D is spectacularThere is excellent use of contrast with varied levels of lighting and deep rich blacks.  There is a wide use of color in this film with some scenes being very subtle and other scenes offering a very full range of bright vivid colors.  The 3D effects in the film are nearly flawless with only a few scenes with all but the smallest degree of crosstalk visible.  The audio performance of this film is excellent and the DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio track delivers an excellent experience with effective use of surround and LFE channels.  The soundtrack on this film is fun and fits in well with the story.  

Extras

Extras include deleted scenes including a 3D sequence, a featurette about the martian language, a gag reel with Seth Green, and a featurette on the full motion capture used in the film.