Young Milo gets sent to bed early by his mother after she discovers he has fed his broccoli to the family cat. Furious at his punishment, he tells her that he wishes he didn't have a mum, but then gets what he asked for when a spaceship arrives in the night and whisks her away. Running after it, Milo manages to scramble aboard and ends up on Mars, where he learns the Martians have stolen his mum so they can suck out her kind, child-rearing ways to help program their nanny-robots to raise their own offspring. Discovering another human, Gribble, who has been hiding out on Mars since he was a kid, and a friendly alien named Ki who doesn't like the strict Martian regime, Milo realises he has to rescue his mum before she's gone for good.
The latest animated movie to employ 'motion capture' (in which human actors are filmed in funny suits against a screen acting the parts and then their movements are translated into realistic-looking 3-d animation as used in The Polar Express and A Christmas Carol), this is based on Berkeley Breathead's children's picture book. It's an odd tale, that will petrify younger viewers (boy being separated from his mum – not a happy story) while over-8s will be bored by the lack of laughs and parents will notice ideas stolen from better movies (including Wall.E). It's all rather dull and slow with Ki the only interesting character, while Gribble wins the award for most annoying person in an animated movie, possibly ever.
There's also a very twisted message that parents will raise an eyebrow at – it turns out Gribble's mother was taken from him as the Martians thought she must be a brilliant mum as he was a very good little boy. What does that tell kids – be well behaved and your mum will be taken away?
Is Mars Needs Moms suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
As mentioned above, the whole idea of a mum being kidnapped and possibly killed by Martians will upset younger children – this really isn't suitable for the under-8s.
Later in the film, Milo's mum is very much in danger and it looks like she will die (rather horribly).
The lead Martian is quite scary for younger viewers, too.