2. I think those weirdly CGI-animated movies are creepy.
3. The movie itself looks pretty dumb.
So I didn't pay any attention to the plot other than the fact that some kid's mom gets abducted and he has to go save her. Blah. Seemed like typical boring cheesy kids-movie fare.
Then I read a review from SomethingAwful.com and realized that there's a lot more wrong with this movie than being cheesy and creepy... it's also apparently anti-gay:
The reason Mars actually needs moms is that all the female martians are busy being leaders, soldiers and politicians. Because of this, they are apparently terrible mothers, because no woman can be in a position of power and possess maternal instincts. (There's a nanny-bot and some memory-erasing/murder of humans involved, but it's weird and boring and overall basically unimportant.) The men are no help, because they all live in a huddle together painting themselves in bright flamboyant colors and dancing and hugging all the time. (Seriously.) The men all live together because the women are led by an old angry lady who believes that women are stronger, and we should do away with all men. Then the movie goes out of its way to show that before Butchy McLes-alien took over, all children were raised by a man and a woman. Just like the Martian bible says it should be! The whole thing plays out like a particularly preachy episode of Futurama, minus any of the self-awareness. I kept thinking that I was reading too much into the film (impossible), but when Ke tells the Martians that they were meant to be raised by two parents, because that's the only way to feel love, I was convinced. And angered.
It's not often in this line of work that I get to write pieces that really matter, so I want to make the most of this. Mars Needs Moms isn't just offensive to gays, it's offensive to anyone who has a non-structuralist family. The overall message of the film is "Unless you're raised by one Mom AND one Dad, then you're wrong." Single parent? Wrong. Living with other relatives? Wrong. The film even makes sure we know that Milo has a Dad, although he serves no other purpose than letting us know that Milo is in a "proper family." [emphasis mine]Wow. I was quite angered too after reading that review. Why didn't the trailer give any clues about what a homophobic, sexist hot mess this story was?
(And yes, you can make the argument that I haven't seen it yet, so I can't truly make a judgment based on someone else's review without having seen it. But unless the reviewer, Martin R. "Vargo" Schneider, is lying then I've really heard enough to make the decision not to see this - and more importantly, not to take my daughter to see this.) Perhaps it's possible that there's a little more self-awareness and irony in the film than Schneider is giving them credit for, but I'm doubtful, and even so, it's pretty clear what 'message' our kids will get from this
It's not only anti-gay (and anti-single parent/anti-non-traditional family) but it's also sexist and anti-feminist. In addition to the message that the only 'right' family has one mom and one dad (no single parents, no same-sex parents, no non-traditional families of any kind) kids are also subjected to the fucked up idea that women are the only people who can be nurturers (sorry dads) but that's all they should be.
This movie sends the message that it's a bad idea to let women be in power - in politics, in the military, or any position of power at all really because apparently if women achieve any level of power or prestige or responsibility outside of parenting and homemaking they are rendered incapable of fulfilling their real responsibilities of motherhood. In fact, they might just destroy civilization altogether! Why? Because feminists are evil, man-hating, power-hungry bitches incapable of running a country (let alone a planet).
How is it that two big time stars like working-mother Joan Cusack and Seth Green (who had a recurring role in the very gay-friendly Buffy the Vampire Slayer series) agreed to sign on to a movie with a message like this?
There have been plenty of matriarchal or matrifocal cultures that didn't crumble because no one was raising the poor babies. And although the United States is still very much a patriarchy, women have proven that they're totally capable of 'having it all' and achieving high levels of power with or without children and husbands. Same-sex marriage and civil partnerships are now legal in many U.S. states, as is LGBT adoption. A lot of experts have stated that not only do the children of same-sex couples grow up just as well developed as other kids, but gay marriage may actually be better for kids.
So why is this movie sending the message that in order to be happy and healthy kids need two parents of opposite genders? (We bet this is one film that the AFA and OMM won't be complaining about.)
Another reviewer from LostInReviews.com also questioned whether there were any racial overtones to the film:
First, all of the human characters were white. Usually, not a big deal. It’s not like that’s bad or good, just one of those things. But, the male aliens of Mars seem to be a little stereotypical. They all wear tribal paint, mainly yellow, black, green and red. They also have dreadlocks, larger lips and are projected as being idiots. I’m not trying to jump to conclusions, but it seemed like they made these aliens have very African traits. Now, it’s not a big deal to have a character like that, but through the entire movie, the other characters talk about how stupid the men are. Is it just me, or did it seem like this movie had a tiny, minuscule bit of racism to it?I know what commenters are going to say about this post. Oh, you're making a big deal out of nothing. It's just a kids movie. Yes, it's a kids movie. That's exactly the problem. When movies for adults have subtle (or not so subtle) messages in them, at least adults have the ability to decipher these points and (hopefully) have the knowledge and intelligence to decide for themselves if they agree or not. But kids? Kids are much more impressionable. When kids movies have these kinds of messages, they're not just 'messages' but lessons.
So before you take your kids to see Mars Needs Moms think about what lessons you want them to learn... Do you want them to learn that women don't deserve economic or political power? Do you want them to learn that in order to be fully loved and happy and normal they need two parents? And do you want them to learn that non-traditional families are downright dangerous to our society? (Maybe you do, in which case why are you reading our blog in the first place?)
And we're not necessarily saying that you shouldn't see this movie (although it seems like no one else is, phew)... Maybe the kids are begging to see it? Maybe you're really into CGI? Maybe you want to give it a chance? Fine, go for it. But go into it knowing what messages your kids might be getting... and please, have a conversation with your kids about why those messages are wrong.