MARS NEEDS MOMS (PG for scenes of sci-fi action, perilous situations): What a terrible title - accurate, but still
Observed from Mars, on the lookout for moms to care for their hatched babies, a Martian locates a good one (Joan Cusack) who seems to know how to handle a typical affluent suburban kid (Seth Green) in typical family situations. The mom is zoomed up to the planet, where everyone lives underground, where the women rule militarily and men are subservient slaves. But no moms for the heaps of kids being hatched from the earth. Son goes along for the ride, the two of them go through a series of adventures from the garbage strewn male quarters to ultra modern female living, down long hallways, past futuristic structures - chasing and being chased, up and around fascinatingly designed environs, until finally - well, guess what - they solve the Martian mating problem, make it back home again, connect with dad, with manners learned by the kid.
The same technique of overlaying animated features over real people, as in "Polar Express" & "Disney's Christmas Carol," serves to permit real-looking people fit into all-animated settings and among the animated male & female clones. "Polar Express" did it more satisfyingly.
This is "Tron" for kids, with all the brightly lit costumes, the computer-drawn maps, and the feel that Martians are mostly computer created drones. Aiding & abetting are a happy-go-lucky guy who likes life on Mars, a cute little mechanical pet, a friendly female Martian, etc.
The animation is tops. The settings are inspired. The plot with message doesn't take brains to figure out, but for kids it comes through loud & clear. And it's gratefully just 88-minutes long - and more gratefully not shot in 3D. (Grade: C+)