Reel Critics: Life lessons abound in fun 'Mars Needs Moms'

Disney executives try to embrace family values in each film they produce. The animated "Mars Needs Moms" is no exception.

Milo is a boy who doesn't appreciate his loving and hard-working mom. He resents her attempts to lead him on a path to a healthy, productive life. He begins to believe that he would be much better off if he had no mom at all.

Those thoughts vanish when a spaceship arrives and Martians kidnap his mom. The Martians are too busy to raise their own children. They create nanny robots to do the job. But the robots need to be programmed with the thinking patterns of good moms. So the Martians search out the best mothers on Earth to steal their minds.

Young Milo manages to stow away on the spaceship. He lands on Mars and begins his mission to free his mom before the aliens take her mind. He befriends an Earthling named Gribble who got to Mars in the same way as Milo.

Rollicking adventures follow filled with fun special effects and good humor. It all leads to touching life lessons about the critical value of a good mom in every kid's life.


'Red Riding Hood' has little to offer

Director Catherine Hardwicke seems to be stuck in the "Twilight" zone in the silly "Red Riding Hood." She directed a megahit about sexy-swoony vampires, but with "Red" we get nothing more than a wolf in cheap clothing.

"Little Red" is Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), a saucer-eyed maiden who frolics through the snowy forest in flimsy garments with a childhood sweetheart (Shiloh Fernandez), even though she is promised to another handsome hottie (Max Irons). Frankly, with all the airbrushing and vacant stares, who can tell them apart?

The town is being terrorized by a wolf. Enter the Wolfinator — er, Father Solomon (outrageous Gary Oldman) with an entourage worthy of "Gladiator." He tells the village idiots a wolf walks amongst them in human form. And he'll huff, and he'll puff till he tears the place down.

No sooner does Val don that blood-red cloak (may as well wear a bull's eye) than she is able to speak to the big lug, who want her to leave town with him. I say why not — he may be wolf but he's got charisma.

The scariest thing about this movie is that it leaves itself wide open for a sequel — "Little Red Riding Hood: The Search for More Money."

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World