Those are the small issues. Here’s the big issue: Mars Needs Moms is an incredibly anti-gay film. That’s not a joke. Seriously. Let me explain…
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! … 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.” Hell, there’s even an inter-species romance between Gribble and Ke, since apparently that’s okay, as long as it’s not gay.
Too often we tell ourselves that if a movie is made for kids, we shouldn’t analyze it too hard, and that is insane. We should take a closer look at what is designed to entertain our children than anything else. Children are impressionable, and what they see in their programming leaves a mark on their development whether we want to admit it or not. If you want to show your children that love, just like bravery and every other emotion, takes all forms, take them to see Rango again. At least that won’t make them look at their friends’ families (or their own) and think that they’re inherently flawed. However, if you can tell me that you want to send the message to your children that there’s only one way a kid can be loved, then by all means take them to see Mars Needs Moms, and remind me not to let my future offspring play with yours.
Side note: I was wondering going in if Mars Needs Moms was going to have any reference to Elton John’s Rocketman. I now understand why there isn’t.
Anyone reason to dislike Zemeckis’s creepy-ass corpse animation
“Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.”—Alan Moore (via womanofsteele)