& dad lessons from mars

Not gonna lie—this isn't a great movie. Not really even a good one.

Fair Warning: I’m going to be talking about what happens in this movie. So if you’ve been waiting to see Mars Needs Moms with that special someone, you probably don’t want to read those parts of this. You probably also want to get professional help.

Sometime back, Karli and I watched Mars Needs Moms on Netflix. I can’t remember why—maybe we were just really bored that day and we hadn’t seen it. If my memory serves me correctly, though, there aren’t a whole lot of people that had seen it, actually. But that’s not the point of this post.

The premise of the movie, if you haven’t seen it (and you probably haven’t), is that the main character’s* mom is kidnapped and he hitches a ride on the spaceship. He finds out that Martians kidnap a mother from Earth every 25 years or so because that’s when their babies are born, and the women don’t have maternal instincts, so they take the mother’s knowledge to put into mommy robots that will raise their babies. The Earth mom dies in the process.

*A little side bit of trivia on the movie. They shot using that motion capture animation thing (which always looks pretty creepy), and Seth Green played the main character. Only they didn’t like how he sounded, so they dubbed over him with a kid and kept his motion capture part. Weird, right? And he’s still billed in the credits as starring in the movie.

Over the course of the movie, it’s revealed that the male babies are basically sent off to live in the garbage dump—because they’re considered weak—where they’re raised by the other males. See, on Mars, the men are the feminine, child-rearing, emotional ones.

I’m going to leave aside the fact that I hate stories and movies that just operate off some kind of reversal of how things are in the real world. It’s a cheap gimmick that ends up being overly didactic and doesn’t really put any kind of effort into actual storytelling. Blech.

The movie was pushing the ideal of the traditional family—mom, dad, kids—and the moral was that kids benefit from having both parents in the household*. Actually, that’s not really it at all. No, the movie was mostly just putting forth that kids need the nurturing mom role in their lives. Even though the dads were the “moms” in the Martian culture, they were still trying to point out how kids need their mommies. In the movie, they just switched the genders on Mars, so they weren’t trying to say how important it is to have a dad actively involved in your life—just that you need a mom.

*I’m ignoring the secondary moral on the importance of creativity and art and originality, but obviously I didn’t have a problem with that message. So I’m leaving it alone.

Sure, they're supposed to be the "moms," but how can you not want to be a dad like them? Except for the wardrobe, of course.

I gotta say that it didn’t sit well with me that they were sort of ignoring the importance of dads. Not cool, Disney. Especially with your very well-documented history of father figures.

It’s not like I’m trying to denigrate families without dads—single-mom families or two-mom families or whatever—but I do think that kids, no matter their gender, do better with quality role models of both genders. And for most kids, their dad is that role model. Which means it’s important for Disney to promote both parental roles. It’s important to have well-adjusted moms and dads. Don’t try telling kids one is more important than the other. Dick move, Disney.

On the other hand, I kind of dug the father Martians in the movie. In an I-kinda-want-to-be-just-like-them sort of way. They were engaged and responsive with their kids in a great way that the Martian women (and as we’re supposed to extrapolate—Earth men) weren’t.

I feel kinda one-note sometimes—blah, blah, dads are treated like goofball idiots, what an outrage—but I’m not really down with the notion that dads are the clueless buffoons of the family, and I’m even pretty opposed to the idea that men choose to be that way in order to get out of responsibility.

I kinda want to be the dad that embarrasses Squatch with how involved I am in stuff. Looking forward to it, actually.

Oh, and the kid rescues his mom and goes back to Earth with her. Happily ever after. Now you don’t have to waste your time watching the movie.

Tomorrow, I’ll have a giveaway. Like an actual thing! Come back to see what it is. And tell your friends.


9 thoughts on “& dad lessons from mars

  1. I think this was a movie, for kids, to reinforce the idea of cuddling and emotions as being an important part of growing up, doesn’t matter if it is mom or dad. I think you read a lot more into it, maybe because you are going to be a parent soon and want to get ready. As a parent and preschool teacher for over 10 years, my advice for you is that you just know kids need economic, emotional, and physical care and some ridiculus things will be presented to them in cartoons and movies It’s better to just decide if you fnd it harmful or not and drop it, otherwise you will end up like me, upset that Spongebob, a talking sponge, is drinking a drink underwater and it’s just in the glass,not dissipating into the water around it. Good review though, 🙂

    Oh yes, and put your kid into boarding school as soon as they hit 13, trust me, start saving now.

    • I think Dr. Seuss had a thing against dads. Kind of like Disney’s mommy vendetta.

      Strangely enough, I don’t really mind it when there are no parents present in a kids’ movie. Just when they make one (usually, the dad) an absentee just for the sake of convenience.

  2. You can never, ever be too vigilant about what you show your children. Even if one negative or misleading concept is lost on them, it doesn’t mean that the next one won’t be. So I completely agree with you that this can be filed under “Yet Another Disney Movie That Compromises the Role of Fathers” and therefore my child won’t see it if I have anything to do with it. Sure, it possibly has some redeeming qualities, but there are a million other edifying movies and films geared towards kids that do too, so those are the ones they’ll see.


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