In Mars Needs Moms, odd stereotypes raise their big alien foreheads.
As a movie critic watching a children’s cartoon for a mainstream magazine, some times I’m torn. Do I review an animated movie for all the little kids who can’t read the subtext? And suck it up myself? Well, I suppose, having my own blog this is the place where I ask: what were the filmmakers thinking in the particular case of Mars Needs Moms, an unadulterated piece of anti-feminist propaganda wrapped in an aggressive 3D sci-fi wrapper.
Here’s the plot: Mars is led by a cranky old crone (what, played in the live action by Hilary Clinton?). The leader is assisted by warrior women with very big hips. I can only imagine that was to appease those angry feminists always complaining about the sylph-like figures in the typical Disney princess cartoon, and the negative impact on girls’ body image.
So, these alien women have advanced to the point that they no longer physically deliver children from internal wombs. Infant Martians pop up from the planet’s crust. The female society immediately splits the squawkers by gender. The females are keepers; the males are tossed through a trash chute to be cared for by the outcast men. The males, though a bit crude, are fundamentally jolly, over-affectionate, and wild in the trash heap where they live and circle dance. You cannot make this shit up!
The Martian matriarch raises the female babies using robots. But, apparently, every twenty-five years the extraterrestrials need to snatch a nurturing earthling mother. Then, using weird science, they download her mad mothering skills to the ‘bots in a bit of genetic programming to compensate for the skills that the female Martians have evolved away. This suburban mother (recognized by her ability to get her son to empty the trash) is a stay-at-home mom burdened with that eternal parenting prop: the laundry basket.
There’s more, but here’s the takeaway: the working mothers of Mars have lost their ability as women to love and nurture. They have to import an earth breeder to take care of that one chip necessary to continue the race. And the poor oppressed men, who live in substandard conditions, without a vote, without power, have been totally squelched to the detriment of Martian society.
The answer, my friends, is blowing in the hot air: The reinstitution of the nuclear family – happy mommy, happy daddy, happy baby of either sex — and the annihilation of the cranky crone. If sci fi plots allow their creators to work out real-life issues, then here we see a bunch of angry Hollywood males crying out against their feelings of emasculation with nostalgia for a reinstatement of the nuclear fifties family. Hmmm.