Robert Zemeckis is poised to leave behind the motion-capture animation trend he helped pioneer, but in the meantime, the new film Mars Needs Moms (which he produced) is ready to take up his slack: namely, by continuing to plumb the uncanny valley in a deeply unnerving way. Directed by Simon Wells (An American Tail: Fievel Goes West) and based on the book by Berkeley Breathed, it's the sort of animated movie that's insistent that its human characters look as lifelike as possible, though it should be noted that the children's book it was based on actually embraced its cartoonishness. Once upon a time, the outlandish, space-set plot of Mars Needs Moms — a boy has to find and learn to appreciate his mom after she's kidnapped by Martians — might have required an animated approach in order to keep its budget down, but the booming effects industry and the expensive motion-capture process make the decision kind of a draw. Directors are actually making a choice to have animation that's as realistic as possible, but the point of animation is lost in the process: The result is a kind of cartoon that seems like it doesn't actually want to be a cartoon.
Most Viewed Stories
The 100 Jokes That Shaped Modern Comedy
Every Coen Brothers Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
Just Another Moment You Wish Judge Judy Were Your Mom
Matt Czuchry’s Logan Will Return for the Gilmore Girls Revival
When Adele Was Young, She Was Just Cute Little Toothless Adele Adkins, As Seen on Her New Single Art
The Curious Decline of Paul Mooney
Jessie J Says She’s Considered ‘One of the Greatest Singers’ in America, Which Is Like Sending Yourself Flowers to Make Your Crush Jealous
The Big Bang Theory Recap: Meet the Meemaw
The Rocky Horror Picture Show Cast Takes Their 40th-Anniversary Reunion Photo
The Coen Brothers’ Star-Packed Hail, Caesar! Feels Overdeliberate
Latest News from VultureHold on to Your Fedoras: Bruno Mars Will Perform With Beyoncé and Coldplay at Super Bowl 50
Treasure! That is what you are!Jennifer Lopez Will Have to Magically Find More Time in Her Schedule for Shades of Blue Season 2
NBC is sticking with J.Lo.Martin Is Not Happy Kurt Russell Smashed Its Priceless Antique Guitar in Hateful Eight
The production was supposed to swap it out for a replica.How Comedy Finally Caught Up to Female Comedians
Things have changed since Elayne Boosler.Samuel L. Jackson, Mad Max, and Susan Sontag: My Road Trip With A.O. Scott
I arrived at his house in Prospect–Lefferts Gardens around 8:15, and we set out in his blue Subaru.Samantha Bee on Diversity: ‘The F*cking Thing You Have to Do Is Just Hire People’
“It's not really the most complicated transaction."The Friday Night Lights 10-Year Reunion Is Happening in Austin Because Texas Forever
Clear eyes, full hair.Meek Mill Avoids Jail, But Will Spend 90 Days on House Arrest for Violating Probation
Amen!Your Boyfriends Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum Are Making a Movie-Musical About Pilots Who Sing and Dance
Swoon.American Idol Recap: Final Judgement
I am Team Johnson. Or Team Blosil. Or maybe Team Bourg.
"To me, I look at artists like Skrillex, and that guy is rock and roll."Kate del Castillo Feels ‘Betrayed’ and ‘Used’ by Sean Penn Because of His El Chapo Article
Traidor!Netflix Will Debut David Lynch-Produced Doc My Beautiful Broken Brain March 18, Also Known As The Day You Cry The Hardest In Your Brief, Wonderful Life
About filmmaker Lotje Modderland's recovery from a stroke.It’s Time to Start Watching Poldark
Poldark's popularity lies firmly at the arms-and-abs combo of its leading man.Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Commits to Its Premise But Falls Short Where It Counts
You can enjoy the film — well, parts of it — as a middling stock production with flurries of gore to break the monotony.Why Richard Pryor Marks the Beginning of the Modern Comedy Era
Comedy is divided by before Richard Pryor: Live in Concert and after Richard Pryor: Live in Concert.The 100 Recap: The 13th Clan
Lexa is the only person who really understands Clarke.Rihanna Joins List of Grammy Performers, So Go Ahead and Cancel Your President’s Day Plans. Those Discounted Mattresses Can Wait.
Please let her do "Love on the Brain." Please let her do "Love on the Brain."The Coen Brothers’ Star-Packed Hail, Caesar! Feels Overdeliberate
This milieu begs for a loose, scattershot tone, one in which every line isn’t archly parodic.Every Coen Brothers Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best
Nearly every Coen Brothers film treads the same themes, but you’d never mistake one for another.