Do you grownups remember "Bloom County?"
It was a comic strip starring Opus the Penguin, and it was created by Berkeley Breathed, the same author who wrote the children's book "Mars Needs Moms."
Kids won't care about that. But adults (yours truly, for example) who miss Breathed's humor-with-an-edge contributions to the "funnies" will welcome his familiar, offbeat humor. Kids will just laugh at this strangely touching tale about the bond between mothers and their children.
In an auditorium next door, "Battle: Los Angeles" is pretending to be a science-fiction story. "Mars Needs Moms" is the real deal. Seems that Martian mothers don't bring up children. Instead, "nanny bots" are programmed to care for youngsters.
The robots, in turn, are programmed from the brains of human mothers. Every few years, Martians come to our planet seeking a woman with a tremendous mothering instinct and kidnap her so they can transfer those child-rearing skills to the robots.
When the movie opens, Milo (voice of Seth Green) is bickering with his mom (Joan Cusack). He doesn't want to eat his broccoli and he doesn't want to do his chores. He becomes so annoyed that he tells his mother he'd be better off if he didn't have a mom.
When he regrets what he said, Milo decides to apologize. That's when he sees his mother being transported to a Martian ship, on which he stows away in an effort to find her and bring her home. When the ship lands, he is befriended by a dotty young man named Gribble (Dan Fogler) and a rogue graffiti artist Martian named Ki (Elisabeth Harnois).
Gribble harbors some secrets he doesn't want to share with Milo, who must uncover the truth quickly so he can help his mother.
The movie is being shown in both IMAX 3-D and the regular format. I was the only one in the theater where the regular format version was shown, but I can tell you the movie is very entertaining even without the addition of IMAX technology. I'm glad I was alone in the auditorium because, near the end of the movie is one of the most beautiful scenes ever to depict motherly love. Yep, I ended up wiping my eyes on my sleeves. (Who would think to bring tissues to a movie titled "Mars Needs Moms"?)
After the credits begin to roll, be sure to stick around for a brief documentary that shows how the motion-capture-based animation (think "The Polar Express" and "A Christmas Carol") was created.
Take your kids. And take some tissues.