Tonight was the first public screening of Mars Needs Moms and Unseen Films was there.
I went to the screening, not because I really wanted to see the film, I love the book and it means something for me because it came out right before my mom died and it meant a great deal for both of us; rather I went to the screening because most Opening Night screenings of the film festival are a great deal of fun.
This year it was a low key affair. Outside of a few thank yous and the obligatory t-shirt toss they simply ran the film. I was disappointed, but that's just me nit picking.
The film is the story of Milo, who after saying some harsh words to his mom has to save her when she is kidnapped and taken to Mars.
The movie is the latest motion capture cartoon from Robert Zemekis. Why he bothers to animate the films is beyond me since you're essentially doing the film straight anyway is beyond me, but that's my own problem.(And apparently Hollywood's since these films cost a mint and don't really return the money).
Based on the book by Berkley Breathed they've taken the bare plot, threw away everything else and made up a bunch of new stuff involving the Martians, Gribble (a human) and some robots. It's a breezy 88 minutes that isn't really burdened by things like character development. Only two characters arc, Gribble and Li, and the rest are just too in motion to do much other than run.
I'm being snarky, but it's not fair. This is a good little movie that, as I tweeted and said to friends, is way better than it has any right to be. I liked it a great deal (largely because of the new characters).
Is it perfect? No. It's really little more than an expanded short (though coming from a short picture book isn't surprising), but it moves along. You won't get bored.
A word of warning, this is being shown in 2D and 3D and IMAX and in regular theaters. Go for the regular theaters and 2D versions. First off the film was shot in a great wide screen that is going to get mixed up in IMAX. Secondly there is maybe two shots in the entire film that is worth seeing in 3D. The shots are fleeting and not worth the bump up in price.
Over all a nice start to this year's festival.