*½/**** Image A+ Sound A Extras B+
screenplay by Simon Wells & Wendy Wells, based on the book by Berkeley Breathed
directed by Simon Wells
by Angelo Muredda It's hard to say who Mars Needs Moms was made for. An expensive but passionless special-effects exercise from yeoman director and co-screenwriter Simon Wells (The Time Machine) and producer Robert Zemeckis, who's put all his creative eggs since The Polar Express in the motion-capture basket, Mars Needs Moms sits uneasily with compatriots like The Pagemaster in the no man's land of children's films too dreary for most children to sit through. If it's too taxing a journey for kids, though, it's largely a bore for anyone else--a flat 80 minutes of animated bodies tumbling through metallic space chutes and neon hallways ripped from Tron: Legacy, scarcely made watchable by some of its impressive technological feats and by its surprisingly subdued tone, which at times borders on the elegiac.