People's Feminist Film Critic Hates 'Mars Needs Moms'

People magazine film critic Alynda Wheat had a major political problem with the new Disney computer-animated movie Mars Needs Moms. It's viciously anti-feminist. But that's a much different review than the one in the other Time Inc. rag, Entertainment Weekly. Wheat unloaded with this one-star (out of four) review:

Berkeley Breathed's 2007 kids' book Mars Needs Moms had a sweet but sharp point: Love your mother-or aliens will. But between page and screen some nasty gender politics entered this story....What's offensive is that the twisted dictator behind the deadly brain-sucking plot is the Supervisor, a vicious caricature of a feminist who thinks men are stupid and raising kids is a waste of a woman's time. Between the violence and the vitriol, what Mars really needs is a spanking.

Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly offered a much different take, and gave the film an A-minus:

Enhanced by nimble ad-libbing from the comedy-trained cast, the screenplay is delightful, by turns funny and emotional, as befits a Disney family fable in which, through wacky adversity, Mom and kid reaffirm their love for each other while Dad is nowhere in sight. (He's not dead, just away on business.)

 ….Certainly it's the right way to go when visiting the Mars of this cool story, a wittily conceived planet of curvy female soldiers and sidelined males, ruled by a splendidly screechy old crone called the Supervisor. (She's voiced by Austin Powers' excellent Frau Farbissina herself, Mindy Sterling.)

Schwarzbaum is no slouch when it comes to feminism in movies. NB's Colleen Raezler noted in 2007 she found Juno didn't have enough feminism in it:

The old-school feminist in me wishes "Juno" spent more time, even a tart sentence or two, acknowledging that the options taken for granted by this one attractive, articulate teen are in fact hard-won, precious rights, and need to be guarded by a new-generation army of Junos and Bleekers, spreading the word by text message as well as by hamburger phone.

She also found the idea of Brokeback Mountain winning Oscars "fantastic" and"extraordinary."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis