Having seemingly exited the corporeal plane altogether for a ghoulish netherworld of dead-eyed digital atrocities, Robert Zemeckis (formerly of Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, now of Beowulf, A Christmas Carol, and The Polar Express) has yet again flexed his sizeable motion-capture muscle to produce a modest 3D adaptation of a recent children's book by Bloom County author Berkeley Breathed. Mars Needs Moms' premise is relatively simple: Martians abduct an Earth mom (Joan Cusack) in an effort to have her raise their Martian babies; meanwhile, her crybaby prepubescent son stows away aboard their spaceship to save her.

Along the way, Crybaby Son meets a bunch of super racist alien characterizations in the modern sci-fi mold à la Jar Jar Binks or just about anyone in Avatar, witnesses some creepy interspecies love, and learns the meaning of family or whatever.

More interesting than the movie itself, though, is the question of subtle cyber semantics it raises: Mars Needs Moms ostensibly "stars" grown man Seth Green as the prepubescent Crybaby Son, but get this—they've meticulously replaced all of his recorded dialogue with that of some authentic 12-year-old voice actor. Which I guess means that Green just put those weird motion-capture dots on his weird ginger face and walked around in front of a blue screen for like a week or something? And then he gets to walk away with all of the "glory" and what I imagine must be a novelty-sized Disney paycheck? The future is confusing, you guys. Thank god we've got Robert Zemeckis to comfortably usher us into dystopian cartoon slavery. recommended