Readers familiar with Berkeley Breathed’s charmingly off-kilter comic strip Bloom County will be pleased by the news that Walt Disney Pictures has adapted one of the writer/illustrator’s other works, Mars Needs Moms, into a feature-length motion picture.

Disney has unleashed the trailer for its adaptation of Mars Needs Moms, but did the cleverly warped story from Breathed really need to be brought to life via Robert Zemeckis’ motion-capture technology?

The premise behind Mars Needs Moms is simple, but fun: Nine year-old Milo (Seth Green) learns the hard way about how important his mom (Joan Cusack) is when she’s kidnapped by Martians who are, for whatever reason, suffering from a shortage of maternal types. Milo teams up with a “tech-savvy, underground earthman” by the name of Gribble (who, as played by Dan Fogler, acts like Jack Black’s long-lost brother) and an alien gal called Ki (Elisabeth Harnois) to rescue his beloved parent.

Zemeckis produced Mars Needs Moms, which uses the same performance-capture techniques as his films Polar Express and A Christmas Carol – hence how the 36-year old Green is able to physically portray a kid about 1/4th his age. But has Zemeckis’ mo-cap technology improved enough to avoid being negatively compared to that of James Cameron’s from Avatar?

Watch the Mars Needs Moms trailer below and find out:

Mars Needs Moms looks to pander far less to the under-10 crowd than next month’s Yogi Bear, but the 3D sci-fi pic is still very much for young moviegoers. The plot and characters seem satisfactory, if not especially memorable, and the trailer at least doesn’t go overboard with the pop culture references (aside from the obvious Star Wars homage), which bodes well for the film.

While the performance-capture animation is a vast improvement over that in The Polar Express, it still is weak, judging by this early footage. The characters’ expressions just look off, unnatural, and distract from the rest of the visuals on display, which are otherwise colorful and realistic enough in their own right.

It’s possible that Mars Needs Moms will benefit from being viewed on the big screen and that the characters’ features will look less wax-like. What do you think?

Mars Needs Moms hits 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D screens in the U.S. on March 11th, 2011.

Source: Walt Disney Pictures