It’s commonly believed that we are the superior planet and aliens want nothing more than take over or destruct us. What if the reverse was true? What if aliens were quite happy on their own planets, and we were the ones capturing them against their own will? Review of Escape From Planet Earth after the jump.
On Planet Baab Scorch (voiced by Brendan Fraser) is the national hero. He’s a fearless astronaut who undertakes the most dangerous of missions for BASA, the Baabian Aeronautics and Space Administration. His brother Gary (voiced by Rob Corddry) has the less glamorous but equally important job of running mission control. When an unexpected distress signal is received from Earth, head of BASA, Lena (voiced by Jessica Alba) doesn’t hesitate to send Scorch, despite Gary quitting in protest over how ill-prepared his younger brother is for such a dangerous mission – no one has every come back from Earth, or the Dark Planet as it is known.
To say Scorch failed would be an understatement. He is captured almost immediately and shipped off to a secret US base in Area 51 which is the home to an array of aliens and one very power-hungry man, General Shanker Saunderson (voiced by William Shatner) of the US army, who is using the Aliens’ superior brain power to build a weapon that could give him the ability to destroy most the universe. Can Scorch stop the construction of the weapon? Can Gary save him? Can they all escape from planet Earth?
At only 89 minutes long, Escape From Planet Earth packs a lot of action and adventure in. It’s a fun story which is easy to follow, with likeable characters and life lessons. Our hero is teased for being a computer geek, while his brother gets all the attention for his brawn and charisma. As those of us old enough to know better understand, brains generally win out over showy brawn in the end. The film teaches a valuable lesson about not judging a book by its cover; and that being book smart is something to aspire to, and be proud of.
The animation in the film is bright and fun; although the 3D is largely wasted and not noticeable. If there ever was a time to go to town with some fun 3D effects, then this family alien adventure would have been it. Thanks to a cast of funny and interesting supporting characters (such as the kooky array of aliens in Area 51), there were plenty of amusing scenes and at least half a dozen silly toilet jokes, which got huge laughs from the largely young crowd. Despite the wasted 3D this is a great début feature film from Canadian company Rainmaker Entertainment.
Escape From Planet Earth is extremely successful in what it sets out to be – it’s a fun and adventure-filled kids movie which has been made for its target audience, and not the parents who are bringing them along. Too often kids movies are packed full of adult jokes and things which are far beyond the comprehension of young movie-goers. Escape From Planet Earth has nothing too scary or too complex; it’s a simple and entertaining story with enough to engage the grown-ups too.
By Sam McCosh
Director: Cal Brunker
Writer(s): Cal Brunker & Bob Barlen (screenplay)
Starring: Rob Corddry, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba
Runtime: 89 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: April 11 2013; New Zealand: April 18 2013; USA: February 15 2013