Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Some Unmet Potential
It’s not unheard of for a children’s film to revolve around the concept of alien life, especially for CGI-animated works. It’s not even a mystery as to why this is such a popular topic. There is no limit to what an animator can sculpt, no limit as to how colorful these characters are…inside and out. Plus, kids just like to wonder about the life beyond the stars. Endless possibilities are found in the universe, most of which will never be discovered in our lifetimes. These animated stories bring life to the what-ifs, and contain enough laughs for the whole family – but do we really need another CGI alien film? To answer that, we take a look at Escape from Planet Earth.
In this not-so-unearthly tale, we follow a little blue alien by the name of Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry). You see, Gary’s brother, Scorch (Brendan Fraser), is a superstar that practically everyone in the universe looks up to…like a superhero. When Scorch answers a distress call coming from the “Dark Planet” A.K.A Earth, he immediately answers the call and gets captured by humans in the alien base known as Area 51. It’s up to Gary to get over his fear of the field and save his brother from the evil human race. While on Earth, Gary, Scorch, and a number of other colorful aliens must steer clear of General Shanker’s (William Shatner) wrath as he creates a dangerous weapon.
You can almost immediately tell that kids will love this film. There are funny-looking and colorful aliens with a remarkable sense of humor, but entertaining children is not typically the most challenging aspect filmmakers have to deal with. In other words, it’s not really that hard to amuse a child. However, like adults, the challenge comes when getting kids to want to see it again, to buy it, to annoy their parents by watching it on repeat. Escape from Planet Earth just didn’t have that oomph that it could have had. Mostly, because watching it for the first time may make the viewer feel as if they’ve already seen it before…there isn’t really too much that is especially unique about this film.
I would guess that another part of the movie that was missing was a connection to the viewers. There is one distinct connection with anyone watching, and that was the brilliant choice to implement 7-11. It may be blatantly obvious with its sponsors, but the main thing that they did was connect to the audience. There isn’t a lot of people who won’t know what a 7-11 is, and it is always hilarious to see a character act towards something we see as common, and have no idea what it is. The movie needed more of these moments, but it unfortunately ended at that gas station. It’s not as if deciding against more moments like this ruined the rest of the movie, because it didn’t, but it would have helped if they did more.
Because this is an animated film, it needs to be said that the animation and graphics are top notch. There really isn’t anything bad you can say about how the movie looks. Yes, they play a little too steeply on the 3D-side of things, making things pop out, but what do you expect? It’s a kid’s movie, and that’s just another way to make kids like the movie, even if that kind of 3D is not good for your eyes.
There are kids’ movies that kids can enjoy, and there are kids’ movies that the whole family can enjoy. For the most part, this fits more into the former. Yes, there are moments here and there that will have the whole family chuckling at, but in the long run, only kids can enjoy the thing in its entirety, and even then kids would probably be okay with watching it only once.
Check it out for yourself, as Escape from Planet Earth was just released to Blu-Ray and DVD on Jun. 4!