‘Escape from Planet Earth’ Review

Published 1 year ago by , Updated September 11th, 2014 at 1:46 am,

escape from planet earth movie review Escape from Planet Earth Review

Escape from Planet Earth is the first theatrical release for computer animation company Rainmaker Entertainment, the Canadian studio behind the direct-to-video Barbie fairy tale series. It’s also the third full-length 3D cartoon distributed by the Weinstein Company banner, after the Hoodwinked! movies. Development has been ongoing since 2007, culminating with the film opening in the middle of February to a wide release (over 3,000 theaters) but little-to-no significant marketing.

The Escape from Planet Earth voice cast includes Rob Corddry (Warm Bodies) as Gary Supernova, a resident of the distant planet Baab who works for the organization BASA, which specializes in rescue missions, and is the brains behind his brother Scorch (Brendan Fraser), a dim-witted hunk admired as a lone hero by the blue-skinned public. When Scorch is captured on a notoriously dangerous world known as “The Dark Planet” (spoiler: it’s Earth), his scrawny nerdy sibling must step up and save the day.

In some ways, Escape from Planet Earth represents the epitome of junky children’s entertainment. It cynically aims the majority of jokes at adults, stringing together a menagerie of pop culture references and satire that will pass right over the heads of many viewers belonging to the juice box crowd; hence, it does not even qualify for the “It’s meant for kids!” defense. On the other hand, the underlying messages and lessons inherent to the story are worthwhile. The problem is, they are presented in such a muddled and emotionally-unsatisfactory fashion that many a discerning adult will probably struggle to appreciate them (much less, kids still learning to read between the lines of a film’s narrative).

escape from planet earth movie Escape from Planet Earth Review

The Supernova clan: Kip, Gary and his wife Kira

Director and co-writer Cal Brunker served as a storyboard artist on Horton Hears a Who!Despicable Me and Ice Age: Continental Drift, and you get the feeling he was aiming to tell a tender, funny and meaningful story with his feature-length directing debut. Indeed, Escape from Planet Earth examines the continued importance of the nuclear family structure in the 21st century and how every member of that unit is valuable. However, the majority of the characters are either poorly written or just saddled with flat arcs – with exceptions, such as Gary’s career woman-turned stay at home wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker). Meanwhile, the conflict involving Gary’s son Kip (Jonathan Morgan Heit) not looking up to his dad because he’s, y’know, a NERD, feels outdated and doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Part of the reason the story and character elements feel so disorganized and weak can be chalked up to seven different writers landing credit on the movie (including Brunker), while a lawsuit filed by the story co-writer Tony Leech and producer Brian Inerfeld asserts the Weinsteins forced 17 rewrites on the script total. That also explains why the editing feels so choppy (with pop song excerpts often stuck in uncomfortably here and there), while the humor includes weird targets like the Best Picture-winner The Artist – which was distributed by the Weinstein Company, no coincidence – and the Beatles, along with other gags that most adults should find too lame to enjoy (and kids will neither understand nor care about).

escape from planet earth characters Escape from Planet Earth Review

Doc (Craig Robinson), Io (Jane Lynch) and Thurman (George Lopez)

The supporting cast is rounded out by Star Trek icon William Shatner, Jessica Alba (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Craig Robinson (The Office), Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), Jane Lynch (Glee) and comedians George Lopez and Ricky Gervais. Much like the main cast members, their performances are fine but cannot overcome being attached to uninteresting characters. Similarly, the computer-animation fails to compensate for shortcomings elsewhere; it’s not all that expressive, nor are the various designs and backgrounds fitting caricatures of reality (and the 3D effect is negligible, save for a scene or two). Pixar and DreamWorks, this ain’t.

However, at the end of the day, all of these flaws would be more forgivable if the film offered better fun for younger viewers and presented its themes in a coherent manner. As it stands, though, Escape from Planet Earth isn’t the sort of movie that will please either parents or their kids beyond serving as a mindless distraction for a couple hours.

Here is the trailer for Escape from Planet Earth:

Escape from Planet Earth is 89 minutes long and Rated PG for for action and some mild rude humor. It is currently playing in 2D and 3D theaters.

Our Rating:

2 out of 5

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  1. Im somewhat shocked this even got a 2

  2. This is a two star movie weekend. I don’t know what to see :(

  3. Thought the title to this report said, Escape from New York.

    • ummm i love this movie

      • I am really glad. But does your mommy know you are on a website like this?

  4. This must be bad. This is the first I have heard of this. I have not seen one preview for this at all.

  5. I remember seeing ads for this AGES ago. I thought it was a “pass” then. I’m of the same opinion today. :-/

  6. I’m guessing they decided to use the title for the third Escape movie that was never finished before Kurt Russell had his chance to finally use it.

    Never heard of this movie before and the trailer looks terrible.

  7. reminds me of planet 51, i’m good. already day good day to die hard, cant see two ‘bad’ movies in one weekend

  8. Patrick Bateman. It is silly to be deciding not to go due to your proclaimed loyalty to Planet 51. Who’s to know if the idea for a alien animated film originated with Planet 51?
    The truth is that kids will really like it and that is all that matters.

  9. Took my 5 year old and he loved it. I loved it too. Reminded me of the incredibles a bit..kids all around us had a great time and that’s what matters. Asked my son how he would rate it and he gave it a 10 out of 10. It was a good weekend movie for us.

    • I understand your 5 year old loving it. But comparing it to the Incredibles?!?!? I think you were this film’s target audience…

      • Took my #5 Year Old today, OMG the kid also loved it! First movie that ever kept him laughing & entertained through the entire thing:)

      • I have no loyalty to Planet 51. It was imo a lame animated movie as is this one.

  10. I’ve never seen the movie, but I probably will rent it later on. From my perspective on seeing the trailers and the previews, it looks like it will be geared mainly towards a children’s audience from the plot points, mild humor, and character animation.

    I think I will see it just mainly for the animation. It looks awsome!

  11. Anyone remember what the movie is where the aliens took the bomb wire cutting scene from?

    • Does it work for the story?

  12. Horrible music, the jokes aimed at adults would be better if they had been funny. They wasted so much talent it was horrible. I wouldn’t give it 1 star out of 5. Perhaps half a star for an almost good premise that was horribly fulfilled.

    I wonder if the Weinsteins will send me a refund for having sat through this piece of s**t.

    • I wonder if YOU could make something better? Didn’t think so.

      • I have acted on stage and television and produced 3D animation for television advertising. I have never created such drek as this. Even my 2 minute ads have more life, humor, and quality than this POS.

  13. So I only saw this movie because of the Owl City “Shooting Star” music video that tied in with it (which was awesome). I had read the reviews and it didn’t seem that interesting, but because I love Owl City I decided to go check it out after seeing the music video.

    Anyway, despite going in with low expectations (or maybe because of this?) I enjoyed the film. It wasn’t amazing, but was cute and entertaining, and I really like Brendan Fraser’s character – I think he’s a way better voice actor actually than live-action actor. For a movie aimed at kids, it had enough sporadic entertainment in there for adults to satisfy, so I give it a C+/B-.

  14. ” That also explains why the editing feels so choppy (with pop song excerpts often stuck in uncomfortably here and there), while the humor includes weird targets like the Best Picture-winner The Artist – which was distributed by the Weinstein Company, no coincidence – and the Beatles, along with other gags that most adults should find too lame to enjoy (and kids will neither understand nor care about).”
    I didn’t watch this movie, but my seven-year-old son did with his mother. The only reason I even came across this review was because he came home talking about watching a movie that ‘had the voices of the Beatles’. Perhaps you underestimate his generation just a tad.