(This is a Mom only review this time.)
I finally had a chance to see the new Weinstein movie, Escape from Planet Earth, the other day. I’ll admit, I was hesitant to see it, as it had received a variety of mixed reviews. Have I ever been one to follow the mumblings of a few (out-of-touch, pompous) reviewers, though? No, I make my own choices and decisions!
Perhaps I’m not difficult to please, or perhaps my expectations for movie watching are not as (outrageously) high as some of those critics. When I go to the movies, I like to be entertained, wowed by the cinematography, and feel an emotional connection with the characters. An added bonus is to hear the melodious laughter of children enjoying themselves. (I am guessing 99% of the movie-going public feels the same way.) I am not looking for Citizen Kane or Gone with the Wind in an animated movie, I am looking for fun. I want a great animated movie, with interesting characters, one that will keep my family entertained. Escape From Earth fits the bill, and I found it to be a funny, endearing movie, with incredible animation, and an easy-to-follow story line. Simple as that.
Let’s break it down a little, looking at my three per-requisites: To be entertained, to be wowed by the cinematography, and an emotional connection with the characters.
I was certainly entertained by Escape From Planet Earth, but then who wouldn’t be, with such a stellar cast as William Shatner, Brendan Frazier, Sophia Vergara, Rob Corddry. Ricky Gervais, and Sarah Jessica Parker? Each actor brought their own unique quirkiness to their character. Brenden Frazier as the handsome, admired hero, Scorch? Check! William Shatner as the deviously evil (yet outrageously funny) General Shanker, hell bent on capturing aliens. Check! Ricky Gervais as the somewhat snarky computer voice, Mr. Bing? Oh yes! Rob Corddry as the geeky alien brother who (surprise), saves the day? Absolutely! Sarah Jessica Parker and Sophia Vergara as Kira and Gabby, the (sexy) long-suffering wives of Scorch and Gary? Though underused in the storyline, I thought they were perfect in their roles.
Visually, the movie was pretty darn awesome. The colors were crisper than most animated movies, making the story seem more real. The animation was fascinating, and the “realness” of the facial expressions made the characters appear more “human”. I know…aliens with human features. Go figure.
My third qualification was to have an emotional connection with the characters. I felt for Gary, and was even a bit frustrated at the atypical stereotype of the “nerd” being pushed aside (and disrespected) for the stronger (yet dumber) hunky dude. Still, brains beat brawn (again), and Gary was the hero he was supposed to be in the end. I thought Shanker was devilishly evil, almost to the point of campy, and Mr. Bing (voiced by Ricky Gervais) had an almost Hal-like quality (2001, The Space Odyssey). The characters had a humorous quirks and inside stories that went over younger children’s head, but kept adults entertained.
Okay, time for the niddy griddy…
This movie does have a few scenes that may be scary for younger children. You know your own child, so use discretion when bringing children under 6 years old, as they may become agitated by some of the scenes. Overall, though, most children will find the movie humorous and entertaining. Remember how I mentioned how much I love to hear the sound of children’s laughter? There is plenty of that in this movie, and the laughter sounds beautiful!
Look at that! Escape From Planet Earth met all my qualifications for a hit movie! I am guessing it will meet yours too, so just ignore those silly reviews, and make your own opinion.