Escape from Planet Earth
Escape from Planet Earth
Director: Cal Brunker
Writers: Cal Brunker, Bob Barlen, Tony Leech, Cory Edwards
Voice Cast: Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Jessica Alba, Sofía Vergara, Paul Scheer, Jason Simpson, Sarah Jessica Parker, Doug Abrahams, William Shatner, Bob Bergen, Sean Kenin, Steve Zahn, Chris Parnell, George Lopez, Craig Robinson, Jane Lynch, Tim Dadabo
Synopsis: Astronaut Scorch Supernova finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for action and some mild rude humor
First there was "Planet 51", and now there's "Escape Planet Earth"
In a bit of a role reversal, this movie focuses on aliens crash landing on our world that's deemed mysterious and scary. Now stuck in this savage wasteland, the aliens must find a way to get back home. Like "Planet 51", it takes a tired old alien "B-Movie" formula; while adding a subtle role reversal twist to it. Unlike "Planet 51" though, this film seems to be a bit more contemporary; while featuring the stereotype of two brothers that hate each other, but really love each other.
Gee, I wonder how this movie is going to turn out. This is one of those dime a dozen animated films where unless you've never seen a movie in your life, then chances are you already know what's going to happen. You know, at some point, the brothers are going to put aside their petty differences, and finally admit they love each other. You know they're going to bond, and learn stuff about each other. And, you know everything will turn out alright at the end. This film is nothing if not insanely predictable. But on the other hand, does that mean "Escape from Planet Earth" is a bad movie?
Well, lets get into that now. As I briefly mentioned earlier, the film concentrates on the bro-mance between two alien brothers, Scorch (Brendan Fraser) and Gary (Rob Corddry). For those wondering what bro-mance means, it's basically two guys that share a very deep platonic relationship with each other; hence making them almost like brothers. But, I guess that would make sense seeing as how they really are brothers in this film....
Anyways, Scorch is a famous astronaut that's known for going on epic dangerous adventures in space. Always seeking danger, while everyone cheers him on as a hero. Sure, Scorch is an idiot half the time, but the people of his world don't give a damn. Nah, they only care about his adventures, and how he uses his brawn to beat up the bad guy.
I mean screw his brother, Gary, who only strategies each of his missions; while also acting sort of the brains behind the whole operation. Who cares about him? Besides, he just sits back at the base safely pushing buttons. It's not like he's in any danger. Nah, his brother does all the real work, as he doesn't need his brains to plan out missions. Nope, Scorch could go into a mission all gung ho if he wanted to, and still live; intelligence or strategy be damned. By the way, I'm being sarcastic for those that can't tell.
In this film, Scorch is a celebrity that's a giant idiot. He takes on dangerous missions for glory, while often blowing off the advice of his brother, who tries to implement strategy into each of the missions. Heck, even Gary's own son, Kip (Jonathan Morgan Heit), thinks his dad is something of a loser because he just pushes buttons, and plans things for the mission from the home planet. It's not like he's ever gotten his hands dirty, right?
Needless to say, Scorch plans his next mission to the most dangerous planet the universe has ever known. A planet so evil that it's the only one, in existence where the creatures have devolved over the years, instead of evolving like we should have. Oh my, what kind of strange world is it? Why, it's none other than our own planet, Earth. A planet so ridden with savages that every alien that has dared landed there has never returned.
Naturally, Gary is told at the last minute about this suicidal mission, and warns his brother that it might be best to work out a strategy first. But to paraphrase a statement from "Blazing Saddles", "Strategy...we don't need no stinking strategy." Nah, Scorch just tells Gary that his job is worthless, and how he doesn't need his brother's help. After all, Scorch only needs his brawn to survive, and everyone in the company they work for, and Kip believe that to be true.
But, things go wrong, as Scorch lands in Roswell, New Mexico. The USA military takes him out, and imprisons him in the infamous Area 51, where they plan to all sort of experiments to him. With no hope in sight, Gary eventually decides to embark on a suicide mission of his own to save Scorch's life. Will he succeed? Or is there something more going on than meets the eye? Will Gary ever gain the love and respect he deserves from his son and brother by the time this is all over? Stay tuned and find out.
Although I will admit, the film does leave a few surprises here and there, but for the most part, it's fairly predictable for what you'd expect it to be. The characters are fairly decent, and I have to say the voice acting isn't half bad either. In fact, I would dare even say this is probably Brendan Fraser's best film in years. Although that's not really saying much considering most of his recent films aren't that good (i.e. "Furry Vengeance).
As for the animation itself, I have to say it was fairly impressive. Although the 3-D cinematography was a bit inconsistent at times, it was still a visual treat to watch. Sadly, the character designs leave something to be desired, as most of it was kind of generic. Plus, it would've been nice to see more of Scorch and Gary's home world more, so the audience could get a feel for how drastically different their world was compared to ours.
Overall though, "Escape from Planet Earth" wasn't a bad movie in the least. Sure, it could've been better, but it could've been worse too. I honestly wouldn't recommend anyone seeing this film in theaters, but it's worth a rental whenever the Blue-Ray/DVD gets released. In the end, I'd have to give "Escape from Planet Earth" a two and a half out of four.