We’ve always wondered whether or not there’s other life out there in the galaxy. How far away are they? Are they friendly? Have they already visited us? “Escape from Planet Earth” answers all those questions and a few more in a movie that doesn’t try to re-write the whole ‘aliens-visiting-Earth’ formula but instead adapts it into something we’re already so very used to.
In Another World…
The stars of “Escape from Planet Earth” are Gary and Scorch Supernova (voiced by Rob Corddry and Brendan Fraser, respectively). They are brothers who live on the planet Baab and work at their planet’s version of NASA called BASA. When Scorch takes on a dangerous mission to travel to the Dark Planet (i.e. Earth), Gary tries to intervene but Scorch’s machismo proves too strong for Gary’s logic and Scorch goes anyway. Needless to say, things go bad fast and it is up to Gary to rescue his brother.
Intergalactic Sibling Rivalry?
Now, if you’re walking into this movie expecting a touching story of ‘visitors-from-space’ a la “E.T.”, then you should probably stop yourself before you’re completely abducted. As previously mentioned, this isn’t anything we haven’t seen in various alien movies throughout the ages, and “Escape from Planet Earth” doesn’t really offer anything new to the existing formula. Apart from a predictable plot, underdeveloped characters and cheesy dialogue, perhaps the strongest part of this movie is the chemistry between Gary and Scorch. Gary is the type to prefer brains over brawn while Scorch is the opposite. The differences between the two are very much obvious and we can feel that Gary harbors some jealousy towards his brother but that’s unfortunately about as deep as the movie goes emotions-wise.
Positively Witty Yet Unoriginal
There’s a bit of a sub-plot concerning a traitorous agent on Baab but their motives are never really explained and you’re left with the burning question of ‘why’? A couple more unexplained character back stories add to the confusion. The voice acting isn’t half bad with stars such as William Shatner and Ricky Gervais lending their voices to the movie but their dialogue isn’t all that memorable or funny. There are a few genuinely clever pop-culture references even though they feel as if they’re there to make the movie seem ‘hip’, but they become easily overshadowed by everything else in the movie that just doesn’t work. As is common in most kids’ movies there are a few heartfelt moments, but unfortunately they miss their mark and elicit little emotion.
Maybe I’m being too harsh here because it’s only a kids’ movie and not much can be expected in terms of drama or character development but if movies like “Toy Story 3”, “Up”, or “Brave” can be made, one would hope that everything else would at least try and follow suit with those well-developed movies. Sadly, such is not the case with “Escape from Planet Earth”.