On planet Baab, Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry) is the head of mission control at the Baabian Aeronautics and Space Administration. His younger and more charismatic brother Scorch (Brendan Fraser) is the planet’s most famous astronaut. The difference between the brothers is vast and even Gary’s son Kip (Morgan Heit) prefers his uncle over his father. However, when a failed rescue mission results in Scorch being held captive on planet Earth at the infamous Area 51 by Agent Shanker (William Shatner), it’s left up to Gary to save the day. Can he save his brother and also change the opinion of his son?
We live in a movie universe nowadays that is overrun with computer generated animation aimed directly at kids. A new cartoon kids film appears almost every week, and whilst some have the luxury of being Pixar or DreamWorks movies, other smaller studios don’t and have to complete as best they can.
Escape From Planet Earth is in the glut of CGI cartoon films that is trying to find an audience, especially one that wants to see funny alien monsters and weird shaped extraterrestrials. It succeeds at bringing slightly odd creatures with many different colours into the film, and it’s fun to see what wacky and bizarre spectacles they have dreamed up. This is the height of enjoyment in the film though. The issues come from the actual storyline that revolves around a kidnap plot that focuses on a “supposed” place in the US that most young kids would never have heard of.
From there it struggles to adapt to making the story accessible on all levels, at times it’s too adult orientated and then others it is too basic that even young kids would find it condescending in its tone. We felt the film would have worked better as a cartoon series. It would have given time to create better characters and be able to develop a more rounded, and humorous, storyline that works well for all ages.
Animated films mainly rely on a cast of famous actors to voice the film. Normally the people chosen are because they have unique and easily identifiable voices. Here it’s pretty obvious when Ricky Gervais and Sofia Vergara pop up, but the rest of the cast could truly be anybody. There is no distinction between the males or females. Rob Corddry has a great comedic style, and voice, but we didn’t recognise him here. Alba and Jessica-Parker sound thoroughly bored and indistinguishable from each other. If they changed roles it would not make one iota of difference.
Escape From Planet Earth is colourful and very playful, but its main story lacks ambition and a plan on where it wants to go. A plentiful voice cast offer nothing redeeming in their work to help make the film more interesting. Chalk this one up to joining the pile of middle-of-the-road CGI cartoon films that won’t push any “hit” buttons.