Genre: Animation/ Adventure/ Comedy
Director: Cal Brunker
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, ane Lynch, Craig Robinson, George Lopez, Sofia Vergara, Steve Zahn, Chris Parnell, Jonath Morgan Heit, James Corden, Rob Corddry, William Shatner
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Official Website: http://www.escapeearthmovie.com/
Opening Day: 6 June 2013
Synopsis: The animated family comedy catapults moviegoers to planet Baab where admired astronaut Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue alien population. A master of daring rescues, Scorch pulls off astonishing feats with the quiet aid of his nerdy, by-the-rules brother, Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA. When BASA's no-nonsense chief Lena (Jessica Alba) informs the brothers of an SOS from a notoriously dangerous planet, Scorch rejects Gary's warnings and bounds off for yet another exciting mission. But when Scorch finds himself caught in a fiendish trap set by the evil Shanker (William Shatner), it's up to scrawny, risk-adverse Gary to do the real rescuing. As the interplanetary stakes rise to new heights, Gary is left to save his brother, his planet, his beloved wife Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) and their adventure-hungry son Kip.
If you’re looking for Disney/ Pixar quality animation, then this second tier animated action comedy will not cut it. But lower your expectations a little, and you’ll find that there are still quite a few chuckles to be had with storyboard artist-turned-helmer Cal Brunker’s brisk colourful diversion.
Built on the familiar premise of aliens trapped on Earth, it imagines a parallel intergalactic planet named Baab similar to many respects to Earth save for the fact that it is inhabited by blue-skinned people. Baab’s hero of the moment is astronaut Scorch Supernova (voiced by Brendan Fraser with much macho swagger), who has more than a hint of Buzz Lightyear about him.
Baab’s older brother is the timid egghead Gary, who works at Mission Control and has been responsible for bringing him home safely on every mission despite the former’s own self-absorbed delusion of his own abilities. So the familiar brotherly love turned sibling rivalry gets a spin here when Baab ignores Gary’s advice and boards his shop bound for the Dark Planet - otherwise known as Earth - and promptly gets captured by the megalomaniac General Shanker (Star Trek’s William Shatner clearly loving every hammy moment of it).
Some bit of double-crossing aside, Brunker and co-writer Bob Barlen (with story credits to Cory Edwards and Tony Leech) stick to a largely straight-forward narrative as Gary puts his fears away and blasts off to Earth to save his brother - oh, and incidentally too, earn the respect of his young kid, Kip (Johnathan Morgan Heit), who thinks less of Dad and more of Scorch. Mom Kira (Sarah Jessica Parker) also gets a bit of the action back at Baab, and ends up contributing her own to save the day.
It all comes off a little generic to say the least, but to compensate for its mediocrity, Brunker ensures that everything moves at a brisk enough pace so that you won’t get bored. In particular, the couple of chase sequences should prove exciting enough to keep preteen audiences in their seats, especially if they have them 3D glasses on; and for the adults, there are the occasional bits of wink-wink pop-culture references - including the use of Area 51 as a base for General Shanker and a nod to the 1953 sci-fi cult classic ‘It Came From Outer Space’.
What should also interest adult auds is the excellent supporting voice cast. Fraser and Corrdry make a good complementary pair as brothers, notable too for the fact that it makes a departure from the usual kind of cocky personas Corrdry lands up playing. Ricky Gervais contributes some witty moments as the voice computer assisting the mission; while Steve Zahn and Chris Parnell pop up briefly as a pair of trailer-park stoners turned unlikely allies for Scorch and Gary. Jane Lynch, Craig Robinson and George Lopez top off the star-studded ensemble, having good fun as fellow aliens captured under General Shanker.
So even though many of its parts seem built on recycled parts, ‘Escape to Planet Earth’ still offers a reasonable fun-filled time for parents looking for some kid-friendly diversion at the cinemas. Don’t go in expecting the same level of ingenuity as Disney/ Pixar’s works or even the quality of animation in Dreamworks’ products; with a relatively engaging storyline, lively characters and some occasional wit, this escape is an entertaining enough ride to take.
(Brisk and colourful animated action comedy that isn’t all that original but will still be entertaining stuff for kids and engaging enough for their accompanying adults)
Review by Gabriel Chong