In a galaxy far, far away is the planet Baab. Baab’s number one citizen is Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser), an astronaut who thrills the population with his bravery in the face of daring rescue missions. Scorch is aided by his nerdy brother Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry), who heads mission control, but does not receive the same credit as his charismatic brother. Tensions between the siblings come to a head when Scorch’s boss, Lena (Jessica Alba), sends him on a dangerous quest to “the dark planet” (aka earth). Gary begs him not to go, but headstrong Scorch doesn’t heed his brother’s pleas. He lives to regret the decision when he finds himself caught in a fiendish trap, and Gary is his only hope.
What Escape From Planet Earth has going for it is a fun cast. Brendan Fraser gives it his all as the hotheaded showoff. Rob Corddry is great as the brainy Gary. Despite being extremely familiar with these voices, I didn’t realize Gary’s wife, Kira, was Sarah Jessica Parker and Gary’s sassy mission control computer was Ricky Gervais (I heard the British accent and incorrectly assumed Russell Brand was at the helm). It was nice to be surprised. More obvious was the voice of Sofia Vergara as Gabby, an anchorwoman and Scorch’s love interest. Jane Lynch (Io the Cyclops), Craig Robinson (Doc), George Lopez (Thurman) and William Shatner (as Area 51 head and villain, Shanker) round out the characters Scorch and Gary meet while at Area 51. Between the cast and the sharp animation, the film made for easy viewing. I saw it in 3-D and, while it didn’t blow me away, it did add a nice element to the visuals.
The (predictable) gang’s all here!
I know I’m stating the obvious, given that this is an animated feature, but this one really is for the kids. Escape From Planet Earth is entirely pleasant, but that’s about it. Us adults have gotten spoiled in recent years with high-quality fare such as The Incredibles, Up and MegaMind. While the kiddos were engrossed, we got to have a laugh at the mature double entendres slipped in amongst otherwise benign fare. Unfortunately there’s none of that in this film and, as it result, it drags for older audiences. I was especially bewildered, given that it’s a Weinstein film – it felt like a missed opportunity to spice up the dialogue while still being age-appropriate.
My lack of sassy dialogue has me feeling a little blue.
Speaking of the plot, what you see is what you get. There are absolutely no surprises. The lessons are broad (love is good, nothing is more important than family) and the character’s motives are laid bare with no additional layers added. I was also taken aback by the nasty presentation of Lena, whose nefarious plan leads Scorch and Gary to earth. [Spoiler alert] It turns out Lena hooked up with Shanker, via online dating, and does anything to keep him, including sending him a spaceship full of plutonium – enough to obliterate the entire universe. His plan? To blow up her planet, because he never loved her in the first place. Dang, that’s harsh! Yes, she is one of the movie’s villains, but Lena stays evil to the end and is given her comeuppance by Kira, who says, “What? You didn’t think a mom could kick ass?” Lena’s the caricature of a horribly desperate single gal. She’s got no love, is given no compassion, and never learns even when a “real” woman takes her to task. It might flatter the minivan majority, but it wasn’t the greatest message to impart to young girls.
This should appeal to moms…
Relatively harmless and utterly forgettable. It won’t kill ya, but it won’t make you stronger either.
Take a Drink: every time Scorch’s bombastic personality gets him in trouble.
Take a Drink: every time Gary’s nerd knowledge saves the day.
Take a Drink: every time Shanker dons a wig for his online chats with Lena.
Take a Drink: for every nod to New Mexico’s history with aliens.
Not sure if there’s anything worth sticking around for – the horrible title track, “Shine Supernova” by Cody Simpson, had me running from the theater.