When watching animated films the expression usually revolves around Pixar … and everyone else. It’s almost insulting in many ways to say that Pixar occupies a higher territory than other animated studios. Pixar is just as notorious with their marketing and tie-ins as every other animated film but there’s a premium on quality with Pixar that usually isn’t evident elsewhere. They feel like artists in a world populated with cheap marketers, of course, when they’re just quality conscious marketers in a world of cheap ones. You can’t be owned by Disney without that salient fact, of course, and Escape from Planet Earth is yet another reminder that when it comes to animation the weakest of the bunch will probably never come from Pixar.
The sort of special awfulness that populates Escape From Planet Earth would never have been tolerated at Pixar.
Gary (Rob Corddry) is the head of mission control for BASA, in charge of helping his brother Scorch (Brendan Fraser) in their missions across the galaxy. When they get an SOS call from the “Dark Planet” Scorch goes off without his big brother to help him out. Captured by the “aliens” there, Gary decides to play hero on his own and venture there after his brother. From there it’s a madcap fish out of water story meshed with a rescue adventure … but one that has a one note joke that isn’t all that funny.
The joke is that the “Dark Planet” is Earth and all the wackiness involved is aliens interacting with humans and the “wackiness” that his human existence.
Unfortunately it’s not a really funny idea and after a promising opening act once the film winds up on Earth. It’s a much funnier concept on paper than it is in actuality; things like a “brain freeze” from a Slurpee sounds funny for an alien to experience but isn’t executed with much comedy. It’s humor that even most children wouldn’t find all that funny because it’s easy jokes. There’s nothing new or interesting we’ve seen as they just recycle the usual sort of “fish out of water” jokes and mesh them with a fairly generic action film.
Unfortunately the action/adventure element isn’t all that spectacular either. It’s generic, unfortunately, and the fairly pedestrian comedy just turns this film into an endurance test. It’s not the best foot forward for Rainmaker Entertainment, in their first feature, but it’s the type of film a parent can throw on DVD for young children and walk out of the room to get some quiet for 90 minutes. It’s loud and has colorful images but it’s nothing that’ll be memorable as soon as the end credits roll.
A handful of featurettes on the film’s production, the usual alternate & deleted scenes as well as a director’s commentary are included.
Anchor Bay presents Escape from Planet Earth. Directed by Cal Brunker. Written by Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen. Starring Brendan Frasier, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rob Corddry, William Shatner, Craig Robinson, Jessica Alba. Running time: 89 minutes. Rated PG. Released: June 4, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.