While some of you may remember that this little nugget of second tier animation cam out nearly a month ago on Valentines Day weekend, I didn’t get around to seeing it in theaters until a couple days ago. This is a pretty good example of what Escape From Planet Earth is to any viewer above the age of 10; an un-enticing afterthought. Virtually the first piece of family-friendly entertainment released, the movie has made it absolutely clear in it’s marketing that it is intended primarily if not exclusively towards younger audiences. Now I completely realize this and I always do make an effort to try to see things from the point of view of it’s target demographic, but unless the movie has the Disney, Pixar or Dreamworks stamp of approval on it that’s often easier said than done. I was very surprised to find that in this case, the movie I’ve been the least excited for this year ended up being on of the more surprising (or if nothing else the least disappointing). While it really doesn’t try to be that much more than a completely average popcorn flick for kids, Escape From Planet Earth has enough laughs and occasional heart to make it a completely bearable experience for parents as well.
Astronaut Scorch Supernova finds himself caught in a trap when he responds to an SOS from a notoriously dangerous alien planet.
I’m going to try to keep this review short so I’ll just touch on the two real main characters, Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry) and his brother Scorch (Brendan Frasier). First of all, naming one of your kids Scorch and one Gary seems like a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, though I would love to see the day that a movie flips this on its head and gives us a hero named Kevin with his scrawny, nerdy brother Blaze. But I digress. I’ll be honest, Scorch is basically nothing equal parts cocky and stupid, like a less funny animated version of any one of Will Ferrell’s major characters. While this does get pretty annoying, it does at least give Gary the chance to get in some amusingly exasperated lines in response to his brother’s stupidity. Unfortunately this only lasts for about the first 20 minutes or so, and we find out that Gary is a hell of a lot less funny when is isn’t talking to an imbecile.
While there really wasn’t anything here that made me laugh out loud, there are at least a few chuckle-worthy lines here and there. I’ve seen more than enough kids movies that don’t even make an attempt to appeal to older audience, so the fact that Escape From Planet Earth even tries is commendable. Of course the bulk of the humor is taken up by the sort of cheap slapstick that you’d expect from a movie like this, and the characters themselves are nothing we haven’t seen before. I expected this though, and I based on the way the movie marketed itself I would assume that anyone who sits down to watch it will expect it as well. My guess is, however, that if you are watching this it’s probably because you have small children, and will probably be more forgiving of the movie as a result.
The Verdict: 5.5/10 – Nothing Special
+ Writing that at least makes an effort
+ Full of the kind of slapstick humor and over-the-top characters that kids love
– See above…
– If you don’t have kids, there really isn’t any reason you should watch this
Rotten Tomatoes: 24%