Case Number 25776: Small Claims Court


Anchor Bay // 2013 // 89 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // June 5th, 2013

The Charge

Get ready for an adventure that's out of this world!

The Case

Meet Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser, The Mummy Returns), a local do-good hero who has gained the trust an adulation of his home planet. After rescuing a trio of babies from murdering monsters, Scorch returns home to his nerdy brother Gary (Rob Corddry, Warm Bodies), who mans the control deck for Scorch and lives a quiet existence with his wife (Sarah Jessica Parker, Ed Wood) and little son. After Scorch checks out an S.O.S. signal from 'The Dark Planet' (aka, earth), he's quickly subdued by a ruthless military sergeant (William Shatner, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) who wants to use aliens for a devious plan. It's up to meek Gary to rescue his incapacitated brother before their home planet becomes intergalactic toast!

Escape from Planet Earth was released theatrically only a few short months ago. Do you remember? Me neither. I make a note of this because this is a movie that couldn't be more generic or straight-to-DVD if it tried. From the blandly constructed blue-skinned heroes to the B-list voice talent that populate the film, Escape from Planet Earth feels as stale and ancient as the rocks on the surface of the moon. In fact, didn't they already make this movie a few years ago when it was called Planet 51?

I'd like to tell you that the premise to Escape from Planet Earth has intriguing promise, but that would be a blatant lie; there are enough movies about extra terrestrials trying to escape our planet that if you lined them end to end, I'll bet they'd circle earth four of five times. If that's what you want, rent the far better E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial or Starman. How many times will viewers be forced to sit through yet another movie about cute, bubbly aliens who come from a world that is eerily similar to earth, trying to make their way back home to their own suburban families? Considering how many times this same movie gets made, I'd say at least a hundred more.

The voice cast makes little impression, save for Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying, Spy Kids: All The Time In The World) as a HAL-like mainframe computer that finds a way to be condescending every chance it's given. Brendan Fraser is the macho hero, Scorch Supernova, all standard gusto and blustering ego (snooze). Rob Corddry -- usually a pretty funny guy with a biting sense of humor -- is all but neutered as Scorch's nerdy brother, Gary. Other actors show up -- including Glee's Jane Lynch, The Office's Craig Robinson, and comedian George Lopez, as imprisoned space aliens -- but their roles are underwritten and not the least bit amusing. Oh, I forgot to mention Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four) and Sofia Vergara (Modern Family) are also featured, but that's because their roles are so inconsequential. At least William Shatner tries to have fun as the requisite human military figure who makes life miserable for the visiting aliens.

One of the biggest mistakes Escape from Planet Eath makes is pandering to the audience by hocking 7-11 at seemingly every turn. There's a scene where a 7-11 worker hands over a Slurpee to an alien (as they mention it being one of the 'best things in the universe'), and the alien happily sucks it up. I'm surprised the title of this movie wasn't 7-11 Presents Escape from Planet Earth. If it didn't work for McDonald's and Mac and Me, it's not going to work here either.

Escape from Planet Earth is presented in both 2D and 3D in 2.39:1 widescreen 1080p high definition. Anchor Bay has done a great job on this video transfer; the image nearly pops off the screen, bursting with color. Detail is excellent while nary a defect or imperfection can be found. In short, this is a reference quality picture. The soundtrack is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround and is equally as good. This is a very sonically enhanced audio mix sporting tons of directional effects and surround sounds. Dialogue, music, and effects are all easily distinguishable. Much like the video presentation, this audio mix is near perfect. Also included on this disc are English and Spanish subtitles.

The extra features on Escape from Planet Earth include an audio commentary by director Cal Brunker, a brief featurette on the making of the film ("The Making of Escape from Planet Earth"), a few alternate takes and deleted scenes, a second short featurette ("How to Make an Animated Feature with Director Cal Brunker"), and a few music videos ("Shooting Star" by Owl City, "What Matters Most" by Delta Rae, "Shine Supernova" by Cody Simpson). Also included in this package is a standard def DVD copy of the film, along with a digital copy and UltraViolet Download.

My beef with Escape from Planet Earth is that it's so gosh darn mediocre. From the art design to the bland voice readings to the substandard storyline, this is a time waster for kids and a bore for adults. It's as if the entire thing was created on autopilot from the very beginning; it doesn't feel like there was any passion or excitement behind the project. With the novelty and excitement of animated movies waning -- we're a long way off from the days when Toy Story made audiences 'oooh' and 'aaah' -- movies like Escape from Plant Earth are going to have to try a lot harder to earn viewer's hard earned money.

The Verdict

Escape from Planet Earth is stock kiddie time filler that needs to be blasted out into space.

Review content copyright © 2013 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 68

Perp Profile
Studio: Anchor Bay
Video Formats:
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)

Audio Formats:
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)

* English (SDH)
* Spanish

Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2013
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks
* 2D Version
* Commentary
* Alternate/Deleted Scenes
* Featurettes
* Music Videos
* DVD Copy
* Digital Copy
* UltraViolet Download

* IMDb