Friday, May 31, 2013

Escape from Planet Earth

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! *Insert Futurama reference of the Professor saying he doesn't want to live on this planet anymore*

Escape from Planet Earth – 3 out of 5

Escaping planet Earth…a dream I have every time I see a “Copy & Paste/90% won’t have the guts to repost” status on Facebook and when I spend even a minute reading the comments on even the simplest, most innocent of YouTube videos. Alas, this is not about my dream of leaving a world that, at times, feels like it is filled with the criminally insane and/or homicidal with their angry (seriously, it is a video about a chinchilla eating a peanut, did you have to get so racist, homophobic and Pat Robertson-y in your comment MadDoggPussy420?)—nope, instead I’m talking about the animated movie.
To Boldly Go...and NOT read the comment section on ANYTHING on the 'net.

Without a guy with crazy hair, how will I know what these
three things are?
 Escape from Planet Earth tells the tale of Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser); a brave astronaut on the planet Baab, and his older brother; Gary (Rob Corddry). After receiving a distress signal from the planet known only as The Dark Planet, Scorch, with his head all aflame with hot-headedness, charges towards the planet after Gary begrudgingly tells him not to. If only Admiral Ackbar was around because he would have told Scorch that it was a trap and he is captured by the evil General Shanker (William Shatner) and held in Area 51—in case you haven’t guessed yet, The Dark Planet is Earth…

I forgot for a second that this review is in text form and was patiently waiting for a “Dum Dum DUMMMM!!!" or even a thunder strike.

I bet he got a thunder strike or dramatic musical tone.

Now it’s up to Gary to go to Earth to save his brother…except he gets caught too. Oops. However, they soon learn that the General is using aliens to build a secret project that could spell doom for aliens all over the immense galaxy.

Escape is, when you boil it down, just an unimaginative, generic animated movie that will appeal to the younger viewers (because kids are stupid, duh!) than it will to a mixing collective of kids and adults like, say, a Pixar film would.

It's probably not the best idea to show your vastly superior competitor in
your cheap animated movie.

The movie has a fantastic cast of great actors working on the film (and for some reason, William Shatner and George Lopez). It was nice to see Rob Corddry providing the voice for the lead character and it was also great to hear Fraser backing him up as Scorch. The movie also treats us to some humorous scenes with Ricky Gervais as a snotty computer program, Steve Zahn and Chris Parnell as some (possibly stoned) alien enthusiasts, along with Craig Robinson and Jane Lynch (who’s legally required to be in at least three animated movies a year now) as some aliens in Area 51. Unfortunately, for each great actor we have bringing their character to life, we have the mysterious inclusion of actors who are barely relevant anymore or don’t really fit the character they are hired to voice.

If only they knew about the probing stereotype...or maybe they do.

Jessica Alba, who is shockingly doing a voice over role (shocking when you consider her career only exists because she has the ability to make men’s pants a size smaller due to her looks—and NOT her acting ability), plays the role of a turncoat on the planet Baab and her performance is about as attention capturing as you would imagine from a girl who is only known as being something pretty to look at. It didn’t help matters that the character, despite the level of promise it held, was pretty weak and forgettable.

So...A.I.M. works for Area 51?

Then you have George Lopez, who apparently still has a career somehow after riding the wave a single group of stereotype jokes his stand-up career produced and bad sitcom premises his show had, could not have sounded more out of place as he voiced the slug-like alien of Thurman. Lopez’s performance isn’t terrible or uninspired like Alba’s but his voice just didn’t seem like it belonged to the character. It’s like when you see a big bulky bodybuilder of a man and find out he talks like Mickey Mouse. The image and the voice just didn’t seem to go together.

Thurman, seen hear question how the man who voices him has a career.

Jesus, even Shatner's animated form is overacting.
 Finally you have William Shatner, the crowned prince of over-acting, playing the devious General William Shanker (very subtle). Despite not being a fan of Star Trek, I’m a fan of Shatner because he redefined what the word “acting” meant. He basically took the word and made it his bitch as he showed that to be an actor, you don’t actually have to act at all and he made the scenery-chewing, hammy style of overacting that was usually reserved for community college drama departments and local theaters and made it something that could actually turn one into a full-fledged star. That being said, his voice was another voice that didn’t really fit the character. General Shanker is meant to be a horrendous human being who uses aliens for his own personal gain—and he looks the part—but when he opens his mouth, he sounds less like a gruff General that is victimizing far-flung species from other worlds and more like a dweeby guy name Mort who works the pretzel stand at your local mall. Like Lopez, Shatner isn’t performing poorly; rather, it’s just another case where the character design doesn’t fit the voice.

Incredibly subtle homage with the name of the General.

And speaking of character design (like that transition?)…

There’s nothing particular wrong with the character design and animation in Escape from Planet Earth but it doesn’t do much to really be that spectacular either. While many of the backgrounds and objects in the film look and are rendered fantastically, the characters themselves are kinda bland and vanilla in their presentation. Overall, (other than looking entirely like this film is a sequel to—or at least, set in the same universe as—Planet 51) the movie looks like a generic Nickelodeon computer animated cartoon. Rainmaker Entertainment, despite this being their film debut, doesn’t really seem like they have the chops to compete with the likes of DreamWorks and Pixar and look more like they are molded for a life of Direct-to-DVD features or TV (oh wait, they already are). I’m not saying the animation is bad but, like the film’s plot and story (and some of its casting choices), it lacks imagination and felt like it was giving out the most minimum of effort. The animation won’t make you disgusted but it felt like Rainmaker could have pushed the envelope a little harder to prove they can run with the big dogs.

Come on, you just stole that design for that gun from NERF, Rainmaker Entertainment.

Escape from Planet Earth isn’t a terrible animated film; it won’t make you give up on this golden era of animated movie were in. The sad truth is that this film is more for the younger audiences and isn’t something the whole family can experience and have popcorn fights after enjoying the animated goodness (other people do that, right?). Kids might find the film amusing and hilarious but more adults will probably be like me and find that much of the humor was forced and rarely was there even a chuckle moment (those moments were, of course, provided by Ricky Gervais—that’s just science). While it was nice to see Rob Corddry getting a starring role (because the man deserves it, he’s awesome—also science), the film just wasn’t that spectacular enough to warrant his presence (once again, science). Overall, the film is a decent kid’s movie that just isn’t inspired, unique, imaginative or technically that advance enough to be a film that an adult could appreciate alongside their kids, their niece or nephew or feral child that has made its nest in your family room and you are too busy soiling your undergarments to do anything about it.

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