Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 14, 2013

‘Escape from Planet Earth’ crashes on planet bland

DVD Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — For all of the classic adventures we’ve rooted for no less than a thousand times in all the familiar fables, I never tire of an attempt to try and flip the roles of the characters in a slightly different twist. Whereas fairytales have examples like “Shrek,” science fiction has further mastered the swapping back and forth of plots, some of the most memorable involving us pitiful humans and the alien races we encounter.

Today’s title is one such role reversal adventure and while I rarely miss any animation release in theaters, turned out to be one that I did not mind waiting until a rental opportunity. Suffering from barely a marketing push at all, it’s as if average at best TV writers were hired to write a script for the film industry and as a joke they hired what should have been a decent acting crew to try and resuscitate it. “Escape from Planet Earth” at times tries somewhat hard to be entertaining fare, but mostly falls asleep and lulls the audience along with it.

Like a half-hearted imitation of a non-humanoid Buzz Lightyear, the tale starts off with the latest heroic exploits Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser), saving babies on some icy planet from a vicious race of mutant dog-like creatures. Worshipped on his home planet of Baab, he somehow manages to maintain undefeated, despite being of the most incompetent variety.

Though he’s too macho to admit it, he would not be nearly successful without his highly intelligent brother Gary (Rob Corddry), who works at mission control and saves his tucas at the last second nearly every time. Eventually this arrogance ends in not so good circumstances when Scorch takes on a rescue mission to planet Earth and is captured by a beady eyed evil military officer General Shanker (William Shatner). Gary now has a chance to be the one who saves the day, win the respect of his young son Kip (Jonathan Morgan Heit) and somehow do it with a cast of characters who are barely more interesting than reading ingredients on a box of cereal.

Granted, there are a few laughs here and there worth a tip of the hat, but it’s not a good sign if you have trouble staying awake and stop caring about even the main characters half way through. Even the villain is rather yawn inducing and gives one the impression Shatner was under the orders to suddenly be underwhelmingly dramatic.

I suppose the youngest audience members would enjoy the ride, but anyone over the age of 10 might quickly lose interest as well and it might only be worth renting if you haven’t seen everything else family friendly. It just felt flat and is one of the most forgettable of the genre in recent memory. It’s worth one and a half out of five galaxies.

DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.