Blu-ray Review: Kids Deserve Better Than ‘Escape From Planet Earth’

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CHICAGO – Not only have I been a longtime fan of great children’s films like those produced by Disney and Studio Ghibli over the years but I’m now a parent and absolutely adore the feeling of passing along my favorite films like “Spirited Away,” “Dumbo,” “The Little Mermaid,” and “Toy Story” along to my little ones. My children will never see “Escape From Planet Earth.” As someone who not only sees nearly every animated film in his profession but has a new appreciation for them given my being a parent, I feel qualified to say this is one of the worst children’s films of the last decade. It’s aggressively annoying with awful character design and a screenplay that is clearly trying to teach children a lesson about boredom. Blu-ray rating: 1.5/5.0
Rating: 1.5/5.0

Why is it so hard for the non-major studios to break into CGI animation? Why is it mostly Pixar and DreamWorks leading the way? Is it just because all of the good writers go to those studios (and, to a lesser extent, Sony and Fox)? Whatever the reason, I really wish the playing field would level a bit although Canadian company Rainmaker Entertainment, who launched with “Planet Earth” really need to up their game.

The story is classic children’s fiction — alpha male athlete needs rescuing by his more intellectual brother. Heroism is not purely based on a physical skill. It’s incredibly common in children’s literature and film. It’s not the admirable theme of “Escape From Planet Earth” but the dull story placed upon it that sinks the film. I suppose with so many grating, loud films in this genre that drives parents crazy, “Escape From Planet Earth” could theoretically be a happy choice given that it’s more boring than anything else. Heck, maybe you can use it to put your kids to sleep.

Escape From Planet Earth was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 4, 2013
Escape From Planet Earth was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 4, 2013
Photo credit: Anchor Bay

This fantastic, funny animated adventure crosses all galaxies to entertain the entire family! Sibling rivals from the Planet BAAB, brainiac Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry) works all the gizmos at Mission Control, while his studly brother Scorch (Brendan Fraser) performs all the superhero stuff. But when Scorch is sent on an SOS operation to the Dark Planet (otherwise known as Earth), from which no alien has ever returned - it’s up to Gary to rescue him, their planet and the universe. The out-of-this-world fun also includes a stellar vocal cast including Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, George Lopez, Craig Robinson, Sofia Vergara and Jane Lynch.

Special Features:
o Feature Commentary With Director Cal Brunker
o The Making Of Escape From Planet Earth
o Alternate Takes And Deleted Scenes
o How To make An Animated Feature With Director Cal Brunker
o Music Featurettes With Delta Rae, Owl City and Cody Simpson

“Escape From Planet Earth” features voice work by Rob Corddry, Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, George Lopez, Craig Robinson, Sofia Vergara, and Jane Lynch. It was directed by Cal Brunker and released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 4, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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