Reel Reviews: Harmless and forgettable aliens

Scorch (Brendan Fraser) and Gary (Rob Corddry) rescue alien prisoners from a dangerous planet called Urth. - The Weinstein Company
Scorch (Brendan Fraser) and Gary (Rob Corddry) rescue alien prisoners from a dangerous planet called Urth.
— image credit: The Weinstein Company

Gary (Rob Corddry) and Scorch (Brendan Fraser) are brothers who work together, the former at Mission Control, the latter as the Astronaut hero. They also both happen be blue aliens from a planet called Baab.

Often at odds with each other, the two must put aside their differences when they are sent to a distant and dangerous planet from whence no explorer returns, Earth.

We say, “It’s a cool concept blandly executed.”

HOWE: Escape from Planet Earth or Urth, as it is known, is a pretty neat idea. The only problem I had with it was that it wasn’t earth shattering. It looks beautiful and had some big stars lending their voices to the characters, but it felt cheap. When I take my little boy to watch an animated family movie, I expect to have a few laughs myself. I didn’t once. I don’t think I heard him laugh and there also wasn’t much coming from the rest of the audience. I’ll ask my little boy what he thought:

FENIN: Can I have my Kinder egg now, Dad?

HOWE: Wow, that says a lot!

TAYLOR: I concur. My niece, Ana-Marie, is 12. At about the 15-minute mark of the film, she leaned over and said, “This is pretty good, so far.” By the end of it she thought the film was merely “OK.” She didn’t laugh, or seem particularly enthralled by what action the film offered. I think the previews of coming attractions entertained both kids and adults more than Escape from Planet Earth.

HOWE: The whole movie felt like a mish-mash of other animated space movies. You had the ripped-off version of  Buzz Lightyear complete with matching space suit and radio announcer voice. Also, Gary reminds me of the brainy big-headed blue guy from Megamind. When the filmmakers did try to bring some fresh ideas as to how the aliens should look, it was disappointing: a one-eyed crab/lobster that came from the sun, a rat with large ears and a slug. Is this the best they can do? I’ve seen better alien sketches in my son’s kindergarten class.

TAYLOR: This film was colourful and definitely safe for its target audience. You could take a child of any age to this movie. There’s nothing to offend in the film and there are moments of fun and excitement, but they are fleeting. The brothers, Gary and Scorch, are stock characters in the forms of brainy nerd and muscled idiot. The two of them are meant to illustrate that it takes all kinds to make the universe go around, the only real trick is to work together. A fine message, but the film is bordering on banality worthy of keeping it a secret from all but the most easily pleased.

— Taylor gives Escape from Planet Earth 2 unwarranted fart noises out of 5.

— Howe gives it 1.5 self-destructing space craft out of 5.

The film is currently screening at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are freelance movie reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.

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