director Cal Brunker
viewed: 02/19/2013 at AMC Metreon 16, SF, CA
When I look back on my life, I hope that I don’t find myself wondering why I wound up taking my kids to the cinema to see such obvious dreck as Escape from Planet Earth. As much as I try to steer us to the better experiences of cinema, I’ve led us to a moderate amount of these bad digital animation films that I could tell from the trailers that it was not going to be good. And it’s me that has led us. While the kids might express interest in certain films during pre-movie trailers, it’s quite rare if there is a film that they are actually clamoring to see. I guess they know that I’ll take them to most of the movies out there so clamor is not needed. While I’ve certainly tried to skip the blatantly worst of the worst, and occasionally have missed a couple of decent ones that the kids saw with someone else, I iterate again that I hope that these are not the moments that I look back on in assessing my life.
Escape from Planet Earth is not the worst of the worst. It’s not even necessarily deplorable. Clara enjoyed it. Felix thought it was okay. I thought it was, for being a polished-looking piece of design, a most incredibly uninspired, unfunny, ham-fisted tale of flick I’ve seen in a while.
One thing that kills me about bad children’s movies or television is the blaring pandering that goes with it. Morals are literalized in the words of the characters. And the morals are always of the most cliche variety anyways.
In this story, the nerd alien brother who runs mission control for his popular hero brother in space missions finds himself on a rescue mission to Earth where the hero brother has been captured. It turns out that the government has been keeping every alien that ever landed here prisoner and force them to churn out all of the technology we use today. The sequence that explains this caricature-wise name drops all the biggies in tech, apparently trying to cast jokes at supposed peers. The worst name-drop joke mentions Simon Cowell. So much for timelessness.
I honestly did not enjoy this film at all. It’s not by any means among the worst I’ve seen, but it’s something that I would gladly store in the less accessible parts of my memory in hopes that I don’t have to consider it again. Ever.