IHAO on ... Escape from Planet Earth

Escape from Planet Earth is a perfectly fine children’s adventure film … except …

Ok, there are a lot of little things that take something I actually kind of liked and really made it feel cheap and shoddy.  The voice actors are half really good, with the likes of Brenden Fraser and Rob Corddry doing really well … and then Craig Robinson, William Shatner, and George Lopez who are all awful.  They are awful not because they are bad actors, but because they are bad voice actors.  A voice actor needs to become the character on the screen, the animated character that we are watching.  But these three are just … themselves.  It is incredibly distracting to see a three eyed orange and yellow slug professor and have George Lopez’s voice come out of its mouth.  Just let that sink in.  The others are equally distracting, and all is made worse when Brenden Fraser and Rob Corddry get lost in their roles, as does Jane Lynch who  is introduced at the same time as the other stunt-castings, but she actually works hard to sound like the enormous, scaly, one-eyed Cyclops from a star’s surface she is.

The plot is a semi-interesting take on Area 51, and is about the strength of family working together.  The characters themselves are perfectly fine, and even enjoyable.  Brenden Fraser in particular was super fun.  The themes of brotherly love were great, but the central theme is misguided at best.  You see, the movie makes a big deal about how Corddry sits back and thinks too much and is too safe and won’t make decisions, illustrated by Rocket Boots he invented that work fine but he won’t use them, and less subtly by Fraser constantly jumping into danger like an idiot … except Fraser is the one who is treated like he is right.  That’s right kids, don’t think about what you are going to do and think critically, just do stuff.  Not only that, Corddry is never crippled by thinking and not doing things.  He is constantly making plans and being the hero.  But let’s pretend that he isn’t because we have to cram this morale in somehow!

Slow down, partner, back to the review.

The music is also incredibly irritating.  There are at least 3 songs sung in the film, and they are all sung by pop stars (or wannabe ones perhaps) and don’t really line up with the character’s thoughts or motives or really anything other than to try to make the movie ALSO have musical moments and sell a soundtrack.  That is frustrating.

Let’s talk about good things, though.  The film looks pretty good, especially the skies.  And the adventure aspects are perfectly fun, and the humor is spot on, with a particularly funny honky tonk piano gag.  I like this movie more than I probably should.  And it really isn’t all that bad.  It just really isn’t any good.  It is just fine, though I liked it.

Grade: C+

EDIT: Uhhh ... so this movie came out last year.  Watching it I thought it came out probably ... 3 years ago.  That is not a good thing, as what I thought looked pretty good for 3 years ago actually looks pretty bad when you have movies like Frozen and the Croods which came out at the same basic time and are beautiful.  I'm sticking with my grade, but man.

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