It seems that this day and age, voice-acting attracts the cream of the Hollywood crop. In the past decade or so, many notable actors have lent their oratory talent to animated feature films, and in so doing their status as actors is no longer limited to what they look like but to what they sound like as well. Escape from Planet Earth is a recent 3D computer-animated adventure film which contains a pretty impressive roster of voice actors. That is perhaps the film’s only strength. Well, that and the lovely animation because the story is somewhat lacking.
On planet Baab, feuding brothers and astronauts Scorch (Brendan Fraser) and Gary (Rob Cordry) try to get along but fail miserably. Their relationship is further put to the test when they embark on a daring mission on a strange, foreign and dangerous planet: Earth. The creatures there known as humans may pose a serious threat especially that of the sinister military man Shanker (William Shatner).
The story of Escape from Planet Earth is a bit stale, uninteresting and downright lame. The plot is the film’s weakest aspect making room for dazzling computer-animation and an all-star voice cast. Brendan Fraser returns to the adventure genre he is so well known for. His character Scorch is pompous, heroic and pretty amusing. Rob Cordry also provides laughs as his nerdy brother Gary and together they provide some rather amusing verbal exchanges.
The rest of the cast is pretty eclectic yet serviceable. They include Sarah Jessica Parker, Craig Robinson, George Lopez, Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Ricky Gervais, Steve Zahn and Chris Parnell. It may seem like a celebrity telethon but animated features these days are known for consisting of star-studded casts. Voice-casts can be filled with a mixed bag of names due to the fact that their visual appearance is hidden.
It is nice to see Brendan Fraser continuing to utilize his heroic yet goofy persona in the adventure genre. His vocal performance in Escape from Planet Earth is over the top, silly and downright fun. Rob Cordry also manages to squeeze a few chuckles out of the audience, having left The Daily Show some years ago. William Shatner also delivers a brilliant performance as the film’s villain and his presence here is certainly welcome.
Escape from Planet Earth has exceptional animation. The colors are rich and clean, giving the feel of a Dreamworks production. This is actually the first feature film to be theatrically released by Rainmaker Entertainment, a Canadian computer and animation design company known for the first ever CGI animated series ReBoot circa 1994. Escape from Planet Earth isn’t a very strong film and its mediocrity spells certain uncertainty for Rainmaker Entertainment’s future.
On the plus side, Escape from Planet Earth is an animated film and kids will definitely eat it up. The story is simple and the jokes are juvenile. Adults probably won’t enjoy the film because it lacks the sophistication and class of say, a Pixar film. The filmmakers and cast tried hard on this one but they sadly missed the mark. It’s cute here and there but it just isn’t a great film.
Escape from Planet Earth is now out in a special 3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet so you and the little ones can enjoy the film on every single viewing device imaginable. The folks responsible for putting this home video set together definitely covered all the bases and this set certainly deserves praise for that. 3D Blu-ray is really the ultimate viewing experience so buckle up, get some popcorn and try to enjoy the ride.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The bonus features for Escape from Planet Earth are pretty out of this world. There is a feature commentary with director Cal Brunker, a making-of featurette, alternate takes, deleted scenes, How to Make an Animated Feature with Cal Brunker and lastly, music featurettes with Delta Rae, Owl City and Cody Simpson.