Escape From Planet Earth Blu-ray Review
Every year there are a handful of animated films released, many of which never really garner much attention aside from having star-studded casts. Most of them are forgettable entries in the genre… aside from Pixar, which tends to put out quality every time. Hit-or-miss doesn’t begin to describe our typical animated releases. ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is one that could have easily fallen into obscurity, but actually has pretty decent animation, casting, and even a fairly original story.
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is the story of Gary Supernova (an unrecognizable Rob Corddry), the tiny big brother of the planet Baab’s biggest hero, Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser). Gary has always lived in Scorch’s shadow, but when Scorch ends up stranded on the dark planet (Earth) after responding to an SOS, Gary’s son decides to try to save him. In order to stop his son and save his brother, Gary is called into action. The only problem – he’s never had to be the hero before. He’s always been safe on planet Baab, in Mission Control.
When Gary arrives on Earth, he discovers the reason the planet has been blacklisted. Area 51, long thought to be the home to secret scientific research about aliens, is revealed to be a massive prison for aliens. Overseen by General Shanker (William Shatner), Area 51 has been the source of most of the worlds technology (hello MEN IN BLACK, you didn’t do this before us, did you?). The aliens have all been led to believe once they provide enough tech to General Shanker they will be rewarded with their freedom and a return to their planet. But Shanker has other plans, including colluding with Lena Thackleman (Jessica Alba), also from Planet Baab, to potentially rule the galaxy.
There is a decent amount of conflict in ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH, but where I tend to worry about films having too much violence for my 4 year old, I didn’t feel like anything shown in this one was presented in a way that glorified it. In fact, the main character is a genius/nerd, someone who would actually be a good role-model for children rather than the typical sports and action stars. ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH also features a strong slate of smaller characters who add to the film without detracting from the story. These other actors include Steve Zahn (THAT THING YOU DO!) and Chris Parnell (as two 7eleven employees who make first contact with the Baab’ians), Sofia Vergara (MODERN FAMILY), George Lopez (RIO), Jane Lynch (GLEE), Craig Robinson (Darryl from THE OFFICE), and many others.
As I wrote above, ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH could easily have been a forgettable entry in the animated movie lexicon. There are far too many names for the roles they have, but the flick doesn’t actually make use of them in a gratuitous way, thankfully. Instead ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH really relies on the strength of the story and acting. Pixar this movie is not, but it is a heck of a lot of fun. There are jokes for parents and children alike, including some nods to other film talents, but they aren’t overt and are as tongue-in-cheek as they should be. A good family movie, worth a rent if you missed it in the theater (I don’t remember it even going to the theaters!?!).
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p, 2.39:1 Widescreen) The HD video is presented clearly and ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH is actually one of the visually interesting animated features I’ve seen recently. The Blu-ray transfer is clearly direct from the source, and looks great.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sound is also presented very well on the ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH blu-ray. It’s immersive and well mixed featuring a strong score and decent dialogue, all clearly presented to bring you along with the characters.
Audio Commentary with Director Cal Brunker (01:29:09) An fairly interesting audio commentary, director Brunker discusses the ins and outs of putting together an animated film like ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH. Nothing really incredible, nothing really bad about this one. If you enjoy commentaries you’ll probably want to check it out.
The Making of ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH (21:15) A professional presentation that was probably released on television prior to the release of the film, this one has nice production value and is presented in full HD. It’s a fairly standard but welcome feature on ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH. Includes interviews and footage from the film. I was as tired as anyone of Brendan Fraser after his glut of films in the early 00’s, but I enjoy his enthusiasm and he did a nice job in this flick.
Alternate Takes and Deleted Scenes (03:53) Presented as quick intercuts in chronological order, these scenes are actually kind of difficult to track due to the length. However, I applaud ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH for putting them all in a single “play all” package. Nothing really funny or needed is shown here, though.
How to Make an Animated Feature with Director Cal Brunker (03:43) The director shows the various steps in a quick and interesting way, showing the opening scene of ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH from start to finish. Brunker explains everything in a simple way. Pretty neat.
Music Featurettes (11:03) These are more like music videos than featurettes. The songs from the film presented with scenes from ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH.
Includes “Shooting Star” Owl City Music Video, Delta Rae Performs “What Matters Most”, and Cody Simpson Performs “Shine Supernova”.
The ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH Blu-ray package includes a 3D version of ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH on Blu-ray, industry-standard digital copy through UltraViolet (lame), a digital copy file that will work with iTunes (or Android, whichever your preference), and finally a DVD copy of the film.