It’s one thing for a movie to have weaknesses. Even the better films released every year have some flaws, or at least a few areas that could use improvement. The problem with Escape From Planet Earth is that it doesn’t have one single strength to counteract any of those weaknesses. Every single facet of the film is at best, slightly below average and at worst, downright terrible.
The characters are poorly conceived stereotypes that lack depth. The animation is not bad but still below recent standards set by DreamWorks and Pixar. The jokes are mostly obvious, base level gags that will seem too foolish and immature for any child above the age of four that’s ever been described as “advanced” or “accelerated”. The song choices are misguided and occasionally even uncomfortably disconnected from the action. And the plot, well, multiple paragraphs need to be devoted to that lunacy.
The basic premise follows two brothers named Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry) and Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser). The former is an inventor and proud employee of the Mission Control Department of planet Baab. The later is an astronaut and arguably, the most famous member of the blue species. Together, they partner to save babies and fight the more malevolent alien races, but after a falling out, Scorch winds up imprisoned on Earth by the evil General Shanker (William Shatner), and it’s up to the normally reserved and office-bound Gary to save the day.
Along the way, Gary meets both aliens and human beings, but more importantly for viewers, he also meets that aforementioned story arc that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny or even a basic level of common sense. Anyone paying attention will be left with dozens of unanswered questions that director Cal Brunker doesn’t even bother attempting to answer. For the hell of it: let me throw out a couple of questions I’m still wondering about.
How is a fired employee able to steal a large spacecraft from a secure facility? Why is General Shanker allowed to make universe-altering decisions without anyone informing the President or anyone else in government? How do so many different aliens from so many different races land next to desolate 7-11s that it’s a running joke? Why does Ricky Gervais’ OnStar knockoff sometimes have agency and sometimes behave like he’s powerless to counteract orders? Why? Why? Why? There are no good answers.
You know how great children’s movies work on two different levels in order to entertain both kids and adults? You know how mediocre children’s movies work on one level to entertain kids? Escape From Planet Earth doesn’t work on any level, and even worse, it doesn’t seem bothered by that failure. It’s as if every single person involved thinks children are so stupid that they don’t deserve entertainment with any effort behind it. It’s as if someone thought, “They’re kids… so, who gives a damn?” In short, kids do. They do give a damn, and there’s a reason why they’ll rewatch The Lion King until they’re blue in the face and immediately forget this waste of time even exists.
As we speak, people involved in this production are currently in court arguing over who should get the profits or lack thereof from this movie. Well, let me save the court some time. No one should profit from this movie. No one. Not one single person. If there is any money left over, which there shouldn’t be, it should be burned because not even a charity should see a piece of this blood money. Everything about this movie sucks. It's so boring and listless that I can’t believe so many talented people were a part of it.
If you’re looking for something to do with your kids this weekend, take them to the park. There’s nothing for you or them to see here except frustration.
Mack Rawden is the Editor-In-Chief of CinemaBlend. He first started working at the publication as a writer back in 2007 and has held various jobs at the site in the time since including Managing Editor, Pop Culture Editor and Staff Writer. He now splits his time between working on CinemaBlend’s user experience, helping to plan the site’s editorial direction and writing passionate articles about niche entertainment topics he’s into. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English (go Hoosiers!) and has been interviewed and quoted in a variety of publications including Digiday. Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, a great wrestling promo and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.