“Escape from Planet Earth”

Susan Granger’s review of “Escape from Planet Earth” (The Weinstein Company)


If you’re looking for a family-friendly comedy, this animated 3D adventure strikes a familiar chord.

On the planet Baab (pronounced “bob”), the daring astronaut Scorch Supernova (voiced by Brendan Fraser) is a national hero to the blue-skinned, three-fingered alien population.  But he couldn’t pull of his derring-do without
the support of his smaller, brainy brother Gary (voiced by Rob Corddry), an unacknowledged logistics engineer at BASA Mission Control. Nevertheless, when BASA’s chief Lena (voiced by Jessica Alba) receives an SOS from a notoriously dark and dangerous planet known as Earth, smug, self-confident Scorch is dispatched to save the day. When he’s trapped in America’s super-secret military base, known as Area 51, by fiendish Gen. Shanker (voiced by William Shatner), their interplanetary future rests with geeky, risk-adverse Gary, who bravely blasts off to save his sibling, determined to prove his mettle to his former test-pilot wife (voiced by Sarah Jessica Parker) and young son Kip (voiced by Jonathan Morgan Heit).  What no one realizes is that duplicitous Lena has been conducting a long-distance online romance with the megalomaniacal General.

Heavy-handedly scripted by director Callan Brunker and co-writer Bob Barlen, it’s the first theatrical feature released by Rainmaker Entertainment, best known for its bland, direct-to-video Barbie movies and promoted extensively on the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. While Scorch Superhero comes across as a stock descendant of Buzz Lightyear, Brendan Fraser and Rob Corddry get strong support from their vocal cohorts, including goofy Steve Zahn and Chris Parnell – with Jane Lynch, Chris Robinson and George Loperz, as other, strange-looking Area 51 alien prisoners – and Ricky Gervais as the dismissive voice of the mission-control computer.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Escape from Planet Earth” is a serviceable, sci-fi 4. En route to its destiny on DVD, it’s a generic, escapist diversion for young children, teaching teamwork and preaching family loyalty and love.