Sunday, January 19, 2014

Escape from Planet Earth



First thing: I did not post on Friday. That’s okay with me.

Second thing: I saw Evita live yesterday and then came home and watched Escape from Planet Earth. But I’m gonna talk about the second one. Evita didn’t make me dance around while I was brushing my teeth and make me all joyous inside, however good it might have been.

Kid’s movies can suck. Any movie has the capability to suck, of course, but I guess kid’s movies’ flaws are justified because they’re geared towards a “younger audience.” So even if they are pathetic, written poorly, and shoddily animated, it’s okay, because if there’s enough slapstick a four-year-old will watch it fifty times.

Problem: The audience may be young, but the ones who are paying for it are significantly older. And people who make money usually don’t like to spend it on crap. They’re the ones being dragged to the movie theater and having to watch it fifty times as well, so you had better make it worth their while.

Escape from Planet Earth was worth my while. (Apparently everyone else thought it sucked, looking at the reviews, but I enjoyed it.)

I mean, not the best movie ever, of course. But if I had five stars I would probably give them three of my stars. I’d give another one to Eragon, or Percy Jackson. Except I’m sure there’s some other unworthy film that would deserve that star more than they do. And I could have the other star, since I think I am entitled to some stars occasionally.

Regardless. The movie.

Photo Taken From: www.rottentomatoes.com

A quick rundown: Gary Supernova is self-proclaimed king of the nerd galaxy, husband to Kira, father to Kip. He does mission control for his younger brother Scorch, Planet Baab’s hero and total attention hog. Gary and Scorch get in a fight, Scorch ends up going to the Dark Planet (that’s Earth, by the way) and is kidnapped by our friends in Area 51, and Gary is impulsively driven to go save him. There they run into the dastardly General Shanker, who has conned Gary and Scorch’s boss, Lena, into falling in love with him and giving him enough power to wipe out every alien species in the universe. Needless to say, Gary and Scorch stop him with the help of some newfound friends, and they resolve their differences as brothers. I don’t like summaries.

So.

I will have you note I did not just like this movie because Owl City started playing at the end. Nay.

I liked Gary’s family. I liked seeing how years of sibling rivalry culminated with these issues between Gary and Scorch so that it put strain on their professional relationship and pressured Gary as a father. I liked the fact that Gary and Kira were already married and had a kid. Half the time in movies the story ends right as the protagonists realize they were meant for one another and start kissing and make plans to be wed, et cetera.

News flash: People still have lives and stuff after they get married.

I liked Kira a lot, too. Even when her husband ran off and was potentially dead she didn’t sit around and feel sorry for herself. She attempted to tell people that there was an issue. She got captured. She broke out with her son. She knocked out Lena and single handedly returned all of the dangerous energy stores to their home planet. She even said my favorite line:


You think just because a chick has kids she can't dish it out?”


Which is also an excellent point; Molly Weasley isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) the only mother who goes about kicking butt.

And I liked how, in the end, Gary and Scorch were able to make up and see each other as equals. Somebody’s got to do the thinking, and someone’s got to do the doing, and without each other the team is incomplete. Mutual respect is good.

Alas, the movie was not perfect, which is probably why all the negative reviews swarm around this movie’s reputation.

Somehow, the character development just… lacks. It lacks. I mean, we get backstories for all the important characters and their supporting counterparts. I understand that General Shanker has a personal grudge against all alien species, but he never truly… crossed the line. He didn’t cross the line where he became a person I feared, or respected, or hated. He was just a guy with a big weapon and even though he was supposed to be the antagonist he never really felt like he was the main issue.

And of course, the main issue was Gary and Scorch’s relationship, but even so, movies are no fun unless you have a really awful bad thing to root against.

The other characters, I’m afraid, didn’t fare much better. It was a touching story, but there was still a disconnect. I wasn’t attached to them. I would not have been much shaken if anyone died (which they didn’t, which is not a great sign in itself). It hit the plotline hard.

On IMDb another review describes the film as “bare.” I wish I had thought of that word, because that’s exactly what it is. The structure is promising, but the things that make a house a home are different than the things that are keeping it standing.

So, yes, three stars. I would watch it again, and I’d definitely like to see more movies of its kind, with moms who kick butt and villainous deception and reconciled brothers and strengthened father/son moments.

But I’d like them to be better.

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