Escape from Planet Earth (Anchor Bay Entertainment/Weinstein Company) was released to theaters in February 2013. Not surprisingly, it didn’t last very long in theaters after its premiere. The reason(s) why it didn’t last are anyone’s guess. But the most probable of reasons would be its comparison to the 2009 family friendly CG “animated” sci-fi comedy, Planet 51. There is no denying the comparisons to said story. But in its defense, Planet 51 isn’t the only movie from which Escape from Planet Earth lifted. There are also influences from the likes of Monsters, Inc. and Monsters vs. Aliens throughout this movie. And while it does lift from previous movies, it does have some originality in terms of its messages and its comic elements. Those comic elements include the sci-fi and pop culture spoofs made much in the same vein as in Planet 51. The spoofs aren’t the same as in Planet 51, either. This makes them that much funnier and helps to make up for the story’s less original aspects.
It’s difficult to honestly write this and call Escape from Planet Earth the most original movie of its kind. That’s because of the fact that it can so easily be compared to the 2009 family friendly sci-fi comedy, Planet 51. On the surface, Escape From Planet Earth can so easily be considered to be Planet 51 in reverse. Instead of the human astronaut trying to escape from the alien planet, this time, it’s the aliens trying to escape Earth. It’s not the only movie to which this work can be compared. It can also be compared to Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. (2001). The comparison to that movie comes in the form of General Shanker’s (William Shatner—Star Trek) soldiers. A close look at the men will bring viewers to note that his men are always running around in yellow, rubber hazmat suits that cover their entire bodies, including their faces. This is very much in the same style as the agents of the Child Detection Agency from Monsters, Inc. And the general story itself makes it just as easily compared to Dreamworks’ Monsters vs. Aliens. It’s just that movie as much in reverse as Planet 51 in reverse. Knowing all of these influences takes away quite a bit from the movie. But for all that is taken away from it, Escape From Planet Earth isn’t without its positives.
Writers Cal Brunker and Bob Barlen (hmmmmm Bob, planet Bob…..coincidence?) did a lot of lifting from other previous CG based family friendly sci-fi flicks to make Escape from Planet Earth. For all of the comparisons that can be made, what can be said of this creation is that it does still manage to save itself. It saves itself thanks to its theme of family bonds and its pop culture and sci-fi spoofs made throughout the nearly ninety minute movie. The theme of the family bond is something that those other family films don’t have. So this serves to help set this movie apart from those movies and give it its own identity.
Just as the movie’s theme of family bonds helps to set it apart from other movies of its ilk, the pop culture and sci-fi references made throughout the movie help to set it apart even more. The jokes are quite plentiful throughout the course of the movie’s run time. There are jokes about classic 1950s sci-fi flicks, conspiracy theories and even a subtle stab at director James Cameron. It’s so subtle that if a person isn’t really watching closely, one will miss it. Those that catch it will truly appreciate it, considering Cameron’s reputation when it comes to science fiction movies. There are far more subtle jokes and pokes that are peppered throughout the movie. And those that give this movie a chance will appreciate the movie even more for them. In turn, they will see that while it may not be the most original movie in its genre, it really is a movie that is worth at least one watch. It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from the Anchor Bay Entertainment website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=5b081188-3392-e211-b3c9-d4ae527c3b65. Fans can also check in on all of the latest updates on new releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com.
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