‘Escape from Planet Earth’ is mediocre, which is a step up for this studio

By Roger Moore, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
Posted Feb. 15, 2013, at 3:14 p.m.

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve seen worse animated films than the PG-rated “Escape from Planet Earth.” Mostly, one might add, from the same studio that released this one.

But “Earth” is something of a giant — OK, minigiant — leap forward for The Weinstein Co. It’s not much funnier than most of their earlier fare. But at least it’s not as ugly as “Hoodwinked,” “Doogal” and the rest.

Reaching that “Space Chimps” or “Planet 51” level of good-looking mediocrity is an achievement.

The blue aliens of Baab have this Buzz Lightyear-style hero, Scorch, a space rescuer-hero whose adventures are covered by live video feed from wherever in the universe he is sent. Scorch is all bravado and swagger and catch-phrase.

“Scorch me, baby!”

He is voiced by Brendan Fraser.

Scorch always has his mild-mannered tech-nerd brother Gary (Rob Corddry) back at Mission Control, pulling his blue biscuits out of the fire. Until that day that the egotistical Scorch “fires” Gary.

“I QUIT.”

Gary’s gung-ho son and ex-test pilot wife (Sarah Jessica Parker) shame him into attempting a rescue. Meanwhile, Scorch is discovering that the team of screenwriters has plagiarized “Monsters vs. Aliens” and that Area 51 is a vast holding pen where Craig Robinson, Jane Lynch (naturally) and George Lopez voice other imprisoned aliens, and William Shatner is the creepy general in charge.

The gags that work in this thing are mostly visual. The animation is what sells “Escape from Planet Earth.”

Years in development, rewritten to death according to the lawsuit some of those involved filed against the Weinsteins, and not funny, to boot — not a ringing endorsement. But unlike say, “Doogal” or “Hoodwinked 2,” at least you won’t want to gouge your eyes out after this one.

2 out of 4 stars — grade C

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/02/15/living/escape-from-planet-earth-is-mediocre-which-is-a-step-up-for-this-studio/ printed on October 22, 2014