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Escape from Planet Earth (3D)


Stars: Voices: Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, William Shatner, Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Sofia Vergara, Jane Lynch, Craig Robinson, Steve Zahn, George Lopez, Chris Parnell

Director: Cal Brunker

This amiably brisk and suitably silly animated science fiction adventure for kids, which was released in the States in July 2013 should please its target audience, especially those youngsters who look forward to having extraterrestrials in their faces, thanks to effective 3D animation. And accompanying adults should find enough sly and cynical content to keep them watching and not sneaking a look at their emails on their cellphones.

Director Cal Brunker (who, along with Bob Barlan, scripted the show from a story by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards) maintains a fast pace to tell the story of a ego-driven blue-faced and nose-less space hero Scorch Supernova (voiced with gusto by Brendan Fraser) who boldly goes from his home planet of Baab on a rescue mission to the Dark Planet – known to us as Earth - on a perilous rescue mission.

The mission turns out to be even more dangerous when Scorch crash-lands in Area 51 where he is taken captive by megalomaniac power-crazed General Shanker and imprisoned with the mixed bunch of aliens whom Shanker has been cheerfully exploiting in his search to create a planet-destroying meg-weapon…

And it’s left Scorch’s older brother to come down to Earth and save the day.

With the screen seething with little blue creatures you might be forgiven for thinking Scorch and Co are simply mutant Smurfs. Their behaviour proves otherwise in a blithe blend of comedy, slapstick and extraterrestrial comic capers and happy hamming by Shatner. (Although how anyone could actually have the gall to cast science fiction legend Captain Kirk as the voice of a villain boggles the imagination!).

Other voices are well cast with Jane Lynch standing out (so to speak) speaking for one of the batty band of extraterrestrials being exploited by Shanker) and Rob Corddry as Scorch’s brother.

Product placement (and amusing send-ups of product placement) are a notable feature of a fun film that may not linger long in the memory but is pleasantly entertaining while it’s running.

And, best of all, Ricky Gervais as the voice of a computer (with dialogue credited to Stephen Fry), is heard and not seen.

Alan Frank

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Entertainment Film Distributors. Colour by deluxe.
89 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 07 Mar 2014