Having no idea what was in the theaters, I asked the kids if anyone wanted to see a movie over the weekend for a little Mom-Son date time. Big pulled out the iPad, tapped Fandango, and pulled up the times for Escape from Planet Earth. Together, we watched the trailer, and he decided we’d go, while Middle and Little opted for Daddy time at the bookstore and home.
Upon watching the trailer, I kind of toyed with the idea of trying to switch tasks–the book store sounded much more my speed than a couple of traveling, loud aliens who get stuck on Earth and need to escape. I pictured myself falling asleep in the theater and contemplated searching to see if their wifi would be available. But I’d offered the movie… so Big, and I raced out to make the 4:45 picture.
We expected to see about 20 minutes of previews and, because you can tell a lot from the previews about the movie you’re about to see, I was surprised to only see two previews: Jack the Giant Slayer (which looks beautiful and to be a surprising story) and Monsters University, which I am already counting down the days to see. I get chills each time I see the preview (Monsters Inc. is my absolute favorite Disney/Pixar film.) (Also, really? How smart is their university website??!) So, after only 2 previews that both excited Big and me, I turned the iPhone to silent and sat back.
Movie Review: Escape from Planet Earth
I think there’s no better review than the way my son described it when it ended. “I really loved it, Mom.” He said. “I just wish [Middle] had been here to see it with me.” Then, at dinner, he went on as he shared the storyline with his brother: “You would have loved it. It’s all about these two brothers. And they fight and argue and compete, just like us. But they love each other, too. Because they have to, they’re brothers. And they learn they need each other to be okay. They both have to be heroes together to save the day.” (I know! Are you crying yet?)
Big nailed it. Not only did he get the moral of the story, but he followed the story beyond all the cartoony humor and action-packed alien-fighting and high-jinx. He realized that the story revolved around family love, connection, and dependability as well as individual strengths and differences. It involved bravery, heroism, and, yes, brotherly-love.
Truly, I enjoyed the film. It wasn’t an ohmigodiloveit! Movie for me, but I didn’t find myself stretching, yawning, and looking at the time. Instead, I sat back and enjoyed the story. The one thing that struck me more than anything about this one was that it seemed like a marketing dream for a video game. Although the story was cute, every scene will so easily transfer into an action-packed Wii U game by Christmas. I discussed it with Big, and we laid about 6 levels, complete with mini-games and transition videos–they’ll hardly have to alter the movie at all. And the game will be fun! (I’m surprised I can’t find an announcement of Activision or Ubisoft scooping up that license yet.)
Who should see Escape from Planet Earth?
While my princess-adoring 3-year-old daughter might not have the interest in sitting through this movie, any Power Ranger or Buzz Lightyear fan will be all over it. In other words, if your kids are into action and aliens and can sit through a loud film for about 90 minutes, somewhere between three and a half and four is not too young. It’s definitely made for the elementary school crowd, and I love that they’ve created a standards-based curriculum for grades 2-5 to go along with the film. Girls and boys, alike, will be inspired by the sibling relationship, and girls will also identify with the strong female character, Kira, voiced by Sarah Jessica Parker, a stay at home mom who (SPOILER ALERT!!!) gave up a high-level job to be home with her son. (Jessica Alba voices the evil nemesis.)
The brothers who headline the movie, Gary and Scorch Supernova (voiced by Rob Corddry and Brendan Fraser), embody strength, trust, and the relationship-building we all hope our children will understand. Additional character highlights include Gary and Kira’s son, Kip (Jonathan Morgan Hait), who will do anything for his superstar uncle, and several other brilliant aliens trying to escape Earth.