Scorch Supernova (voice of Brendan Fraser) is a fearless adventurer, rescuing little blue alien babies and thwarting evil-doers with a spring in his step and a nifty catch-phrase. (“You’ve been scorched” or something — one of many not terribly memorable elements of this film.) Not only does his entire planet of vaguely humanoid blue-dudes worship him for his heroics, but Scorch also thinks he’s pretty great. And he thinks he achieves most of his feats by himself. This is not how his brother Gary Supernova (Rob Corddry) sees it. Gary is back at mission control, making sure that everything from Scorch’s suit to his ship works the way it should. But nobody — not Scorch, not Gary’s young son Kip (Jonathan Morgan Heit) — sees his role as being important.
After Gary and Scorch have a falling out, Gary quits the space team, which means that Scorch heads to the Dark Planet (as Earth is known) to answer a distress call without backup. When Scorch is taken prisoner, Gary decides to go after his brother and bring him home.
Meanwhile, on Earth, Scorch falls into the hands of General Shanker (William Shatner), the boss at Area 51, where aliens of all shapes and colors (voiced by the likes of George Lopez, Jane Lynch and Craig Robinson) are being held prisoner and forced to work on a giant weapon.
Other celebrity voices that appear: Ricky Gervais, Jessica Alba, Sofia Vergara, Sarah Jessica Parker, Steve Zahn and Chris Parnell. As animated movies go, that’s a pretty good lineup with a balance of “hey, it’s that guy” and genuine voice talent. And yet like a space shuttle scheduled for launch on a snowy day, Escape from Planet Earth never gets off the ground.
Why this is, I can’t completely say. Decent talent, an OK story, an adequate amount of action — Escape from Planet Earth doesn’t have it all, but it does have enough elements that it should be at least be a lively good time. But the film has no spark. Here’s the part where the hero needs help, here’s the part where the underdog rises, here’s the part with the little kid. The movie checks off parts of a story, but we never get invested in the world this movie creates. Even the riffs on our world feel like they’re more about hitting the requirements of a “kids’ movie, variant space” recipe rather than telling a good story.
Which is to say, don’t waste money seeing this one in 3D, but I suppose if you end up in the theater for a matinee you won’t feel completely robbed. After all, it buys you 90 minutes of uninterrupted sleep. C-
Rated PG for action and some mild rude humor. Directed by Cal Brunker and written by Brunker and Bob Barlen, with story by Tony Leech and Cory Edwards, Escape From Planet Earth is an hour and 35 minutes long and is distributed by The Weinstein Company.