on 14 July 2014
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH  [3D Blu-ray + 2D Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet] [US Import] Earth's Greatest Secrets Are About To Break Out!
This fantastic, funny 3D animated adventure crosses all galaxies to entertain the entire family! Sibling rivals from the Planet BAAB, with brainiac Gary Supernova [Rob Corddry] who works all the gizmos at Mission Control, while his butch stud brother Scorch Supernova [Brendan Fraser] performs all the all the superhero stuff. But when Scorch is sent on an SOS operation to the Dark Planet [otherwise known as Planet Earth], from which no alien has ever returned and it's up to Gary to rescue him, their planet and the universe. This out-of-the-world fun includes a stellar vocal cast including Rob Corddry, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, Craig Robinson, George Lopez, Jane Lynch and Sofía Vergara.
Voice Cast: Rob Corddry, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, William Shatner, Joshua Rush (young Shanker), Jessica Alba, Craig Robinson, George Lopez, Jane Lynch, Sofía Vergara, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Ricky Gervais (sarcastic computer AI), Steve Zahn, Chris Parnell, Paul Sheer, Jason Simpson, Kaitlin Olson, Bob Bergen, Daran Norris, Jim Ward, Cooper Barnes, Joe Sanfelipo, Scott Beehner, Michael Dobson, Tim Dadabo and Adrian Petriw (Snark Beast)
Director: Carl Brunker
Producers: Catherine Winder, Donna Gigliotti, Luke Carroll and Tony Leech
Screenplay: Bob Barlen and Carl Brunker
Composer: Aaron Zigman
Cinematography: Matthew A. Ward
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 3D Blu-ray: 1.85:1 and 2D Blu-ray: 2.39:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
Running Time: 89 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: ‘Escape From Planet Earth’ has a pleasingly retro title, the kind that evokes 1950s black-and-white B-movies, UFOs on bits of string, paper-maché alien costumes, classic Sunday afternoon telly stuff. Although there's plenty of familiar references to the usual Area 51 archetypes, this yarn of aliens and UFOs is a decidedly modern affair, a zippy, hollow-but-harmless animated adventure in the Ice Age/Monsters vs Aliens mould, a half-term multiplex-filler and little more. ‘Escape From Planet Earth’ is a kind of parallel universe to ‘Planet 51,’ the 2009 animated comedy centring on an astronaut marooned on an alien world and his struggle to get home. The plot of the animation film is nearly identical to that of the earlier film, except everything is flipped. Here, the astronaut is a blue-skinned E.T. named Scorch Supernova (voice of Brendan Fraser) who has been captured by the U.S. military. After crash-landing in Area 51, Scorch is captured by the U.S. military, which throws him into a holding facility, along with every other little green man (and woman) who has ever had the misfortune to run out of dilithium crystals in the Nevada desert.
More often than not, when a film is released in the 3D format, you'll read a review that says the additional dimension adds nothing to one's enjoyment. However, when it comes to 'Escape From Planet Earth,' the fun almost exclusively comes from seeing it in the 3D version. In fact, I'll go as far as to say not to even waste your time with, but if you feel you will not going to view it in 3D, then this review will not be very relevant to reading any further, but sadly if you are not keen on viewing 3D films, then you will be missing out on a fantastic 3D animation film.
Directed by first-timer Carl Brunker, 'Escape From Planet Earth' is another computer animated children’s film that seems to struggle sometimes whether it wants to be a 1950's B-movie spoof or a feel-good family film. The films opens with viewers being introduced to two blue-coloured alien brothers and they are Gary Supernova [Rob Corddry] Scorch Supernova's older brother and the head of mission control at BASA and the dimmer Scorch Supernova [Brendan Fraser] Gary's younger, stronger, brother, who is an arrogant but benevolent space pilot. Although they're brothers, they're essentially the Woody and Buzz Lightyear of this animation film. Scorch has just returned from rescuing some babies from a hostile planet, when it's learned that the next mission will be to the "dark planet," which turns out to be Earth. After a disagreement, however, Gary tells Scorch he's quitting, leaving Scorch to go to Earth by himself. He isn't there long before he's kidnapped by government agents and something that Gary and the residents of his planet are able to view back home on their version of the news.
Gary decides to go to Earth to try and rescue his brother, but he isn't there long before he's captured himself and put into one of the holding cells in Area 51. He learns of a plan by General William T. Shanker (no bonus points for guessing who the voice actor is here!) to use a weapon to destroy Gary's and other captured aliens' home worlds. The second half of the animation involves Gary and his new alien friends [Craig Robinson, George Lopez, and Jane Lynch] attempting to thwart the General's plans, rescue his brother, and of course escape from planet Earth.
While the plot is razor thin, some of the sight gags are going to be appealing for older viewers, and most involve Gary and Scorch's fish-out-of-water situation. There are a couple scenes at a 7-11 in the desert that provide a few laughs (including Gary getting his first taste of a Slurpee), as well as a series of Area 51 jokes that will bring a smile to the face of all the Fox Mulders fans watching this 3D Blu-ray.
A few humorous moments appeal to adults, and we wished for more of them. There’s a an industrial, black-and-white ”documentary” on planet Earth, where the residents of Baab learn that the Dark Planet is the only one in the universe that’s de-evolving, starting with the intelligent, gentle dinosaurs to a race of humans who war with each other. The Baab-ians also learn that the Dark Planet’s inhabitants choose their leaders by picking those with weird facial hair (showing illustrations of Fidel Castro and others).
‘Escape from Planet Earth’ has a great cast, but there are too many characters with too little to do. Sofía Vergara, who voices Scorch’s girlfriend reporter Gabby Babblebrock, is largely onscreen to be kissed by the valiant hero each time he returns from a mission. We would have rather also seen more of the three little floating aliens that do the general’s bidding. (It’s not until the end that we find out that one of them sounds like a dead ringer for Ringo Starr.) What’s largely missing from the film are the compelling heroes that kids and adults will root for and despite the film’s huge team of writers, ultimately, viewers don’t have a vested interest in either Gary or Scorch.
But the real way to view 'Escape From Planet Earth' is in the awesome 3D Blu-ray, as the film takes full advantage of the format by throwing some stunning visuals at viewers, even when the storyline is less than engaging. The movie has fun at both shooting things out at the audience while providing the kind of depth and clarity that 3D aficionados love. The 3D version is presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio (instead of the more opened-up 2:39:1 of the 2D version), so the filmmakers can make use of the black top and bottoms of the screen to enhance the 3D presentation. At times, snowflakes, explosions, lasers, and even parts of characters will overlap into the black portions of the image to give a little added fun to the 3D image. For those of you who remember the flying fish scene in the 3D version of Ang Lee's `Life of Pi,' that's the best way to describe how 'Escape From Planet Earth' has fun with its 3D presentation.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The real incentive for getting this Blu-ray title is to view the film in 3D, and Anchor Bay has given viewers a top-notch transfer, full of bright colours and sharp details. Granted, as is the case with all 3D viewing, people say the 3D glasses are going to dim the picture a bit, but here in the UK, watching this 3D Blu-ray on my Samsung 46” Smart 3D Television with my Samsung 3D Glasses, as there is none of that diming problem, but as the 3D Blu-ray goes, this is one of the BEST animated titles I own. If you're looking to show off the brilliant 3D capabilities on your television, this comes close to reference quality. Equally impressive is the 2D version, even though I think all the fun of the animation film comes from watching it in the 3D Blu-ray. Once again, a near reference quality transfers here, with no complaints and plenty of simply gorgeous animated shots. It's a shame the script didn't quite live up to the animation effort, because visually-speaking the animation film is pretty stunning.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is active and immersive, although not nearly to the degree that the action is on-screen. As one can imagine, the animation film is packed with swooping spaceships, big fight sequences, and a lot of opportunities to have fun with the soundtrack. However, while all the speakers get plenty of activity, most of the directionality and rear speaker use is on the subdued side. Which is to say, it's present, but doesn't always provide the "oomph" you'd expect. Even with those minor complaints, the track is well-balanced, especially the spoken dialogue, music, and background sounds are properly mixed and there are no apparent defects like popping, hissing, or other issues. Where the audio is concerned, is that viewers will only get one soundtrack option per disc, with the 3D and 2D Blu-ray disc giving us an 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, while the DVD sports a 5.1 Dolby Digital track. Subtitles are available in English SDH and Spanish, but only for the 2D versions of the animation film.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary with Director Cal Brunker: The only noteworthy bonus for those over the age of 12 is this feature-length commentary from the director. While not always screen-specific, Cal Brunker does provide some nice insights into the development of the movie, although he spends just as much time often commenting about what the characters motivations are in certain scenes. Like a lot of commentary tracks, this one was recorded shortly before the film's theatrical release, so listeners won't get any feedback here about the animation films performance, and critical reception.
Special Feature: The Making of 'Escape From Planet Earth'  [1080p] [21:00] While this behind the scenes documentary does contain comments/interview footage with most of the main cast, it's sadly little more than a fluff piece and extended advertisement for the film.
Special Feature: Alternate Takes & Deleted Scenes  [1080p] [4:00] This collection of deleted scenes (some of them are only seconds long) just seems to be an excuse to present all of the completed but unused animation. There's nothing here that didn't deserve to get cut from the final product.
Special Feature: How To Make An Animated Feature With Director Cal Brunker  [1080p] [4:00] A short little documentary on how an animated film goes from storyboarding to pre-visualisation to animation to compositing/final product.
Special Feature: Music Features  [1080p] [11:00] Broken up into three segments (which can be watched together or separately), this segment gives viewers the music video for "Shooting Star" by Owl City; an introduction by Delta Rae followed by a performance of "What Matters Most" and then a segment from Cody Simpson about his song "Shine Supernova" which features highlights of the song, but never the full song itself.
Finally, `Escape from Planet Earth' has a lot of fun exploring its characters and universe. Even if the film isn't a bastion of originality, it takes itself very lightly. It's a buoyant, bubbly, happy-go-lucky sort of movie that just rolls with limited range and cleverly mixes together its pieces into an animation film that feels familiar but at the same time rather fresh. It's not an instant classic of its genre, but chances are younger ones will love it and parents with a Sci-Fi itch to scratch will enjoy it, too. Anchor Bay's 3D and 2D Bu-ray combo release of `Escape from Planet Earth' features tip-top video, excellent audio and amazing few extras. If you read other peoples reviews, they say this is a very mediocre, well that is such tosh, as this it totally brilliant 3D animation and I loved every minute and was brilliant fun and I cannot find any fault with it and you will be a fool to pass this by and I am so proud to add this to my ever increasing animation Blu-ray Collection and especially 3D Blu-ray discs, which I really love and is a massive bonus to me personally, despite people are predicting the demise of anything to do with 3D, as at most times they look so much more superior to what 3D you see in the cinema. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom