Battle for Terra

Battle for Terra

Starring the voice talent of Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, and Luke Wilson
Directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas
Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and some thematic elements
Appropriate for ages 8+

    The native intelligent life forms of the planet Terra are peaceful beings with only the desire to learn and create.  When humans in search of a suitable planet show up, they bring war to the Terrians and the natives must learn to fight back against these aliens or be annihilated. When a rebellious teenager named Mala befriends one of the human soldiers, the two become the last hope for her species. 

    Being the sci-fi junkie that I am, I have to give this movie points for guts and originality.  The filmmakers here created a beautiful, strange world with eye-popping visual effects.  I found the life on the planet to be fascinating, although I would have liked to have seen more of the world than the few species and locales shown here.  Story-wise though, the premise was well-conceived and the tale well-executed.  Having humans as the villains in an alien invasion flick (and no, I don’t count The Day the Earth Stood Still) is a brilliant touch.  Not only does it send an eco-friendly message to the audience, but it is very believable as well, at least in regard to human nature. 

    I highly recommend that you watch this film in its 3D version rather than the 2D due to the immersive experience.  The 3D isn’t as stunning as Bolt, but works as well or better than Monsters Vs. Aliens.

    What doesn’t work for the film is its simplicity.  The film is roughly eighty minutes and while it packs a lot of story, it could have been a tad more complex.  The only Terrian you get to know well is Mala, and I am certain that more time with her world would have been a wise investment. 

    As for the kids, it’s a darker film than most of them are used to, but should be fine for most.  The thing I like about it is that the adults will enjoy this movie with or without the children.  If it weren’t an independent film, I’d predict it to be a contender for the animation Oscar at the end of the year, but we’ll see how much money Lionsgate puts behind it.  B+