Escape from Planet Earth

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Escape from Planet Earth Movie Poster Image
Predictable alien adventure is violent and forgettable.
  • PG
  • 2013
  • 89 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 22 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The movie is intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

The story does have some positive messages about the importance of family, what it means to display courage under fire, and why it's necessary to do everything possible to stop the rise of tyranny. On the other hand, stay-at-home moms and engineers/scientists are insulted repeatedly, even if they eventually save the day. And it might confuse really young kids to see the U.S. military depicted as containing not just a vengeful general but also a host of soldiers willing to follow his orders.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gary and Kira are loving parents and make decisions to help save their loved ones. Despite his narcissism, Scorch really is quite brave and adores his nephew, admires his brother, and loves his girlfriend. On the flipside, the general is sadistic.

Violence & Scariness

A father is squashed to death by an alien spaceship that crash lands. The general sadistically electrocutes imprisoned aliens and freezes them when they don't comply. A giant alien eats another alien. A young alien mother and her child are tied up and held against their will. A man plummets to his death. A friendly alien nonetheless has anger-management issues. There are dart guns and laser guns and both human/alien weapons. The general plans to use an alien energy source to destroy planets.

Sexy Stuff

At least four kisses, three references to online dating and flirting, continuous jokes about how a "nerd" was able to "score" or "hook up" or "land" such an attractive wife, and one off-putting moment when a female alien stares longingly at her boyfriend and says "looking good."


Several insults and put-downs to mission control engineers and "nerds" in general, as well as stay-at-home moms. Although the alien mother proves she still has all the same skills she had as when she worked full time, there are still three separate derogatory references to her having given up her career as a BASA supervisor. Words like "idiot," "stupid," "chick," "loser," "Little Miss Housewife," etc.


This movie at times seems like 7-Eleven commercial. At first it's funny when the aliens land in front of a 7-Eleven, but then there are several references to the store and scenes shot inside it when the Slurpee is described as "the most delicious frozen drink in the universe." Most of the movie's 7-Eleven's inventory is generic, but there are at least four shots that show Pop Chips on the shelves. Apple, Google, Facebook, and Pixar (and their CEOs) are all mentioned and shown in photos. The alien nation has a network called BNN, a space agency called BASA, cereal called Scorchios, etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Escape from Planet Earth is an animated alien adventure that features more violence, consumerism, and even references to romance than other similar films aimed at kids. There are some deaths in the movie: A father is killed when a spaceship lands on him, a man plummets to his doom from the air, and a freed alien is eaten by a much larger, scary-looking alien. A general is sadistic and likes to torture/exploit aliens. Unlike many other animated movies, this one doesn't shy away from sexuality, either: Alien couples kiss several times, a female admires her boyfriend's body, several characters comment on a "nerdy" character's beautiful wife, and online dating is even referenced. Lastly, families sensitive to consumerism should know that there are parts of the movie that seem practically like a commercial for 7-Eleven.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypaulmas40 February 18, 2013

Lighten up, it was cute!

Don't know what all the fuss is about. I'm pretty stern about what my kids watch and see, but this movie is getting a bad rap! It's good. All m... Continue reading
Adult Written bySteveGC June 9, 2013

Relax, the review is embellished

There are some family movies worthy of the review given, but this one is not it. Glad I read these other reviews instead of relying on the main one, or I would... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bySpeedyFAST2006 November 4, 2020

This is amazing!

This movie is beautiful! I laughed at some jokes. And the animation is soo colorful, like at the end is sooo cute!
I would rate this 5 stars, but theirs one thi... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 20, 2014

1 star got to be kidding me

this movie is just awesome and funny i really love it and others will to if you don't like this movie its fine don't take this the wrong way I love it...

What's the story?

Two alien brothers -- nerdy mission control specialist Gary (voiced by Rob Corddry) and his brave, brash astronaut brother Scorch (Brendan Fraser) -- lead all of the space expeditions on the distant, technologically advanced planet of Baab. Scorch is the creature of action, while Gary is a creature of thought; even Gary's own son prefers his courageous uncle to his cautious dad. After one too many brotherly fights, Gary quits just as Scorch decides to embark on a mysteriously assigned mission to the "Dark Planet" -- Earth. Upon arrival on Earth, Area 51 military commander General Shanker (William Shatner) takes Scorch into custody. Gary summons his courage to rescue Scorch and discovers that there's a secret plot that could destroy not only Baab, but every planet.

Is it any good?

Movies like this are infuriating, because they prove that some studios believe families will respond favorably to any release aimed at kids. Are families that desperate for an afternoon matinee that they should put up with poorly executed movies with ridiculous stereotypes and over-the-top product placements, just because they're animated? Is it necessary to put down scientists as "nerds" and mothers as "little Miss Housewife" to get laughs? Why in the world does a movie need to partner with 7-Eleven for a running (and unfunny after the first time) gag?

Yes, there are a few sweet messages about family and brotherhood and how one person can make a difference, but those themes are overshadowed by the movie's violence -- Shatner's vengeful general is quite the sadistic torturer at times -- the off-putting romantic references (there are several kisses and allusions to online dating and even a va-va-voom alien voiced by Sofia Vergara). Skip this forgettable flop and rent/buy/stream/re-watch E.T., Monsters vs. Aliens, Close Encounters, or almost any other alien-themed film instead.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of alien movies. Why is it so compelling to depict extra-terrestrials and their relationship to humans? How are the humans in Escape from Planet Earth represented? What about the aliens?

  • Except for their features, the Baab-based aliens are pretty much just like humans in the way they live and even the names of their organizations and consumer products. Is it necessary for friendly aliens to resemble humans this way?

  • Do you think the content in this movie matches with the intended target audience? Why or why not?

  • What purpose do all of the references to brands -- particularly to 7-Eleven -- serve? Do they add anything to the story?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love alien adventures

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate