Escape from Planet Earth

  • Review Date: February 14, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Predictable alien adventure is violent and forgettable.
  • Review Date: February 14, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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."

Language

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.

Consumerism

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
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

 

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:February 15, 2013
DVD release date:June 4, 2013
Cast:Brendan Fraser, Jessica Alba, Rob Corddry, William Shatner
Director:Cal Brunker
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Space and aliens
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:action and some mild humor

This review of Escape from Planet Earth was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byMomof4BOYS43 February 17, 2013
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

A hit for the whole family!

We took our 4 boys to see this today! It was great! They all loved it. They are ages 5, 6, 8 and 9. I read the except written by the site here before we went and I have to say I disagree wholeheartedly. There are plenty of positive messages, the violence is very light, and the language and sexual overtures are suited fine for kids. My husband and I both enjoyed it also. Very cute, very entertaining and some humor that only the adults would catch on with.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bypaulmas40 February 18, 2013
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

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 my kids enjoyed it from ages 5-11. Nothing too scary here. This is a cute animated movie! In comparison to other PG movies, I thought this was mild. Humor was cute and there ARE positive messages. Learning to get along with your siblings and appreciate family for one. My kids have seen only G rated movies for the most part and I had no problem with them seeing this.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written byabbacus February 16, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Terrible.

This movie is awful and should not exist. That's all there is to it. It's too cruel, violent, and sexual too be a kids movie, but there's no way in heck teens and adults are going too like it. Please save your money. This movie is garbage.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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