I’m not sure what to think or even say about Battle for Terra. On the one hand, I always complain about American Animation being too child friendly and not serious enough, but Battle For Terra suffers from being way too serious. I was intrigued by the story and twist that for a change the Human race would be the bad guys invading a peace loving planet but somehow this movie is a crashing bore. The character models aren’t that interesting and kind of weird. They are modeled after mermaids, move around their world like mermaids, there’s even flying whales but there’s no water. I couldn’t get past that. It made the characters look really sluggish – which, again, I could have accepted if it was an Ocean planet. The first half hour of the film we are introduced to Mala Evan (Evan Rachel Wood) a young idealist and scientist who spends her free time flying around in hang gliders with her best friend Senn (Justin Long) and living in their city that look like 20 story tall mushrooms. For the first 1/2 hour of this movie, literally nothing happens. It’s just a bore, then one day the evil humans come to take over. See the humans not only destroyed the Earth’s environment but they took two other planets with them so they had to seek out a new home.
Another reason I’m generally not a fan of American Animated films is I don’t like the reliance studios place using celebrity voice acting but when they do at least it’s distinctive, here the actors all sound bored with the entire exercise. At first when the Humans start the invasion it seems to be a scouting mission they are blindly attacking and abducting the these peace loving beings. Through a fluke one of the invaders Lt. Johnson (Brian Johnson) crashes his ship and is saved and protected by Mala. He eventually realizes that his fellow humans are wrong. The animation is about as bland and unimaginative as you can get and the final battle is weirdly shot. There are several instances where it seems like major characters are getting killed, only to have it be someone else. At one point it looks like the Lt. Johnson’s brother gets blown up, but it turned out it was just someone who looked just like him. All of the human character models looked exactly the same – which I guess can be explained by the fact that they are space marines, but still. The tone of the film is too serious and the liberal, environmental friendly message is one I appreciate but it’s just boring and there’s no sense of urgency until the very end. The final resolution to the conflict is too pact for a serious film like this, especially when you know us Humans are basically scum and there’s no way it would work long term.
I appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to do here, but the movie just doesn’t soar and in this case seeing it in 3D didn’t bring any added depth to it, it actually detracted a bit because I found myself wanting to be “wowed,” by the 3D and being completely underwhelmed.
Final Grade C
By Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 5.02.09