Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and some thematic elements, 85 minutes
Animated "Battle of Terra" is leisurely, crisp and should please sci-fi fans
"Battle for Terra" is an animated sci-fi adventure that will please sci-fi fans drooling over the release of the new "Star Trek" next week. For an animated film with a limited budget, "Terra" is a solid effort - crisp, colorfully drawn and filled with many familiar voices. The story lacks a sense of wonder and its pacing too slow for the younger set, but science fiction afficionados should take a look before Trekkie madness takes over.
Mala (Evan Rachel Wood) is a precocious alien girl living on the beautiful planet Terra, a place where peace and tolerance are celebrated. Mala and her fellow Terrians, the last inhabitants of Earth, are unaware that they've exhausted the resources of their planet and those of three others, and are now searching for a new home.
When the Earthlings embark on a hostile invasion of Terra, Mala's father, Roven (Dennis Quaid), is kidnapped. Hoping to save her father, Mala captures and hides a crashed human pilot named Jim (Luke Wilson). While Mala nurses Jim back to health, the two forge a friendship and a plan that could save both the human race and the planet of Terra.
"Battle for Terra" is a modest but worthwhile effort, with clean, crisp visuals though it's story lacks the power and involvment on the level of "Star Trek" or "Star Wars." Sci-fi fans will get a treat out of it. and "Terra" is seemingly made for them. Director and co-writer Aristomenis Tsirbas has made a feature-length film from his award-winning short animated film "Terra" (2003), on which this is based. The feature-length "Terra" is an auspicious debut for Tsirbas, proving he may have a solid career in filmmaking.
"Terra" is loaded with familiar voices, including Evan Rachel Wood, who makes a perfect Mala, along with Justin Long, Luke Wilson, Brian Cox, Chris Evans, Beverly D'Angelo, David Cross, Rosanna Arquette, James Garner, and if you listen closely enough, Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. They lend themselves nicely to the original story, which moves too slowly and may lose some of the younger set, which is unfortunate as it has some nice messages of loyalty, friendship and peace. The climactic battle scenes are the best, and there's a cute little robot named Giddy (voiced by comedian Cross) that is awfully familiar of WALL-E.
"Battle for Terra," with "Star Trek" on the near horizon, may not make much of a splash, but it's a decent, modestly entertaining effort that's suitable for the family and recommended strongly for those with an interest in space.