Battle for Terra
Evan Rachel Wood
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When Earth is no longer capable of sustaining human life, the military tries to colonize a planet called Terra. This would involve converting the planet's oxygen to be breathable by humans, thereby poisoning the planet's residents. When a human soldier (voiced by Luke Wilson) crashes on Terra, he strikes up a friendship with a young Terranian named Mala (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood)- and eventually, rebels against his mad commander, General Hemmer (Brian Cox), and tries to find a solution to allow both species to live in harmony.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
BATTLE FOR TERRA is an independently financed CG epic, that, despite boasting a strong voice cast, bombed when it came out last spring. Checking it out on blu-ray, I was impressed by what director Aristomenis Tsirbas managed to put on screen, despite his reportedly meager $4 Million budget.
The film looks pretty good, with lush, beautifully composed backgrounds for Terra, and well designed creatures representing the planet's inhabitants. The only place the film really comes up short in the animation department is in the human characters. They look fairly cartoony, and simple- and suffer from dead-eye syndrome, like so many other CGI characters. I also thought the hair in the film wasn't very well done- and I'm not surprised the decision was made to make the lead human bald- as that probably made the animation a little less complicated.
My big problem with the film is that it has a bit of a "been there", "done that" feel about it. I couldn't help but feel like I've seen the same story done before in films like STAR TREK: INSURRECTION and James Cameronís AVATAR is said to cover much of the same ground, albeit on a much larger scale.
BATTLE FOR TERRA's fairly extensive special features should satisfy any hard-core animation buff. First, there's a feature-length audio commentary with director Aristomenis Tsirbas and writer Evan Spiliotopouls . Next, we get a couple of jokey deleted scenes , a brief making of , some storyboards , the animatics for one of the big action sequences, and, in what I believe is a first, a segment called Aristomenis Tsirbas: Pulling the Strings which features a CG version of the director, walking around the films' CG sets, talking about the production.
While I didn't find BATTLE FOR TERRA particularly satisfying, or gripping, I nonetheless have nothing but respect for someone like director Tsirbas, who managed to launch a large scale CGI feature on a budget that probably wouldn't cover the catering at Pixar. Considering I'm not a huge animation buff, it didn't really push my buttons, but I have a feeling there might be a lot of people out there that might dig this- so if you like this type of thing- go for it!