Thursday, February 21, 2013

Gary, turn off your brain and hang on.

Our kids, probably whether we'd like them to or not, will likely grown up to be just like us. And as half of you reading this just thought Screw that, I'm not like my mom or dad at all, it's safe to say that there's a certain inevitability about it. Try as we might, we're helpless against it. If you have ever read this blog (and you haven't, I know), it's painfully clear that while absolutely loving movies and everything about them, I'm a sarcastic jerk, consistently going for the cheapest laugh possible. And despite being on this planet for a little over three years, my son is shaping up to be the same way. Let the following sentence, whispered to my wife during our recent trip to the movies, be my son's first movie review.

Mom, you said there would be more funny parts.

And while the delivery was rather deadpan, the implication that my wife said the movie would be better is quietly hysterical (she made no such claim). That said, my son nailed it. Escape from Planet Earth isn't funny. It also isn't exciting, inspired or special in any way. It's a family movie smartly released to fill the vacancy that has existed in theaters since Rise of the Guardians [review] moved out over a month ago. Relatively good news for them, awfully bad news for everyone else.

The story, not that you care at all, is all kinds of derivative. Primarily, the plot concerns a rescue mission. Rescue mission, you say? Intriguing. Not so fast, Italics Guy. You remember when Woody had to go get Buzz out of Sid's house in the first Toy Story? Yeah? Well, so did everyone who worked on the script for Escape from Planet Earth. And you remember those yellow-suited dudes from Monsters, Inc.? Might as well steal borrow them, too. But probably the biggest theft of them all, would be shoplifting the idea of creatures being held captive on Earth, as seen in the lackluster/superior Dreamworks flick, Monsters vs. Aliens. If you like Escape, they're tributes, but for a bored dad like me, you're thinking this is a ripoff, in more ways than one.

Always worth what you pay for them, here is an abbreviated version of the Yays and Boos. It's kind of hard to take notes on the ol' cellphone, when I'm surrounded by the wee ones. If they're anything like my son, as soon as they see that tiny screen lit up, they'll want to hit up YouTube.

  • Despite not seeing it in 3D, visually, this film can be breathtaking at times. The colors alone could likely send someone into a Mr.Sparkle-like seizure. 
  • Though, I couldn't place a lot of the voice cast initially, Ricky Gervais stands out as the kiddie version of HAL 9000.
  • The digs at our own planet were well-conceived. First, Earth is known as the dark planet, because all known alien visitors have never returned. Better though, is the idea that we're the only civilization going to reverse evolution. 
  • There were some pretty cool shout outs to famous directors. James! Cameron! You two head over there.
  • And while the crux of the movie is about unresolved sibling rivalry, there was one extended, get this, amusing sequence. Sure, it's a typical food fight deal, but it's inspired lunacy. Loved the guy playing the old nickelodeon during the chaos. Do you have to play that now?
  • And finally, I actually snickered at the keyboarding gesture that everyone made instead of simply yelling NERD ALERT! like I do. It was stupid and mean, and therefore altogether awesome.
  • Jane Lynch. I'm going to buy her a big ass Flavor Flav-style clock to where around her neck. The reason? To kindly remind that time is running out for her tough-bitch schtick.
  • I'm surprised that two of the characters weren't named 7 and 11, just to really cement the product placement/corporate shill job that this flick morphed into.
  • As cool as the aliens looked, they were incredibly generic too. Mouse Guy, Crab Lady and Mexican Slug? I'm sure you'll see their likenesses all over many a clearance item. These aliens might end up buried in a landfill next to an Atari version of their buddy, E.T., while we're at it.
  • And finally, the damn kid behind me. Trust me, bucko, you got all the soda out of your cup. You know it, I know it, everybody in the theater knows it. In a way it was impressive. That kid could probably suck start a leaf blower.
In case you're wondering, I review every movie I see, per some imaginary rule posted nowhere. And while every movie blog in the world is making George Lucas cream in his pants with Oscar related tidbits and prognostications, we here at Two Dollar Cinema have decided to do keep the main thing the main thing. And by that, obviously I mean saying dumb shit about worthless crap.

No, no. No need for thanks. We do it out of love. In fact, that's the same reason I saw this movie in the first place.

And by the way, my son totally flip-flopped on his opinion of the movie. It was soooo good, Dad!
Kid can't even stick to his word overnight.

Just like his dad.


  1. Thanks for the True Lies quote! It made me glad I read all the way to the end :) I wonder how Luke will feel about movies in a few years......right now it's Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 24/7.

    1. How is the little guy? I was just talking about the Williams clan today.

      I forgot your vast appreciation for True Lies. An admirable quality, that.

    2. Luke is great! He's literally gaining new words every day - it's crazy! He's such a chatterbox. The Williams clan is good - we've been getting all the last minute details finished up for baby two's arrival - I'm beyond ready (you know - 100 months pregnant and birthing a 5 year old).

    3. On a completely unrelated note, this should be fun to watch! (Give it on up for homelessville...?)

  2. The animation looks kind of cute. It's too bad this movie sucked, even through it clearly improved for your son in retrospect. :) Otherwise it might be a good form of mindless entertainment for my 9 y/o for a few hours. Oh well.

    1. Even though what amuses me is likely on par with a nine year old, I still feel the whole thing was a giant missed opportunity. Proceed with caution.

  3. He will carry on the legacy that is Two Dollar Cinema.

    1. By legacy, clearly you mean burden, right?