So, here it is, the first ever SF movie review on SFOO. Battle for Terra comes to theaters May 1st.
According to the filmmaker and director, Aristomenis Tsirbas, Battle for Terra is a cautionary tale. Humans have destroyed Earth with a civil war between Earth and two planets we colonized. Their single space-faring ship brings the only survivors to the planet Terra. With their resources almost gone, the desperate Earthlings (I would say Terrans only you'd get confused since they named the alien world Terra and its inhabitants Terrians.) seek to "terraform" (ugh! They really do use that word!) a world that meets their needs even though it's inhabited by an intelligent society.
It's a unique spin on alien invasion with humans being the aliens. The story line and dialog are simple and straightforward, geared to a young audience. Battle for Terra is billed as a "CG-animated science fiction action adventure". The violence and gravity of the theme make me want to say, "Think Pixar war movie".
The characters gained my empathy while drawing me into the drama. I enjoyed the alien landscapes, architecture, animals and "people". The CGI didn't fail to deliver in any respect. I was fascinated by the aliens' form of locomotion. The Terrians live in a helium rich atmosphere in which they float and "swim".
In the Q & A that followed the screening Tsirbas admitted that creating swimming beings with tails is cheaper than animating biped gaits. There's fewer moving parts. I also learned that the small mouths and big eyes characteristic in Japanese animé, which he uses in the film are another economical choice, though he didn't explain why.
The main Terrian character, Mala (Evan Rachel Wood) rescues a fallen soldier from Earth and enlists his help to find her father who was abducted in the first wave of the alien invasion. The soldier (Luke Wilson), in turn, overcomes his prejudices and faces hard choices as his commander orders genocide.
The musical score enhanced the experience without distracting, perfectly complimenting the action. And no animated SF film is complete without a sassy robot for comedy relief. Giddy's character is delivered by actor-comedian David Cross.
Would I see it again? Sure. It's a good flick. Check it out. And see if you can figure out which character Mark Hamill plays.