Caught this one at the theater yesterday and found it pleasantly enjoyable. Imagine my surprise to learn that Metacritic has it at 4.5 and imdb polling shows a wan 5.3. That statement was a bit sarcastic; I've come to expect the movies I enjoy to be low ranked by "critics" and those that see fit to vote on Internet sites.
This movie is not a "home run" like we'd expect from Pixar, Dreamworks or Big Sky (or a few other houses). But, it's NOT bad.
The story is one of those "done to death" tales, but the "fun" of this movie is not in the story itself. After all, it's a movie for children, and story matters less because THEY have NOT seen it 100 times. In other words, I weep for the cynicism of today's movie "reviewers" that cannot go see a movie like this and judge it through a childlike lens.
Actually, that's VERY relevant to a conversation a friend and I had recently regarding the loss of the child inside us, a perplexing disease inflicting many of us over 30.
Back the movie...ESCAPE was enjoyable. It had a few good laughs put in place for the adults in the audience, but these were not all slid-in-under-the-radar sex references. Some were subtle movie references, and those that say it was not funny make me question their movie "trivial knowledge."
A lot of such subtle stuff was dropped in very off-the-cuff by background characters, and maybe, well, to be blunt, maybe this just went over the heads of such "can't laugh at anything not AMERICAN PIE style humor" movie goers. Hollywood is, indeed, damaging the brain cells of a generation.
Ooops, sorry, again, I digress. This movie has a BUNCH of subtle movie trivial humor. If I got it, there must be more I missed. My wife picked up a few I did not get.
*As an alien space ship is crashing on earth, it passes green highway information signs for Area 48, Area 49 and Area 50, finally crashing just after that one. I found it funny, and I heard more than a few Laughs Out Loud in the theater.
*Another, and this is the kind that really sneaks past throughout, a background character speaks to two other background characters....animated "extras" if you will, and says, "Peter, Jackson, come with me." (Or something to that effect). There were a few of these.
*The boys at the trailer park shouting "TORNADO!" only to find Scorch's ship had a BIG SIGN ON IT!
There was a good bit of old style Vaudevillian slapstick, too.
Okay, so let's say this kind of subtle stuff is not everyone's brand of humor. I can live with that.
In addition to the humor, though, this film succeeded in creating some real tension in the action sequences, and there were a few moments when I was "on edge" wondering just how they'd resolve it. So the story was predictable children's fare, but the action was not. Or at least not necessarily.
The animation was well done and the film was good to look at.
The only thing I could not stand was the music. It was awful. I'm talking about the songs, not the score. Sappy songs just did not fit the 'tone' of this movie at all.
We saw it at a reduced priced matinée in 2 D (reduced even for a matinée, something that theater does for certain show times). For movie fans, those that have a "history" with cinema that span more than the last 5 years, it's worth a watch.
3.5 out of 5. I had fun. That's what I ask a movie to do for me.
Edit: In case you wonder about why I characterize modern audiences as I do...here's a comment from this movie's IMDB discussion page:
it could be even better if it was a grown up film and allowed for the aliens swearing and a bit of the old ultraviolece etc
There you go.