Battle for Terra (PG)

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Review byMatthew Turner11/02/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 85 mins

Beautifully animated, emotionally engaging sci-fi adventure with a strong voice cast and original character designs, though the plot has rather had its thunder stolen by the release of Avatar.

What's it all about?
Directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas, Battle for Terra is an animated sci-fi adventure set on the planet Terra, inhabited by the peace-loving, tadpole-like Terrians. When the last remnants of the human race arrive in a spaceship, rebellious Terrian teenager Maya (Evan Rachel Wood) befriends an injured pilot, Jim (Luke Wilson), and is horrified to discover that the humans' intended terra-forming of her planet involves the destruction of its atmosphere.

With the help of Jim's robot Giddy (David Cross), Maya sneaks aboard the spaceship and attempts to rescue her father, who's been captured by the humans. But can Maya save her planet from destruction?

The Good
Tsirbas has assembled an excellent voice cast and the character designs are both original and striking, even if they don't make much sense – why, for example, do the Terrians need to build flying machines if they can all fly? That said, the opening of the film is genuinely beautiful, as Tsirbas allows the audience time to explore the new world and figure out how it works.

The animation is gorgeous to look at and the 3D effects are superb, while the characters are surprisingly engaging, despite the fact that they all look the same. David Cross provides some much-needed comic relief as Giddy, although the film could probably have used a little more humour to offset what is essentially a dark and potentially upsetting story.

The Bad
That's not to say that the film is without problems, particularly during the exciting climax, where one character makes a huge decision that seemingly comes out of nowhere and has far-reaching consequences that don't seem to have been thought through.

Sadly, the film has had its thunder stolen somewhat by the release of Avatar, meaning that its plot now looks hopelessly derivative. It's also doubly unfortunate in that it's coming out in the same week as the vastly superior Ponyo, but it's definitely worth seeking out, particularly if you're an animation buff.

Worth seeing?
Battle for Terra is an original, entertaining and beautifully animated adventure that's both thought-provoking and emotionally engaging.

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Content updated: 24/04/2019 08:15

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