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"BATTLE FOR TERRA"
(2009) (voices of Evan Rachel Wood, Luke Wilson) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None Mild Extreme *Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Heavy None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Moderate Moderate Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Sci-fi: Peaceful inhabitants of a planet must contend with desperate and militaristic humans who've arrived to claim the world as theirs.
PLOT:
On the planet Terra, a civilization of floating tadpole type creatures live a peaceful existence, pretty much blindly following the teachings and rules laid out by the Elders, including Doron (voice of JAMES GARNER). That is, except for teenager Mala (voice of EVAN RACHEL WOOD) who lives with her dad, Roven (voice of DENNIS QUAID), but prefers zipping around on high adventures with her friend Senn (voice of JUSTIN LONG) when not questioning authority.

She and the others have bigger concerns, however, when a giant spaceship arrives and blocks out the sun. The others are initially entranced by the sight, wondering if it's some sort of god, but the notion is quickly squashed when fighter ships quickly descend into the Terran village, blasting away at the inhabitants when not abducting others, such as Roven.

Seeing that happen, Mala engages one such ship, trying to get it to take her, but her actions result in it crashing. When she goes to investigate, she discovers human Jim Stanton (voice of LUKE WILSON) and his trusty robotic assistant, Giddy (voice of DAVID CROSS). Informed that the Earthling will die if he isn't given breathable air, the resourceful teen invent an oxygen tent of sorts and saves his life.

It turns out he's a military pilot, like his brother Stewart (voice of CHRIS EVANS), who's arrived on Terra under the orders of General Hemmer (voice of BRIAN COX) to make it their new home. It turns out Earth as well as colonies on Mars and Venus where destroyed in the past, and the small assembly of survivors on a spaceship-based ark of sorts are all that's left of humanity.

While the Council wants to see if the two groups can peacefully coexist, Hemmer -- based on his militaristic leanings and knowledge that their ship's air is running out -- would rather just wipe out the Terrans and claim their planet. And he intends to use an oxygen generating machine -- that will create a breathable atmosphere for the humans but consequently kill all of the Terrans -- to do the deed.

With Jim -- through his interaction with Mala -- realizing that's the wrong decision, he decides he must do what he can to stop the deadly invasion, all as the peaceful Terrans reveal that they have a secret past they intend to use to defend their planet.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
An action-based, computer-generated sci-fi flick might draw some in, but it doesn't seem like this will be a huge draw.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For sequences of sci-fi action violence and some thematic elements.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • MALA is the teenage Terran who questions authority and bucks some of the rules and restrictions of her world. When invading Earthlings attack their home and abduct her father, her attempt to rescue him puts her in direct contact with Jim who she rescues from certain death. From that point on, she tries to find and rescue her father and stop the pending destruction of her people.
  • JIM STANTON is the human fighter pilot who ends up crashing on her planet, only to be rescued and nursed back to health by her. Although he initially possesses the same conquer by military shared by Hemmer and others, he has a change of both heart and mind after interacting with Mala. He then sets out to stop the deadly invasion, but must initially avoid coming off as a coward or traitor.
  • GENERAL HEMMER is the military commander on the earthlings' ship who wants to use their advanced firepower to conquer the Terrans and take over their world.
  • SENN is Mala's teenage friend who hangs out with her, but turns her in when he discovers she's harboring one of the invaders.
  • DORON is one of the Terran elders who's been hiding their aggressive past, but brings it out in force in order to protect his people.
  • STEWART is Jim's younger brother and fellow fighter pilot who's gung-ho about the invasion.
  • ROVEN is Mala's widowed father who's concerned about her and her mindset.
  • GIDDY is the robotic assistant assigned to Jim that then works with Mala to save him and then help thwart the invasion.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated sci-fi flick. Profanity consists of a minor expletive, while a handful of colorful phrases are also uttered. A side-view of a man lying fully nude on an examination table is seen, but nothing explicit is noted.

    Violence consists of sci-fi action and battles where characters are presumably killed or wounded, but little of that is actually directly seen, while property is damaged and some fighting also occurs. A little bit of that has bloody results, but not much. The violence, action and/or various moments of potential peril might be unsettling for some viewers.

    Some of the action might be enticing for imitation, while bad attitudes are present. Tense family material is also present, as are thematic elements. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that from Mala welding (or doing something similar) to her telescope creation.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there's a spin around camera shot, another where the camera view turns over several times, while some other camera movement occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Jim has bruises or burns on his face following his small spaceship crashing.
  • Jim has some bloody cuts/scrapes on his face after a glass viewing panel shatters.
  • We see a laser instantly healing a bloody cut on Jim's face.
  • During an aerial battle, we see a flying whale-like creature that's bit hit by the crossfire, is bloody on the side, and is losing altitude.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Mala and Senn have skipped school to be out playing.
  • When Jim informs the general that the Terrans can fight, the latter responds, "Good. They'll die with honor."
  • Hemmer stages a military coup and takes over command from the council (so that he can fully invade and conquer the planet, thus taking it over for humans and ridding the place of all Terrans).
  • Hemmer has Stewart placed into a chamber with Mala where she can breathe, but he starts to suffocate. He does this to force Jim to make the decision about which one to save (a push of a button will put oxygen in the room for Stewart, but thus kill Mala, and vice-versa).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may be unsettling and/or suspenseful to younger viewers, and when viewed in 3-D (where available), those scenes and the following might be intensified by the increased visual depth, etc.
  • Mala and Senn race in their flying machines, eventually entering a canyon filled with spikes along the walls, etc. Mala ends up going too fast and loses control toward a spike-filled hole, with Senn hurrying to fling a lifeline to her and pull her to safety before she crashes (he struggles, but succeeds).
  • Giddy informs Mala that Jim is suffocating due to a lack of oxygen, and the two of them race to create an oxygen chamber for him. After recuperating, he comes out of that chamber and to the open edge of her room (high up in the air), but loses consciousness due to the lack of oxygen and falls a long distance. Mala and Giddy race to catch him and do so just before he would have hit some vertical spikes that would have impaled him.
  • Armed with Jim's laser gun, Mala slowly makes her way through the mother ship, looking for her father, and must avoid being spotted by various humans.
  • Hemmer has Stewart placed into a chamber with Mala where she can breathe, but he starts to suffocate. He does this to force Jim to make the decision about which one to save (a push of a button will put oxygen in the room for Stewart, but thus kill Mala, and vice-versa). Jim has no choice and chooses his brother, resulting in Mala starting to suffocate, but Jim has Giddy break the glass viewing window into the chamber, sending shards of glass blasting back onto Jim, Hemmer and others. It also allows Mala to escape.
  • Some viewers might be concerned when Hemmer activates the Terrafarmer device that will convert the planet's atmosphere over to oxygen and thus kill all of the Terrans (this occurs as a massive aerial battle takes place between the forces).
  • A pilot races toward the massive oxygen generating Terrafarmer device, firing at it while guns on it fire back. He fires missiles that strike and destroy the device (presumably killing those inside), but can't avoid the resultant, oxygen-fueled explosion and his ship explodes. Mala and Stewart race to avoid the same fate and barely make it.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Laser guns (handheld and ship-based)/Spears: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • Hemmer's men carry futuristic military weapons.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: An incomplete "What the..?" "This place kind of gives me the creeps," "Bro" and "Lock and load, people. It's crunch time."
  • Some of the action might be enticing for kids to imitate.
  • Mala and Senn have skipped school to be out playing.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Jim suddenly sits up in his spacesuit, startling Mala.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful, action-oriented and heavily dramatic music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 damn and 1 use of "God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • After Jim returns to the mother ship, a non-human robotic device gives him a medical exam. We see a side view of Jim lying completely nude on the exam table, but we don't see any explicit nudity.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • While we never hear what happened to Mala's mom, she isn't in the picture. This is noted by Mala setting out plates, including one for her absent mom, while her dad later longingly looks at a figurine of his wife.
  • The Terrans panic when white globes of light approach from the sky and turn out to be small spacecraft that zoom through the settlement, sucking up various inhabitants via energy beams of some sort. This creates tense family moments (as children and parents are separated, including Mala's father who's one of those sucked up).
  • Mala finds various kidnapped Terrans suspended in tubes or something similar, followed by spotting her father and others tied to gurneys or something similar, seemingly headed toward something bad at the end of conveyor belts. Her father then pushes her out of the room after grabbing the laser gun she's holding, and then fires that all through the room. That breaks the pressurized seal and he, other Terrans and two humans (along with equipment and such) are sucked out of the room into space (we don't see their fate).
  • Hemmer has Stewart placed into a chamber with Mala where she can breathe, but he starts to suffocate. He does this to force Jim to make the decision about which one to save (a push of a button will put oxygen in the room for Stewart, but thus kill Mala, and vice-versa).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Humans of the future ruining Earth to the point that they have to find another planet to live on.
  • The fact that the humans' spaceship (which eclipses the sun) causes the Terrans to believe it's a new god.
  • Hemmer informs Jim that there is just two months' worth of air left in their spaceship ark, and thus plans on using a massive oxygen generator machine to change the planet's atmosphere (meaning humans will be able to live there, but Terrans will die).
  • The comment that even gentle beings must protect themselves when attacked.
  • The fact that it comes down to violence to resolve the matter of the humans needing a place to live.
  • VIOLENCE
  • When viewed in 3-D (where available), the following might be intensified by the increased visual depth, etc.
  • Before they know each other, Mala flies in front of Jim's small spaceship, trying to get him to suck her up as occurred to her father via another ship. But Jim opens fire on her with laser blasts, and she frantically tries to avoid them and elude him, eventually flying through a canyon with him in hot pursuit. But she manages to get out, while he clips part of his ship, causing it to crash (no explosion). She then flies down to the wrecked craft where he's lying on the ground in his spacesuit, and gets off one laser gun blast at her before collapsing back down again.
  • Not initially realizing what he is, Mala repeatedly tries to hit Giddy who easily avoids that.
  • We see a flashback view of a massive explosion that destroyed all or part of a planet (as we hear about Earth colonies on Mars and Venus that rebelled, caused a war, and resulted in the destruction of those planets and Earth).
  • Realizing he'll give away his position, Jim grabs Senn and aims his laser gun at him. Senn knocks that away, but Jim starts to choke him until Mala pulls Jim away.
  • Various fireballs rain down on the Terran settlement, resulting in big explosions of homes, other structures and some Terran flying crafts (deaths are implied but not seen).
  • Jim, Mala and Giddy are surrounded by Terrans armed with spears, so Jim pretends to take Mala hostage, holding his gun on her while firing a few warning laser blasts. They get into his ship, with Terrans throwing spears at Giddy and then the ship, followed by firing laser blasts at the ship that finally manages to lift off and escape.
  • Mala finds various kidnapped Terrans suspended in tubes or something similar, followed by spotting her father and others tied to gurneys or something similar, seemingly headed toward something bad at the end of conveyor belts. Her father then pushes her out of the room after grabbing the laser gun she's holding, and then fires that all through the room. That breaks the pressurized seal and he, other Terrans and two humans (along with equipment and such) are sucked out of the room into space (we don't see their fate).
  • Hemmer has Stewart placed into a chamber with Mala where she can breathe, but he starts to suffocate. He does this to force Jim to make the decision about which one to save (a push of a button will put oxygen in the room for Stewart, but thus kill Mala, and vice-versa). Jim has no choice and chooses his brother, resulting in Mala starting to suffocate, but Jim has Giddy break the glass viewing window into the chamber, sending shards of glass blasting back onto Jim, Hemmer and others. It also allows Mala to escape.
  • Soldiers fire on Mala and Giddy as they flee down a hallway, while the mother ship fires on their escape ship (after Mala fires missiles to blast through a wall and get out) as it heads back toward Terra. One shot hits it, forcing Mala and Giddy to eject themselves. They fall a long distance and Mala hits the snow (no impact seen), but is later okay (as is Giddy).
  • We see two Terrans shocking Giddy with prods while trying to figure out how he works.
  • We see all sorts of dogfight style maneuvering during an aerial battle (that goes on for many minutes) between the Terrans and humans (who initially suffer the most loses as many of their spacecrafts are hit by lasers and destroyed, presumably killing the pilots inside). We also see a flying whale-like creature that's bloody on the side and is losing altitude.
  • As the battle continues, crafts on both sides are hit with additional presumed deaths, while the Terrans try to destroy the massive oxygen generating Terrafarmer device, while guns on that blast back at them. Senn's ship is hit and falls away into the distance (making us think he dies, but we later learn that's not true). Angered by Stewart causing that (but not realizing it's him), Mala goes after him, firing many laser shots, while Jim tries to intervene until he realizes it's Mala.
  • A pilot races toward the massive oxygen generating Terrafarmer device, firing at it while guns on it fire back. He fires missiles that strike and destroy the device (presumably killing those inside), but can't avoid the resultant, oxygen-fueled explosion and his ship explodes. Mala and Stewart race to avoid the same fate and barely make it.



  • Reviewed April 14, 2009 / Posted May 1, 2009

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