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The peace-loving population of the serenely beautiful planet of Terra is targeted for destruction by the last survivors of the invading human race, who are floating in an ancient spaceship and need a new home. War seems inevitable — even for the pacifists on this unusual planet — but a unique and unexpected friendship forged by a crafty young girl and the human pilot she captures could be the key to saving the day, not only for planet Terra but for both warring races.


Although Battle for Terra was independently made, the producers of this stunning film managed to pull together a first-rate all-star cast, led by Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler) as Mala, the heroic young girl who initially is the only member of her planet to fight back. Luke Wilson has an appealing turn as Jim Stanton, the American pilot Mala captures, and is nicely balanced by Brian Cox's (The Bourne Identity) evil General Hemmer, who is out to annihilate Terra's citizens and replace them with his own. Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) plays Jim's loyal warrior brother Stewart with strong results; Danny Glover is effective as the human President; James Garner movingly voices the wise leader of the Terrians; and Dennis Quaid lends credibility to the role of Mala's dad. There's also an amusing turn from David Cross as Jim's sidekick bot, Giddy. Amanda Peet, Justin Long and Ron Perlman (Hellboy) round out the impressive voice cast.


Battle for Terra's 3-D animation is superb, especially considering the budget restraints of an indie production. It stands with the very best of its genre, creating an astounding visual experience that ought to have audiences of all ages riveted to the screen. More importantly, the film's strong environmental and anti-war messages are expertly weaved into its compelling storyline. This is a movie that has more on its mind than just entertainment (which it provides in spades).


A little more humor might have been injected, but this is serious business. Battle For Terra stands apart from other recent 3-D animated experiences as rip-roaringly fine piece of science fiction that looks impressive next to its live-action cousins.


For sheer pulse-pounding excitement and thrills, the big climactic battle is simply breathtaking to watch.


The movie is stunning to look at and the 3-D glasses just add to its impact. Definitely see this on the big screen.



Bottom Line rated this film 3 1/2 stars.