Movie review: Battle for Terra

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Touching upon topics ranging from religion to the environment to the very nature of humanity itself, Battle for Terra isn't exactly the most kid-friendly animated movie of 2009. Its lush visuals, however, certainly make it a joy for adult animation fans.

The planet Terra is largely a utopia for the Terrians, a small group of bug-like creatures whose harmonious living is threatened when a spacecraft - originally mistaken for a new god - appears in the sky. The ship is filled with the last remaining survivors of the human race, who hope to colonize Terra for themselves, even if it's at the expense of the current inhabitants.

The movie largely focuses on the growing respect between Terra freethinker Mala (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood) and downed pilot Jim Stanton (Luke Wilson), who she tends to when he cannot survive in Terra's current atmosphere.

The film does hit a narrative snag when the two have to converse in their respective languages, even though both have been speaking English the whole time. The problem is quickly resolved by Jim's trusty robot Giddy (a droll David Cross), but that doesn't fix the previous disconnect.

Despite those rare odd choices, Terra remains a simple, visually stunning little feature. It's not going to be for everyone - it's not without its share of animated violence - but it provides a stark and refreshing change from the rest of the big-budget animation out there.

"Battle for Terra"

Opens Friday

Grade: B-