Battle For Terra

Opening May 1st, from Lionsgate, is Battle For Terra (formerly known simply as Terra). This film actually won the Best Feature award at the 2008 Ottawa International Animation Festival. It’s no Delgo… but that’s not saying much.


  • Charlie

    That actually sounds like a neat idea for a story.

  • http://www.myspace.com/harperrific Ethan Harper

    Charlie’s right, it does sound like a good idea for a story, but GOD does it look AWFUL. Another famous-person-filled voice cast for what looks to be another needless 3D CG film filled with bland and uninspiring designs. Why does Hollywood continually insist on ignoring the fact that film is primarily a VISUAL medium. Ugh.

    And, really, it’s particularly criminal to do that to Brian Cox, the only person who’s voice DOES sound great in the trailer.

    Bummer.

    • Mary Law Bradshaw

      I thought the score was compelling as I was cooking breakfast and just listening to the movie. /then I liked the two main characters. Keeping it simple, it’s a good family movie.

  • Trystan

    Finally!
    Been waiting for this to be released.

  • http://sketchblakey.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I was at the OIAF 08 and was so disappointed when Terra won Best Picture. Some of the designs were interesting, but the plot was nothing new and the story was incredibly predictable. Also, I’m still bitter that Sita Sings the Blues didn’t win. :(

  • http://joyboxblues.blogspot.com/ Alex Grigg

    Hey yeah, i mean apart from the character design, i think the trailer looks promising. The premise for the story seems pretty solid. Of course it depends entirely on how its treated, but if it won at Ottawa, I’m imagining they’ve done something right

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    You’re right.
    It is no Delgo.
    Delgo was one of the most misunderstood animated projects of the last 10 years.
    I thought it was brilliant and this pales in comparison.

  • http://www.rohitiyer.com/ Rohit Iyer

    It doesn’t look too bad, but I don’t think I could sit through it. The story looks really dull and the visuals are not exciting at all.

    And is it just me, or did I see Wall-E in there somewhere?

  • http://www.enigmation.de slowtiger

    Who in all world thinks that those characters have any appeal to anyone? This is just plain ugly. And don’t let me talk about the uninspired voices and the equally out-of-the-shelf story. Who wants to see this?

  • Terry

    I caught roughly half of this (got the showtimes wrong) of this at Fantastic Fest last year. For what it’s worth — it’s pretty good. It’s actually a little darker than the trailer implies and it has the charm of not being a comedy. It may not thrill to pieces, but it is worth a look.

  • Chuck R.

    Looks like an animated tribute to George Lucas —and Skywhales.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skywhales

  • http://www.suite101.com Dominic

    You’re being generous, Jerry. When I saw the film at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, audience members were heckling the film and adding MST3K-style commentary.

    To quote my review back in September: “Terra is so cliché-ridden and saccharine that it would make Pamela Anderson want to drop-kick a puppy.”

  • Sues

    The story and the structure of the trailer have shades of Delgo, but the design, animation, voice acting, writing, and pretty much everything else are ten times better than Delgo’s, even if that doesn’t say too much. The opening monologue was pretty badly written, but I was too distracted by trying to tell if it was voiced by the guy who played Kobayashi in The Usual Suspects to care. The plot actually intrigues me, and I like that they barely showed any battle footage.

    If Delgo hadn’t come out, I think I would have been more dismissive of this, but it actually doesn’t look half bad.

  • Artisticulated

    Was it the bad writing that kept the director from getting decent performances from the cast? (or should I say overcast?) Maybe all the actors were sleepy on their recording days. Maybe the director was directing via phone while on a sunny beach thousands of miles from the booth. The world may never know.

    I’m going to disassemble my iMac now and scrub its cache, monitor, and video card.

  • Russell H

    Apparently, this is a ripoff of TITAN A.D., NAUSICAA, INDEPENDENCE DAY, WALL-E and at least 3 of the STAR WARS films–am I missing anything else?

    And what scintillating dialogue: “Hang on, this could be a bumpy ride!” “It’s a trap!” Stale,cliched lines in the mouths of big-name, stunt-casted actors is still stale and cliched.

    Just think of all the classic animation that Lionsgate is sitting on, and this is what they choose to release.

  • JJ

    Any film that has the phrase “It has begun” is doomed. Enough with these nihilistic, “concept art-y” creature fests. Can anyone just tell a good story these days??

  • http://asteriskpix.blogspot.com Richard O’Connor

    Yeah, this is a clunker of a film -but doesn’t deserve a pile on by animation cognoscenti.

    First, it’s not a “Hollywood” film. It’s independently produced -and that’s why the “overcasting” (thumbs up, “artisticulated”). We all know that celeb voices gets press and press gets people watching. That’s why independent short animators will go for big name voice talent, too.

    Although it’s flawed on just about every level, there’s a charm to this film. Maybe it’s the charm of an 8 year old’s Super 8 Play-Dough stop motion, but in our era when cinematic sheen rules over cinematic soul it’s kind of nice.

    But, yeah, it’s not a good film -but, personally, I’d rather have 4-5 indy CG features like this produced every year than the “Hollywood” stuff most people like.

  • Rat

    “It’s a Trap!”

    LOL!

    Hey, isn’t Don LaFontaine dead?

  • Chris J

    “Animation cognoscenti.” I like that.

    If the story is as clich̩d as the posters above are making it out to be, it truly is a shame. So much drive and effort is needed to get something like this done Рwhy does the compromise always seem to be story?

    Because the “I” in “Independent” often stands for “Investors.” Investors want a return (rightfully so), and more often than not they demand that what they’re investing in be as close to something else as possible. Thus are born celebrity voice casting, cheesy dialogue, clichéd storytelling, etc., etc.

    Work for a place like Disney and get beat down by the machine, venture out on your own and get beat down by your investors. Sigh.

  • Blasko

    I’m excited about this. I’ve enjoyed the short film work of “Meni” Tsirbas, and I’m proud of him, Shane Acker, Nina Paley, Adam Elliot and other animation artists who are getting feature-length projects off the ground in 2009. They give me hope. I doubt Battle for Terra will be an all-time classic, but you can bet it’ll get my support come May.

  • Charles

    It could use some better character design.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    They should have named it “The Battle for Irakium” instead.

    Seriously, am I the only one to notice that the Human commander looks a lot like Dubya? He even has a hint of a Texan accent for Christ’s sake!

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    Yes, the trailer is painful but does anyone know what the budget is on something like that? And where the crew actually worked?

    It looks like someone who had a dream of making a movie actually got it done.

  • akira

    i love the ending of the titles:

    “AND LUKE WILSON”!!!!!!!

  • Raymond Shuman

    “The Ultimate 3-D Battle!” God, I hope so.

  • tgentry

    I think this is ill-conceived and looks poorly written. “It has begun.” Is there a less powerful cliche to kick off a battle than that? The basic idea is OK (the invasion story switched around), but you already know exactly how it’s going to end: human with a conscience realizes it’s a mistake and works together with the aliens to see that -and here’s the clincher- we can live together in harmony on this gigantic planet! This and Delgo seem to suffer from the same problem that video games often do: you’ve got non-writers telling the same cliched stories that have been stored inside their brains instead of looking for something fresh. Good starting point with the invasion twist, but the rest looks hackneyed.

  • Luke

    B’WAHAHAHA!

    Okay, first of all, do they not realize that “Terra” IS EARTH’S NAME?? Seems like an entire feature production couldn’t go from concept to execution without someone mentioning that.

    The cliches have already been attacked, but I must bring special attention to this one:

    “Who’s side are you on? Us? Or them?”

    Seriously? Seriously. Not only is that a stupid, boring thing to say, but it’s grammatically incorrect! “Ours? Or theirs?” Should be what he’s saying, given the first half of that sentence.

    As for the plot… Well, any film that could be described with the words “Titan AE Knockoff” is in all kinds of trouble.

    This looks MST3K-able, in a big way. I’ll probably rent it and invite over some sarcastic friends and their favorite brands of beer. It won’t be completely worthless.

  • Dave

    I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://markpudleiner.blogspot.com/ pudleiner

    The production was animated in a building in downtown L.A.
    Visited some friends working on the production, it was a nice set-up.
    Friendly people.

  • A Long Time Observer

    Wow, you guys are harsh.

    The trailer wasn’t that bad. And if it is independently done (the company MeniThingslooks like a small place), give the animators and creators some credit. Not everybody has the $$$ and big company backups to make the movie they’re striving for, but don’t bash them for trying. It’s their first full feature, you have to start somewhere. How about as animation peers you encourage them and give them advice on how to do better in future endeavors? I hope when it’s your turn to do a nationwide independent venture like this, you don’t get half the treatment this movie received.

    Besides, the trailer may be deceiving. How many good movies had lackluster trailers and/or bad marketing? Bolt comes to mind for me (great movie, lousy campaign).

    And Variety’s review in ’08 gave it some eyebrow-lifting commentary:
    http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117937081.html?categoryid=31&cs=1

  • chris robinson

    I’ll be the first to admit that I was pretty damn surprised when I was told that the jury chose Terra as the Best Animation Feature. At the same time, I agree with Richard. I didnt think it had a chance to win Best Feature, but there was something genuine about the film. Yeah, the design wasnt pretty, but it’s an independent film and frankly it didnt make me want to strangle school children the way most mainstream stuff does. It deserved to be shown. Simple as that.

    Certainly, I had other choices for the feature award in Ottawa, but hey, the jury did what they did. That’s the reality of a democratic process and maybe further proves to some nitwits that I don’t have ultimate power at the OIAF.

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tony Mines

    So, humanity decides to annihilate a whole planet filled with that baby off Eraserhead.
    I gotta stand by humanity on that one..

  • Yes

    Did I hear Admiral Ackbar in there?

  • skippy

    Elliot Cowan @ 4:00 am:

    implied sarcasm doesn’t come across in these talkbacks

  • Fred Cline

    Example of the typical comment in a good economy: “This film looks GAWDAWFUL!!!”

    Example of the typical comment in the current economy: “It’s not that bad, parts of actually look pretty good!”

  • http://www.thepra.com.au Hugh

    I agree with slow tiger, I could not find one character that appealed to me. Stiff 30-something white military males just aren’t interesting!

  • http://www.mon-alisa.com Alisa

    During Ottawa a bunch of us renamed it “Terra-ble.” My jaw hit the floor when it actually won.

  • http://www.enigmation.de slowtiger

    robcat2075 says:” does anyone know what the budget is on something like that? And where the crew actually worked?”

    I don’t believe that a small budget prevents anyone from having good ideas or find a good design style. Just get me a pencil and I can throw out 10 different styles which look more interesting than that. But I do believe that the choice of technique, in this case 3D-CGI, restricts the artists more than any budget limitations. The surface of all objects in that trailer looks awfully like the presets of any 3D package, as well as the lighting and the colours: cheap plastic.

    That’s why I always prefer 2D: faster to produce, easier to be original, more pleasing to look at. Of course an epic space battle with a delirious camera would be more difficult to do in 2D – but that’s a matter of priorities. ( – I’m not even sure about that one. What about a space battle in 2D? In b/w? Maybe even in cutouts? Of course this would need a lot more imagination …)

  • Frank

    In November, there’ll be a comedy version of the Earthman invader plot:

    http://www.cartoonbrew.com/feature-film/planet-51-trailer.html

    Not to mention that it seems to have a lot in common with James Cameron’s AVATAR.

  • John Whorfin

    This screened at Fantastic Fest in Austin last fall. I saw it.

    The animation and design work is very mixed (the character design is awful, but some of the creatures are cool), but the real problem is the script. It’s a laughably lame cavalcade of cliches. Just painful, eyerolling, seen-it-all-before-only-better, hit-you-over-the-head-with-the-obvious, can-see-everything-coming-from-a-mile-away, paint-by-numbers genre genericism. Ugh. Really disappointing overall, though it does have a (very small) handful of kinda cool moments and ideas. Not nearly enough to recommend it, though.

  • http://www.milowerx.com Mike Milo

    For all of what’s good and/or bad about it, it’s nice to see choices out there. New studios taking a chance and making new ground.

    Even if you don’t care for it, this film offers hope to the artists/writers out there who want to make films and have no chance of Pixar or Dreamworks making it. Who out there has a better idea? I’d like to think I do and I’m sure I’m not alone. I mean, it was actually funded. This just increases your chance that there’s someone out there willing to put up the cash to fund it! I don’t know about you but that gives me a big honkin’ woody!

    If it had been done better, there would probably be even more opportunity for us this year, but the huge hurdles it leaped to get there make it interesting to watch anyway. I’ll see this if only to support what was definitely a monumental task and a labor of love.

  • tom stazer

    A grueling trailer, with the sound on. My god, talk about dialogue generated by a machine. I prefer the approach of Planet 51 as far as i can see.

  • Daniel M.

    Why in the world does everyone always give these low-budget movies the benefit of the doubt and actually comment with thoughts like ‘I’ll check this one out!’, wheras after one big animation studio in particular releases a trailer its ripped apart from limb to limb by you guys?

    Its clear that the majority of people who actually take time to write negative comment after negative comment on this blog are only able to resent and criticize certain big studios and cant see through a logo that tells them automatically whether they like it or hate it before the movies even started. Pixar fanboys, I’m talking to you.

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    Skippy – it wasn’t sarcasm, dammit!

  • Oliver

    April Fool’s Day is still over a month away, Elliot.

  • Felix

    … this is very sad. Another gadawful 3-D animation… everyone in that movie looks plasticy, with dead, soulless eyes.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com Tom

    It is kind of a waste of a unique and excellent story idea. Too bad.

  • Chelsea

    I was also at Ottawa and I’ll have to admit hearing the plot line of “a reverse alien invasion story” sounded promising. However, it was really disappointing, if not trying invoke, and badly, Hollywood big budget movies. It’s a shame it won.

  • Joshua

    Im with Mike Milo, im going to see this just to offer my support to the smaller studios and give them the credit they deserve for making an effort, and i don’t believe it’ll will be as bad as most of these comments are making it out to be.
    This maybe won’t blow my brain out of the top of my head, but then i dont think this is made for 33 year old men like myself, im guessing its marketed towards the younger humans on this planet, and im sure they will find it more than fun to watch.
    And ill say this, it looks 1 million times more interesting than Clones Wars, you know, that CGI piece of trash made by the multi-billion dollar Lucas fellow.

  • Mr. Frank

    “It’s a trap!” – Holy Mon Calamari! :)

    Nice basic idea, but…
    Dialogues from the “80′s Dialogues Cookbook”, a ten of thousand times seen army guys character design, flying space whales, id4-shadow-scenes, bigger-eyes-less-emotions-aliens who look like futuristic versions of “Ants”, not a single character in this movie with a f*** single hair, no fantasy, no magic …

    12th principle of animation – Appeal: EPIC FAIL

  • Green Zebra

    Just saw the film at the SF Film Festival with my 9-year-old daughter and her friend. We all loved it. Story’s not that original, but it was beautifully done! The director explained in the Q and A that he designed the characters to fly and have no hair because he was on a very tight budget. I didn’t miss those elements at all. He also reassured a young viewer who asked if the director believed this would actually happen in the future, that he viewed it as a cautionary tale and not a doomsday prediction. The director wrote the script 15 years ago, and obviously is passionate about the project. Good for him to stick it out against all odds to get it made!