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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Battle for Terra’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


I saw this at the Tribeca Film Festival last year — in 2D, and it was titled simply Terra then — and I quite liked it. It flips some conventions of cinematic science fiction around: the humans are the aliens, for one, which is a refreshing change. That simple shift in perspective makes this more science-fictional than most movies labeled SF ever are. Humanity is not the “default,” not the norm, in the world of this movie — and when you remove the inherent chauvinism that seeing things only through your own eyes inevitably creates, you start to see that the things you think are so may not necessarily be so.

The aliens — that is, the aliens to our human eyes — are somewhat more alien than most cinematic SF usually bothers with, both biologically and culturally. That’s cool, too. Yeah, there’s a cute little wisecracking robot, but we can’t expect too much deviation from the norm, can we?

Battle for Terra opens in the U.S. on May 1; no U.K. release date has been announced yet.



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  • I was lucky enough to have seen the original short “Terra” shown at the 2006 Coachella Film Festival. Watching this, I was horrified that a big studio just ripped off the idea, but happily it turns out that this is the original director’s full length adaptation.

    The short seems to have disappeared off the web, but you can still find it on the 2006 Coachella Film Festival DVD (that is, if you could find the dvd). The original pulled no punches, showing the human ships sporting American flags, but I suppose you’d have a hard time getting a distributor for that version in the States.

  • markyd

    I’ll take your word for it, because the trailer makes it look awful.
    Cliches drive me crazy more than ever nowadays, and when I hear someone say “It’s going to be a bumpy ride” I pretty much check out right there.
    Plus, I’m not too fond of the animation style. Just looks “blah” to me.
    Hopefully, I’m wrong.

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