Battle for Terra the Next Delgo?

Okay, to compare Battle for Terra to Delgo, the biggest box office flop of all time, is unfair. Unlike Delgo, Battle for Terra has a major distributor (Lionsgate), has pretty good special effects and, most importantly, a marketing campaign. I just received my first marketing pitch today.

Unfortunately, the Battle for Terra movie trailer leaves little to be desired. You can watch it here:

The movie is about an alien race that finds themselves the target of another race that wants to inhabit their planet: humans. The humans, who have been reduced to Battlestar Galactica-type numbers, are running out of options and, being the technologically advanced civilization, decide to invade. However, their invasion will amount to genocide – and not all of the humans are on board with the plan.

Battle for Terra does not look like a very good movie. The trailer is boring and lacks the life and enthusiasm that one would expect from a film like this. It’s an animated film, which it’s problematic: the movie seems way too serious to have the look and feel of a cartoon. If this had the visual effects of Final Fantasy, it would make more sense, but instead it appears to have family friendly graphics with a serious, adult plot. What parent would want to take their kid to this when they could wait until November to see Planet 51, a movie with a similar but much lighter premise (humans land on an alien planet).

Furthermore, it isn’t clear who the good guys here. The humans are on the verge of committing genocide, and from the trailer it looks like they carry through with their attack. While the aliens appear to be the protagonists, there are also humans that question the invasion. Basically, who do we root for?

On a basic level, the Battle for Terra movie trailer lacks the entertainment value that animated movies need to draw audiences into theaters. On a deeper level, the premise itself is problematic. Lionsgate doesn’t have any experience distributing a movie such as this, and one wonders why the film is being released wide on May 1st. Just wait a week for Star Trek, people.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Movie Trailers
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  • jehezza

    who says you need to be told by the film whom to root for? I find stories more interesting when they don’t preach to me, and let me decide whom I’m rooting for. a pure good vs pure evil race story is just cheap, and shallow.

    that said…i have to say that there appears to be nothing original about the story as it appears in the trailer…the dialogue heard in it is so hackneyed it made me cringe. “it’s a trap!” “hold tight…this could be a bumpy ride” “whose side are you on…us…or them? Decide.” I kept trying to figure out whether this was serious or a parody. XD Every single scene in it was virtually the same as one or more I’ve seen elsewhere.

    Animation looks ‘eh’. The colours in particular often seem lacklustre and cast in dull scales of grey or uninteresting tones. Worse, it lacks depth or much texture. Everyone looks made of plastic or rubber or…something like that.

    With all the money they’re shelling out for the animation not to mention the advertising, couldn’t they have spent a few more bucks to base it on a better-written script? I’ve read MUCH better stuff hundreds of times for free, online, by amateur writers who weren’t getting paid a penny. Considering they usually put the best scenes and lines into the trailer this doesn’t bode well.

  • Hi Jehezza,

    Thanks for the comment. You’re right that a story doesn’t need to tell us who to root for… however, in this case, I think that’s a bit more necessary. A cheap animated film is not the venue for a deeper “Battlestar Galactica” outlook on things, and I have to assume that the actual movie is going to be more clear cut than the trailer is.

    Good breakdown on the other wrong things with this trailer/movie.

  • Frank

    WTF “who to root for”? You’re a human ain’t ya?

    To me the trailer seemed pretty clear enough that it was going to paint the bulk of humanity as the bad guys. After decades of politically slanted animation, this one is no surprise.

    Spoiler available at