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.