Can I express how much I hate “Escape From Planet Earth” in one post?
My daughter’s preschool had a staff development today and thus, we had three options for films showing in theaters: “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” “Jack, the Giant Slayer,” and “Escape From Planet Earth.” I picked the movie with no male in the title with the hope of seeing strong female characters. Also, my daughter is 3, so “Escape” is supposedly the best movie for her age group. This is my issue with the MPAA, by the way. This movie is terrible for kids. Note to MPAA: If you are going to make a movie about a desperate, bitter working woman vs a heroic, fulfilled stay-at-home mom, warn us. You could do what I do and slap on an ‘S’ for stereotyping.
First things first. The protagonists of “Escape” are two brothers. That’s right, brothers.
If that’s not enough of a male paradigm for you, one brother has a son, Kip.
Kip rescues his father at the end of the movie. “Escape,” like so many animated movies for kids, is a father-son story.
The evil guy of the movie, the one who wants to destroy the universe, is of course, also, a guy.
The possy of aliens that surround him include just one Minority Feisty, the one-eyed Lo.
I loved Lo, and I wish this had been her movie. There was a group of triplet aliens who didn’t speak for most of the movie. I thought they might be mute females. But, at the end of the movie, when they rescue the brothers, they talk. All three are male. We spend most of “Escape” in the company of all of these aliens and the evil guy.
OK, want to know about 3 more girl parts? After multiple characters and scenes, the first female speaking part enters into the movie. She’s our protagonist’s boss. Cool right? Except turns out Lena Thackleman is a bitter shrew. She’s furiously resentful of the central Minority Feisty, Kira Supernova, who is Gary’s wife and Kip’s mom (that’s right, wife and mom.) Kira left her job to be a stay-at-home mom where she is fulfilled and happy.
In spite of her power position, Lena is desperate, unhappy, and alone. To make matters worse for her, Lena has fallen in love with the movie’s villain who she met on-line dating. The villain doesn’t even love her, he’s using her to get material he needs to blow up the universe. How is that for humiliating? Just to rub it in, when Kira punches Lena out, she says triumphantly: “Just because a chick had a baby, doesn’t mean she can’t belt it out.” GAG. Is there anything worse than a sexist narrative marketed as a feminist one? Oh yeah, a sexist narrative marketed as a feminist one in a movie for kids.
Sexist lines continue throughout. When Kira is carrying her husband, flying through the air with her rocket boots, he says: “I feel emasculated.” Why screw up a cool scene like that? One reason I liked “Wreck-It, Ralph” is because when female characters showed their skill, they were admired by the male characters. It’s crucial to show kids that females acting strong is cool and beautiful. “Escape” communicates the opposite.
When guards are watching over Kira and Kip, one says: “A lady and a kid? What is this, daycare?” Hollywood, why put sexist jokes in your movies for children? How are girls supposed to feel when they see women laughed at for being weak and ineffectual? if it happened once in a while, that would be one thing, but its a dominating, repetitive theme in children’s movies.
Just to conclude, the final Minority Feisty is the sex-pot news reporter in love with one of the brothers. Guess who plays her? Sofia Vergara. Can you see the part now? Making it worse, if possible, the movie ends with her wedding. Isn’t that happy?
Watching “Escape From Planet Earth,” I felt like I was watching some kind of sick parody of my blog, like someone was making a joke about what a sexist movie made for kids would really look like. I can’t believe Hollywood put out this awful propaganda. Who green-lighted this? Who could possibly think these caricatured gender stereotypes are good for little kids?
Reel Girl rates “Escape From Planet Earth” ***SSS***