(On Cable TV, October 2013) One of the most interesting motifs in animation movies aimed at kids nowadays is the way they often flip over familiar premises as starting points. In Escape from Planet Earth, this means following the aliens as they are kidnapped and held in Area 51 by a power-mad human. It’s not that original (there are shades of Planet 51 and Paul at times), but it’s not uninteresting either. Unfortunately, this about as original as Escape from Planet Earth ever becomes, as much of the film is bright, colorful and amiable but also thin and by-the-numbers. It doesn’t have enough plot to make it to 90 minutes, and while the rhythm of the film moves at a decent pace, there are few surprises to be found. Produced by Vancouver’s Rainmaker Entertainment, it’s a noticeable notch below state-of-the-art animation, but the technical details are still pretty good for a lower-budgeted animation feature film. Director Cal Brunker has designed the film around the usual frantic action sequences that now seem de rigueur for animated films, and the result is easy to watch. Escape from Planet Earth may be entirely average, but the beauty of average animated family comedies is that they’re still enjoyable for the entire family, and that’s why it’s easy to go easy on the film: who wants to be a killjoy for such a genial effort? There may not be any deep messages here, but now that it’s available on Cable TV and not only at 3D-theater prices, it’s good enough, and a solid choice to keep the kids busy whenever it plays.