Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Battle for Terra

In terms of visual treats The Battle for Terra is the best of the bunch experienced to date. From my experience so far the out of screen at you or over you effects are spaced whereas in this film there is a regular bombardment in a film which attempts to cover some of the great issues of our time and the next 100 years or so. Terra is computer animated film first released in 2007 and where the voices include those of Brian Cox and Dennis Quaid. Because the film is computer animated it was possible to reshoot in its entirety using the second camera necessary to create the full 3D effects and therefore having gone to this expense the makers ensured that their effort were worthwhile.

The film has merit as a 2D feature because of its themes. Terra has become a planet at peace and in harmony with nature. The Terrian heroine is Marla, a young headstrong and creative young woman constantly challenging the authority and restrictions imposed by the elders. She is unaware why the controls and limitations are there assuming as all young do that life revolves around their generation. Everything changes when the planet is approached by a giant ark ship which sends craft down to the surface of the planet to capture a selection of the indigenous creatures. Marla who in defiance of her father and the elders has made a telescope to observe what is happening in the sky returns to her community to see her father seized.

Fired up she fights of a pursuing craft forcing it to crash and reveal that the pilot is an oxygen breathing human accompanied by an intelligent robot. The robot is able to communicate and also able to inject the human language into her brain so she can communicate with the pilot when he recovers. To achieve this and prevent him dying the robot advises the young Terrian how to create an oxygen environment.

A young and conventional friend discovers the situation and reports to his superiors who come in force and armed to recover the human but the trio of human, Terrian and Robot manage to escape and discover a secret place which reveals that conflict and war had once been part of the Terrian history. Having saved him the human carries out an undertaking to return to ark ship to find and release her father.

We learn that because the population of earth expanded beyond its natural resources it had expanded to the two closest planets who in time had demanded and then fought for independence with all three worlds being destroyed. Only the great Ark ship had survived and BattleStar Gallactica style then travelled the universe in search of a planet where they could breathe, build and prosper. Several generations had passed and the ship was beginning to break up and the oxygen creating machines break down. The situation was becoming desperate. The senior military commander had devised a plan to make Terra their home creating oxygen which will in turn destroy the indeginous people. The Military commander seizes power from the civilian government when they refuse to adopt genocide to achieve their own survival.

The human enables Mala to escape back to her planet after she is captured having witnessed her father die. The General has designed a planet transformer which will create an oxygen chain reaction process which buries into the planet core and which he and others control from a centre part of the huge device. He insists that the human and his brother are part of the space fighters who will protect the device until it becomes fully operational and effective.

The Terrians are able to mobilize all the glider type fighter craft they have kept hidden for centuries in an effort to attack and prevent the Human device from working. Mala is a leading member of this force with the sky and therefore screen filled with laser cannon fire and explosions. Despite this they are ineffective against the device machine which is reading the point of chain reaction. Fortunately the human realises that what is happening is morally wrong sacrifices his life by taking the machine into the device and destroying it.

There is also an epilogue in which the atmosphere of the plant has returned to normal and the Terrains are helping the humans to created a vast doomed city in which they can breathe and live in harmony with their neighbours. In the middle of the city a giant statue is being created to the human who sacrifices himself. The interesting aspect is that the film can be watched without glasses as 2D although there is some doubling effect. It was also released with the minimum of advertising and although now released for home DVD as well as Channel release and 3 D systems it has todate yielded only the lower end of the box office records scale. Yet I rate this film second only to my final and top film of those covered.

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