What You Need To Know:
The art direction in BATTLE FOR TERRA is terrific. The animation is smooth and compelling. The downside is that the humans are less well designed. Depicting humans realistically is always a struggle in animation. There is an all star cast providing voices. BATTLE FOR TERRA has positive themes of integrity, sacrifice and desiring to live in harmony with one another. Mixed in the story, however, are some pagan ideas, including an environmentalist theme. Young children may be disturbed by the cartoon violence, especially when Mala’s father is killed. This content warrants caution and discernment.
(BB, C, PaPa, E, L, VV, N, MM) Strong moral worldview of integrity and redemptive sacrifice, mixed with pagan references to multiple gods and an environmentalist message; one obscenity and one profanity; multiple dogfights with star ships, characters shoot at one another with laser guns, character gives up his life by intentionally crashing into large spaceship, multiple characters are killed, and other planes crash and explode, presumably killing pilots; no sexual content; no nudity but nude male human character is shown from side on operating table; no alcohol; no smoking; and, strong miscellaneous immorality includes deception, planning genocide, leaders lack integrity.
BATTLE FOR TERRA is an epic story of a peaceful race on alien planet Terra that is invaded by humans attempting to find a new home since their home planet was destroyed. As the humans land and abduct Terranians, Jim, a human pilot, crashes and is rescued by Mala, an alien teen. In return for repairing his ship, Jim agrees to take Mala to the mothership, which is in orbit above the planet, in hopes of rescuing her father who was abducted.
The plans go awry and it is discovered that the humans plan to replace the air with oxygen, which is toxic to the Terranians. While on the mothership, the rogue General intent on wiping out the aliens honors Jim as a hero and asks him to lead the charge to destroy the aliens.
Not all the Earthlings want to kill the aliens, including the President and the Council, who hope there is some other way for them to co-exist. The General takes command of the “country” and starts the invasion.
Meanwhile, Mala’s father is killed when an air pressure chamber is opened. Mala escapes and returns to her home planet where it is discovered that their council has access to planes and weapons from an earlier time. They state that it’s good to live in peace, but when attacked, a people must fight back. They prepare for war.
BATTLE FOR TERRA is a well-made independent animated movie. While the animation industry has traditionally been dominated by Pixar and Disney, there are increasing non-major studio movies being released.
The art direction is terrific as the aliens are best described as “flying fish” but there is much emotion in their faces. Their world is natural and well designed. The animation is smooth and compelling. The downside is that the humans are less well designed, though depicting humans are always the struggle in animation.
The story is well done, but it becomes didactic at times and the “moral of the story” is never far under the surface. An all-star cast provides the voices. The music is also well done.
BATTLE FOR TERRA has themes of integrity, sacrifice and desiring to live in harmony with one another. An ultimate sacrifice preserves the life of the aliens and the humans and paves the way for them to live together in peace.
Mixed in this story, however, are some pagan ideas – the Terranians at first say the humans are a “new god” for them to worship. There is also a strong environmental theme. In this story, Earth has been destroyed first by exhausting natural resources and then the humans migrating to Venus and Mercury. There, a nuclear war ensued, destroying all the planets, including Earth. That left a remnant of humans to find a new planet on which to live. Though the story deals with life and death as well as the future of humans, there is no mention of God.
Young children may be disturbed by the cartoon violence, especially when Mala’s father is killed. The themes warrant caution and discernment. For an examination of this theme of other beings from a Christian perspective, readers may want to pick up the Space Trilogy by Narnia author C.S. Lewis.