While this could be seen as an animated film targeted at kids, given the rather cute character designs of the alien species, the Terrians, the central dilemma here was squarely aimed at the adults, in presenting compelling arguments for what the alien and human characters are fighting for, and drawing you out to root for one or the other.
We know how destructive the human race is, and the film takes on this environmental message as well that we're on target to strip our planet of its resources and ultimately killing it, thus pushing our descendants into the far depths of space in looking for an alternative planet to take over, meanwhile living in an artificial space station that's about to fall apart.
As for the aliens, you're likely be drawn by their peace loving and docile ways, already isolated in their propensity for warfare, but that doesn't mean that they'll take colonization, or total annihilation, lying down. We're constantly, throughout the film, made to think about how if push comes to shove, which side will we be on, and whether a win-win situation could result. To add to the complexity, there's a war-mongering general ready to do what it takes to ensure that the human race succeeds, thus firing the first salvo of aggression.
However, the more adult like moments gave way in the last act for the filmmakers to show off their animation techniques, opting for an Independence Day-like big-bang action sequence where you throw just about everything onto the screen. If dog-fights in outer space are your cup of tea, then this film would not disappoint when you finally get there. Otherwise you'd wonder why so much screen time got devoted to cliched set action pieces which don't fully exploit its 3D qualities, and opted to put aside its relative mature and engaging premise.
Then again, this animated feature may have tried to find common ground between adults and kids, and so to a certain degree, a compromise mid-way point had to be sought. Nonetheless Battle for Terra still boasts of a relatively strong storyline (despite some reservations about its initial dabbling into religion), coupled with some clean and detailed animation, and a stellar voice cast to boot, with the likes of Luke Wilson, Danny Glover, Mark Hamill, Chris Evans, Justin Long, Amanda Peet, Dennis Quaid, Brian Cox and Evan Rachel Wood in the lead role as Terrian alien Mala.
You can read my review of Battle For Terra at movieXclusive.com by clicking on the logo below.