In this animated alien saga, roving humans are the heavies

In "Battle for Terra 3D," we meet the enemy aliens, and they are us.

This offbeat, independent animated offering - not Pixar, not DreamWorks, and not half bad - takes place on a planet full of peaceful creatures suddenly invaded by our warlike race.

We've apparently destroyed our own planet and a few others as well, and are now fixed on this tranquil green orb as a potential new home.

We arrive in a gigantic mother ship and send scout planes below to scan the natives and their defenses, abducting the odd inhabitant for study.

Some humans advocate peaceful withdrawal, but the general (Brian Cox) who controls the military is tired of being an intergallactic hobo and wants to provoke a war to pave the way for permanent settlement.

The chief obstacle to this plan is one of his own soldiers (Luke Wilson), who crashes on the planet and is nursed back to health by a compassionate native (Evan Rachel Wood) who wants to find her father (Dennis Quaid), kidnapped and aboard the mother ship.

"Battle for Terra," which should be seen in 3D, is best suited for young teens, as it may be a little heavy for the little ones. It's a tad violent, and more complex than usual - there are sinister elements to the apparently peaceful society, and we humans turn out to be not as vile as we first appear.

That sophistication does not extend to the dialogue, which is on the stiff side, and count on Luke Wilson to accentuate the stiffness in any given line.

Yet the movie is divertingly different, distinctive - somewhere between Pacific Rim animation and cuddly creature Disney, with a niche for itself somewhere in the middle. *

Produced by Ke*th Calder, Jess*ca Wu, Dane Allan Sm*th, Ryan Colucc*, d*rected by Ar*stomen*s Ts*rbas, wr*tten by Evan Sp*l*otopoulos, mus*c by Abel Korzen*owsk*, d*str*buted by Roads*de Attract*ons.


Battle for Terra

Directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas. With Brian Cox, James Garner, Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, Amanda Peet, Chris Evans, Luke Wilson, David Cross, Danny Glover, Dennis Quaid. Distributed by Roadside Atrractions.

Running time: 1 hours, 25 minutes.

Parent's guide: PG (for sequences of sci-fi action violence and some thematic elements).