Photos and Video
This star-studded, eye-popping CGI feature tackles both social and environmental issues in a way that's still fun and exciting. Earth has been destroyed in a cataclysmic civil war and all that remains is a mass of gyrating concentric circles called the Ark. After traveling for many generations, the humans finally find a world with the necessary biological components for survival- Terra. Terra is a beautiful Eden where the apartment buildings are giant mushrooms and whales swim through the clouds. The planet, however, is already inhabited by a peaceful species know as the Terrians, one of whom is the rebellious teenager Mala (Evan Rachel Wood). Mala stumbles on one of the human invaders, Lt. Stanton (Luke Wilson), after his recon mission to the planet's surface goes awry. The two form a unique interplanetary bond, but it will be tested when the maniacal General Hemmer forces a military coup on the Ark in order to invade Terra and destroy the Terrians. With an eye toward the personal struggles that war evokes, director Aristomenis Tsirbas (whose short film The Freak played at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2003) tells the story of Terra with an admirable degree of complexity, but it's a complexity that can nonetheless be grasped by children. The heart of the story is the diametric opposition of the Terrians and humans. Humans breathe oxygen while the Terrians breathe helium. When both face extinction at the other's hands, Stanton and Mala, whose shared understanding has put them between two worlds, will be forced to choose between their ideals and their loyalties. The film not only gives children an introduction to the politics of war-it also serves as a spirited lesson in environmental responsibility.
Director's Statement Collapse
Looking back, searching for that single moment of inspiration, I realize it was inevitable that my first film would be a reverse alien invasion. Ever since I can remember, I've always loved alien invasion films. It was only after watching some of them, like the original War of the Worlds, for the 20th time that I realized I wanted more from them. The aliens' motives always seemed to be either unclear or evil. None of the films seemed to fully explore all the nuances of the battle of survival between species. This sense of wanting haunted me throughout my adolescence and then well into my adulthood. When I finally had a chance to make this film, I realized I had an opportunity to not only tell a reverse alien invasion story, but to try to show both sides of the invasion.
In Terra, the humans attack, but we realize that they are attacking out of desperation. General Hemmer, the Earthforce leader, while power-hungry, is hungrier for something more noble: A new home for his almost extinct race. And while the Terrians live harmoniously together, only their leader, Doron, and his advisors, know what price they paid for that peace. Science fiction has always had the luxury of being a medium where we can express topical issues freely. Terra, always intended as allegory, has allowed me to explore this duality of invader and invaded. But more importantly, I hope that it has allowed the audience to explore their own inner duality. What we fear most in others, is what we fear within ourselves.
Film Information Collapse
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Evan Rachel Wood, Luke Wilson, Brian Cox, David Cross, Chris Evans, Justin Long
Screenwriters Evan Spiliotopoulos, Aristomenis Tsirbas
Producers Keith Caider, Jessica Wu, Dane Smith
About the Director(s)Collapse
Aristomenis Tsirbas (b. Montreal, Canada) majored in film production at Concordia University. After several years working as a graphic designer and film editor, "Meni" moved to Los Angeles to work on visual effects. His first major projects were on Titanic and national advertising spots for Nike, 7-Up, and Coca-Cola. He then graduated to visual and digital effects supervisor for such projects as A Wrinkle in Time and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Meni made a string of highly successful animated shorts, including Ray Tracey in Full Tilt, Mech Warrior: Vengeance, and the acclaimed The Freak that won more than a dozen awards.