Apr 8, 2009
Beatnik (All reviews)
Terra e... has a great dystopic setting where people don’t give birth naturally anymore but are born from test tubes, where couples are randomly assigned babies to rear, where another breed of being, telepathic people called Mu, are persecuted and hunted down by esper interrogators.

Basically it’s a fascinating mix of Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, you name it and its influence is all over Terra e... with the groovy aesthetics of 1960's and 70's applied to cityscapes.

The Mu themselves are a fantastic concept, not merely generic super-humans, their telepathic powers are actually a method of balance and compensation to make up for a variety of deficiencies they suffer from ranging from deformities, asthma, blindness, etc.

Well, not that the movie remembers this plot point after a while, forgetful as it is with many details. We see a dude hilariously drop his arm on the ground to prove a point, and a few coughs here and there but for the most part the Mu look ready to roll and you realise the movie isnt going to bother to stick to its own rules.

It’s a movie of two halves, lots of meaty ideas, but speedy execution. Conflicts are brought up, but then are resolved quickly; and thus unrealistically. Though expecting realism in this story is moot, the ideas are totally out there into fringe-science territory, but the realism I'm talking about is narrative-based, the suspend-disbelief-o-meter. It’s off the charts with Terra e.., unless of course you know how to enjoy yourself with this movie and just accept it for what it is.

It’s a cliffs notes of dystopic literature animated for kids and teens. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s brilliant. There are also some classic Gundam-level slaps, as well as unintentional hilarity due to the animation limitations, but it’s not enough to detract from the core message of the story.

So yeah, there are plot holes galore and liberties are taken because of animation limitations, and also to condense the story into a two hour movie, but at the end of the day this is great food for thought for kids and teens. I'll take this hole-ridden cheese over modern day flashy anime that are more concerned with fan-service and panty shots than communicating worthwhile ideas to their audience.

No matter how many holes it has, it remains consistent throughout, whether in entertaining the viewer with backhands to kids' faces, or with character relationships and conflicts, which again should be commended, because there are far too many po-faced anime out there with pretensions of being seen as smart or deep but are actually made up of nothing but clichés, coincidences and deus ex machinas, preferring pointless cliff-hangers over carefully structured story development.

Terra e seems to revel in its throw-everything-into-the-sink nature with near glee. About an hour and ten minutes into the movie things go crazy with unrestrained violence and mayhem that makes you wonder how many kids got scarred for life watching it when it was released in 1980, especially during one particular sequence involving a woman screaming like a banshee while running into a fire.

Terra e... goes bonkers as if someone wrote it while on crack, and after filming it all, leant on the fast forward button on his remote and fell asleep. With people flying around space, babies evolving into fleet commanders and ships that look like they came out of the backside of a farm animal, Terra e... spirals into a tornado of insane and random stuff happening on screen just for the hell of it.

It’s a quirky one for the books and contains very trippy imagery. Most people won’t enjoy it, but some kooky viewers will dig it.