Terra

  • Directors: Aristomenis Tsirbas
  • Producers: Ryan Colucci, Keith Calder
  • Writers: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Story, Aristomenis Tsirbas
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure
  • Actors: Brian Cox, James Garner, Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, Dennis Quaid, Amanda Peet

On a distant planet, Mala and her best friend Senn, members of a sentient, tadpole-like species, skip class to joyride in wooden flying machines that resemble hang gliders. The pair soar above the dense cloud cover of their world, which teems with life, interacting with flying creatures similar to whales and rays. Following a dangerous incident in which Mala is nearly sucked into a “wind tunnel” (a large cave that draws in and blasts out strong gusts of air), Senn tells her that the two of them should cease their exploring and head back home. Mala pauses near the boundary of a group of statues which rise above the clouds and hold up their hands in a blocking pose; Senn claims that area is forbidden to them. A defiant Mala is about to investigate further when an enormous shadow sweeps across the clouds. She and Senn look up to discover that a huge object has appeared in the sky, so large that it almost completely blocks out the light of the sun. This sight finally prompts Mala to return with Senn.

In the treetop city that is Mala’s home, the people ponder the meaning of the object’s appearance, some claiming that it is a “new god”. When Mala herself asks her father Roven about it, he dismissively replies that it will be “whatever the Elders say it is”. The inquisitive Mala is not satisfied with this answer, and says that she could build a tool with which to better observe the object; however, Roven warns her that no inventions may be constructed without the approval of the Elders because that is the law. Mala declares that perhaps the law is wrong, and Roven orders her to her room. As Mala turns to leave, she observes Roven handling a woodcarving of himself, Mala, and an adult female, revealing that Roven is a widower, and that his wife is missed by both of them.

In her village, Mala joins in the victory celebration, learning that Senn survived the crash of his ship. Orin credits her with winning the battle, but Mala says it was Stanton’s actions that saved them all. Mala is relieved that her people have survived, but is also saddened by the plight of the humans; she dejectedly notes that without any food, water, or air, they can do nothing but wait to die. However, Orin reminds her that there are always other options. Some time later, Mala and Senn are seen flying above the clouds once more, as they were at the beginning of the film; this time they are joined by Stewart, piloting an Earth Force fighter, who offers Mala a salute before flying through a hatch in a massive dome similar to the oxygen tent Mala constructed for Stanton. It is here that the humans from the Ark have established a new colony, using Terra’s oxygen-producing plants and opening diplomatic relations with the native Terranians; Orin is seen meeting with President Chen. Stewart flies high above the budding colony, observing a statue that is still under construction: it is a memorial to his brother, who is being remembered as a true hero.

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