Terra Willy is a family adventure, coming-of-age story, and buddy film all in one. Willy (Landen Beattie) is your average boy going through space with his parents. During their journey, their spaceship enters an asteroid field. The force field shield around it gives out, and the starfaring vehicle is destroyed. Willy is then separated from his parents as his escape pod blasts off the opposite way of theirs. Willy ends up on an unknown planet, alone, so he thinks. A bot comes out of the escape pod and introduces himself to Willy as a survival bot named Buck (Jason Anthony). From here on out, the two explore the unfamiliar terrain of the planet and encounter all types of creatures that will put their survival skills to the test.
The first thing that stood out to me about Terra Willy is its animation. It has the look of something between DreamWorks Animation and Pixar; think The Croods mixed with Wall-E. The animation has a smooth look to it and is quite impressive given the film has a much lower budget than either of the two previously mentioned movies. The settings and the creatures inhabiting this unexplored planet all look different, as you would expect if you did some exploration yourself.
I compare watching an animated film with reading a comic book. If a comic book has rough art, it is harder for me to get into the story. The same goes for the animation. Luckily, Terra Willy does not have that problem. However, I did notice that there are times when the mouths of the characters did not match the dialogue. I believe this is due to the film being translated from another language. If that is the case, then consider it solved.
“…the two explore the unfamiliar terrain of the planet…that will put their survival skills to the test.”
I did have some issues with the story. I felt like the plot of Willy wanting to find his parents and vice versa was put on the back burner. It felt like once Willy made friends with Buck, it was almost as though he had forgotten that he was away from his parents. It is only mentioned a couple of times from the moment the event happens to the end of the film that he misses his parents or wants to find them.
On the other hand, since this is a film more geared toward children, they may look past this issue and just like the subplot of exploration and adventure. What I did enjoy about the story is that it is set over a period of ten months, and when Willy is shown again after all that time has passed, he is now a Tarzan-like character who knows the land very well. It is a smart idea on the writers’ part to add this to the story. It shows character development in a short amount of time.
Terra Willy brings a bit of everything to the table. It has some good-looking animation, nods to iconic sci-fi franchises, plus a nice balance of comedy and emotion. It has everything that makes for a good family film.
"…brings a bit of everything to the table."