This animated film takes place on a completely different planet, a place of peace and harmony. The indigenous life forms live together with respect for all life. That is a conscious choice the society has made, and it is accepted by all.
Enter the earthlings, having destroyed not one but three planets (venus, earth and mars), and brought themselves to the brink of extinction. The earthlings are militarists for the most part, and the military faction is about to assert itself here.
The alien invasion of Terra begins cryptically, for the Terrans, as many are abducted by these fast moving brightly lit little ships. Their peaceful society has no defenses against the earthlings’ fighter craft — or does it?
Evan Rachel Wood, one of my favorite actresses working today (see Across the Universe), is the Terran who makes first contact with Luke Wilson’s character. She actually sets up his ship for a crash, and it does crash. She then saves him, and she hides him from her own society.
The little robot assigned to assist the earth pilot becomes integral to the story here. The robot is neutral, in that it has no bias toward militarism or peace. This will become an important plot device shortly.
The two species are locked in a seemingly intractable conflict. The atmosphere of Terra has no oxygen. The Terrans cannot breathe oxygen. The earthlings wish to “terra-form” the new planet so that they may conquer it and live there, whether or not the indigenous life dies in the process.
This central conflict must be resolved as the earthling’s ship is quickly running out of oxygen. This pressure point allows the earthling general to force the civilian leadership out of power in a coup d’ tat.
The militarists vs. the pacifists who are forced to fight — that is the essence of Battle For Terra.
The militarist mindset and view is shown in its narrow focus on domination, aggression, violent responses to any and all challenges. As militarism and aggression cause their own problems and cannot solve all problems (suppose you lose?), this theme, and the reality which inspires it, must be explored. People must think about these issues as the actual earth is poised to spiral out of control and down a rat hole of endless war and suffering.