Monday, December 14

Cinema Thirst: Planet 51 (2009) Review

Director:(s) Jorge Blanco, Javier Adad, Marcos Martinez
Producer:(s) Ignacio Perez Dolset, Guy Colins
Rating: PG
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Date: November 14, 2009

Planet 51 (originally known as Planet One) is a Spanish-made animated film that tells the story of a planet full of aliens that live in a 1950's era no different from mankind. Fear of attack from aliens known as "humans" is a constant fear and one day, an American astronaut named Charles Baker (played by Dwayne Johnson) lands his ship on their planet and becomes fugitive number one. It's a very interesting reverse of the typical man-vs-alien subgenre of films.

The film plays out a lot like an animated version of Steven Spielberg's E.T. as our alien hero tries to save the astronaut and avoid the constant threat of General Grawl, another alien who wants to capture Charles and experiment on his brain.

As you would expect from a children's movie (especially an animated one) the movie is full of humor and a light-hearted script but sadly, a lot of the jokes don't work all that well. I think I only laughed maybe twice during the whole thing but again, I'm not a little kid. I'm sure that anyone under the age of 12 will be in awe as they stare at the very high quality animation which is actually on par with the type of animation that Dreamworks Animation and Pixar create. That's definitely saying something because the company behind this movie is relatively unknown outside of Spain.

The story doesn't insult the audience's intelligence and is actually quite well written but some of the annoying lines do. I found myself wanting to actually see some of the secondary characters die because I just wanted to be rid of their annoyance. One thing that really got to me is how scared Charles was but then all of a sudden he warms up to the alien character and starts acting like a big shot. The change was way too sudden and didn't play out well at all.

I know this review isn't very much but to be honest, Planet 51 just didn't leave an impression on me like other animated films have and it's very passable. There is a reason this movie is not very well known and it's because of it's weak story and sometimes annoying characters but if you're just going in the theater to see a good kid's movie, you'll enjoy this. You would still be better off seeing Astro Boy or any of the other animated movies out right now instead.


12/14/09 Colton West

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