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DVD Review: Planet 51

March 9, 2010

Planet 51 – An Alliance Films Release

http://www.sonypictures.com/sonywonder/planet51/

DVD Release Date: March 6th, 2010

Rated G for violence, and frightening scenes.

Running time: 97 minutes

Jorge Blanco (dir.)

Javier Abad (co-dir.)

Marcos Martinez (co-dir.)

Joe Stillman (writer)

James Seymore Brett (music)

Dwayne Johnson as Captain Charles T. Baker

Seann William Scott as Skiff

Jessica Biel as Neera

Justin Long as Lem

Gary Oldman as General Grawl

John Cleese as Professor Kipple

© 2010 Remstar. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Our reviews below:

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Planet 51 DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

Planet 51 is a new animated comedy. No wait, it’s animated, that’s for sure. Is it a comedy? Yes, in the sense that it tries to make us laugh. But I can’t call it a comedy, because I didn’t actually laugh. Will kids like it? Sure. But for older kids and adults, it’s pretty lame.

It’s the story of a dumb human astronaut who lands on a planet that is inhabited by strange green aliens, who inexplicably speak English. But to them, he’s the alien! Brilliant premise, huh? Oh yeah, and the aliens spend their time listening to records from the 1950’s and ‘60’s. This is a fact that I actually didn’t mind, because if you close your eyes as they blare on the soundtrack, you can just pretend that you’re actually watching a good period piece.

The jokes are lazy and crude, and the timing is pretty sloppy. There is ample discussion of, I kid you not, plugging a certain orifice with a cork. I’m sure I’m not the only one that duly noted every time the aliens had their backs to the screen that they indeed have nowhere to stick the said cork.

Am I the only one that thought the weird grey alien dog with the strange tongue, no eyes and acid urine, was just plain creepy? Rover the robot, who does nothing more than just rip-off WALL•E, is kinda cute, but really nowhere near as adorable as WALL•E. When the film tries its hand at pondering deep thoughts, it just seems sort of cynical.

The voice acting is average at best, and a talent like John Cleese is completely wasted. Though I must say that Jessica Biel’s wooden voice acting is marginally better than in her shrill performance in the schlocky Valentine’s Day.

In an age of CGI masterpieces like Up, and even the not great, but good Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Planet 51 really falls flat. Despite good intentions and some nice animation, the film ultimately plays like a pile of rocks that Rover would hoard into his compartment, and the script is like a pile of litter that WALL•E would recycle in his compactor.

The DVD includes games, exteneded scenes, and a bunch of featurettes.

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Planet 51 DVD Review By Erin V.

** (out of 4)

In terms of films that are animated these days, such a high bar has been set by the major studios that – especially last year, a film like Planet 51 couldn’t even come close.

The story is an ok premise that could have gone somewhere, but was not executed into anything special. Teenager Lem, who lives on ‘Planet 51’, has his world turned upside down when an ‘alien’ spaceship lands to plant the American flag. It’s Astronaut Chuck Baker, who to the audience looks like a weird cross between some sort of guy for an animated toothpaste ad and Mr. Clean, but to the aliens is a big scary monster that has a laser in his helmet and will turn them all to zombies. Oh yeah, and he’s voiced by Dwayne Johnson. Kind of strange really.

Anyway, the best parts of this movie actually come from the WALL•E copy robot who shovels rocks (not trash – you see? It’s different!), into his little chest compartment. This is mostly due to the fact that he doesn’t have the capacity to say any badly written dialogue, and is the most visually appealing character. Actually, he’s the only thing in this movie that’s kind of cute.

I guess kids are going to have fun with this film, but there are so many better films to watch that they’d also probably really enjoy. Still, if you have a 7 or 8 year old having a birthday party, this is worth renting for a bunch of hyper kids.

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Planet 51 DVD Review By Nicole

**1/2 ([*** for it’s intended audience of 4-12] out of 4)

Parodying the idea of alien invasion, Planet 51 tells a story of what happens when a human visits another inhabited planet. When dimwitted astronaut Charles T. Baker visits Planet 51, a world that is still in our late 1950’s-early 1960’s era, the locals think Baker is a menace that will turn them into zombies. But one of the residents, a teenager named Lem, who works at the local planetarium, befriends Baker. So when military dictator General Grawl and Professor Kipple try to destroy Baker, it is up to Lem and his friends to get the astronaut back home safely.

This movie could have been really clever and original. Instead, it simply recycles plots and characters from other films For example, Baker’s pet robot Rover, while incredibly appealing, is nothing more than a blatant ripoff of WALL•E. And the humour, which often contains anal probe jokes, is absurd when the aliens don’t even need pants.

However, I am not the target audience for this film. When I saw it in theatres, young viewers in the 6-10 range seemed to love the movie. Personally, I found it entertaining enough for adults, and great for young children. If you are a parent or grandparent with young children, then Planet 51 is worth adding to your collection.

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Planet 51 DVD Review By Maureen

** (out of 4)

The odd plastic looking green creatures that live on Planet 51 are living a happy 1950’s America meets the Jetsons existence until an unexpected visitor turns their world upside down. Dwayne Johnson voices the arrogant blond astronaut who lands on Planet 51 hoping to quickly plant a flag and return to earth.

The nod to 1950’s America in a futuristic kind of way is mildly amusing and the 50’s type of music fun to listen to. However the dialogue and action in the movie are geared mainly to the 6 to 9 year boy demographic. For the rest of us, the jokes fall flat and the storyline predictable. There are a few cute moments in Planet 51 thanks to a WALL•E type robot called Rover. The similarities to other movies is none too subtle. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of originality or cute appeal to Planet 51.

Planet 51 is the kind of DVD you can put on for kids in the 6 to 9 age range and it will keep them entertained for an hour and a half. If that’s what you are looking for, than go ahead and rent it.

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Planet 51 DVD Review By Tony

*1/2 (out of 4)

No doubt Ilion Studio is the pride of Spain. With an in-house crew of hundreds they are clearly competent in the production of animation that can look good. Too bad that their first international feature Planet 51 is so uninspired that its appeal should be limited to the single-digit age group. It is interesting how trailers can sometimes be misleading. Another film we recently saw, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, was also not so good, but turned out to be somewhat better than the trailer suggested, redeemed by its clever spoof of disaster films in the last act. Compared to its trailer however, Planet 51 was disappointing from beginning to end, totally derivative and predictable at best and at worst just dumb. What might have been a decent premise of a human astronaut striking fear among the somewhat humanoid inhabitants of a 1950s suburban style planet is largely wasted. For example, the astronaut is a vain moron, and his robotic rover is an obvious Wall-E derivative, though it admittedly has a bit of canine charm with its wagging antenna. I haven’t seen so many lame gags since Old Dogs. Save this one for grade-school parties if you insist, but there is so much better to choose from.

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Consensus: Planet 51 will entertain younger kids, but not many others. It is certainly not on par with most of the animated films released theatrically last year. Still, for 6 – 9 year olds, it’s worth a rental. ** (Out of 4)

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