Thursday, April 11, 2013

Planet 51

They're gonna eat us for dinner!

Finding a decent kid's movie today is getting harder as our society changes. A movie, once rated R when I was a kid, is now a PG rated movie now. Here is a film that appeals to kids and adults who take the time to watch with their kids. If you have kids, and you want to watch this movie with your kids, go-ahead do it, you won't be sorry. Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson voices Captain Chuck Baker, yes a white astronaut. Most people would be comfortable if they changed his color but in this movie, color doesn't matter. Jason Long and Seann William Scott voice the other protagonist male leads. Jessica Biel voices the female protagonist lead, and Gary Oldman and John Cleese voice General Grawl and Professor Kipple respectively. The story is a reversal of a 50's sci-fi alien from space movie, with Astronaut Chuck Baker landing on "Planet 51". Science Fiction movie references abound from, "Also sprach Zarathustra" or better known as the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey," to references to "Star Wars."

This story is a straightforward parody of the 50's, "The Day the Earth Stood Still," with many inside jokes. Astronaut, Chuck Baker lands in an alien planet with 50's-esque culture. Jason Long voices Lem (a play on Lunar Excursion Module) a high-school alien who works at the local planetarium, Neera (Jessica Biel) voices Lem's love interest, and sidekick pals Skiff (Seann William Scott) and Eckle (Freddie Benedict) have their own silly sub-plots. Gary Oldman voices the supposedly evil General Grawl, only to find he is just misguided and a bumbler. Professor Kipple voiced by John Cleese parodies Sam Jaffe's Professor Jacob Barnhardt from The Day the Earth Stood Still. Fearing that this alien spaceman will make them into zombie-monsters, the plot revolves around Planet 51 natives helping the ego centered Captain Chuck Baker and his rock collecting robot sidekick ROVER back to their space ship.

The animation is extremely good, although "Planet 51" is not a Pixar movie but nobody will notice the difference. The voice characterization is acceptable; there is nothing exciting in this department, but they get the job done. The story is cute and entertaining enough to keep you entertained for an hour and a half, but I am glad the directors didn't push it. Overall, "Planet 51" is an above average film, for kids and adults who watch with their kids. Go rent "Planet 51,” watch it with your kids and point out the movie references, the pop culture references, and the music references, its all good clean fun.

Movie Data

Genre: Sci-Fi, Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
Year:   2009
Staring:  Dwayne Johnson, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Jessica Biel, Seann William Scott, John Cleese
Director:  Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad, Marcos Martínez
Producer(s):  Guy Collins, Ignacio Pérez Dolset
Writer:  Joe Stillman
Rating:  PG

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