“Planet 51 fills up the space nicely.”

_ PLANET 51_

Title: PLANET 51

PLANET 51. The name alone takes a stab at Sci-Fi myths and legends. Area 51 has long been thought to house beings and spacecrafts from other worlds. So it only fitting that if you are going to make a film about an alien planet being visited by a man from earth, then 51 is totally appropriate. The new family animated adventure from first time directors Jorge Blanco and Javier Abad packs the necessary ingredients to make an all encompassing PG flick; one that has enough site gags and visuals for the kids but plenty of wit and clever dialogue for adults.

When Captain Charles T. Baker (Dwayne Johnson) lands on Planet 51 during a normal space mission he has no idea that it is a planet inhabited by green, antenna sprouting aliens who are living in what could easily pass as 1950’s America. The residents are in a naive fear (sort of like our country and nuclear war) of human invasion. So when Baker shows up he is met with fear and instant apprehension and quickly sought out for capture and probing. He is befriended by a smart, science loving, alien teen named Lem (Justin Long) who helps him try and find his ship and get back to Earth safely.

I was truly surprised by this film and the lengths it went to in order to keep the older viewers engaged. There are numerous, though subtle, references to at least a half dozen classic and well known films. Even the set of Planet 51 has that Back to the Future 50’s nostalgia to it. Just substitute some young teen aliens for Marty and Biff and you get the picture. The 50’s culture worked perfect for the tone of the film too. The simplicity of life and the slow pace helped the wit and humor. There is plenty of action as Lem and Baker try to stay ahead of General Grawl (Gary Oldman) and his alien Army. It is funny to see the normal alien movie turned on its head. It is usually the American Army trying to destroy anything it doesn’t understand. This time it is the Golden boy astronaut that is the creature that most be purged. I laughed a lot as Sci Fi films and alien theories are portrayed sarcastically.

Planet 51 is rated PG for mild sci-fi action and some suggestive humor. There were one or two instances I thought to myself, “did they really just say that?”. It was a line that would sail over your 7 and under crowd but hit your 10 and ups squarely between the eyes. It was certainly not offensive or explicit but one that I thought they got away with in a PG film and one parents may have to discourage their young teens from repeating in certain company. But that said, potty humor is what it is and it got a huge laugh from the crowd. Those brief and rare moments should not keep you from enjoying this with your family and fans of movies like Monsters Inc. and Wall-E will find this at least in the same galaxy. I give Planet 51 3.75 out of 5 probe corks. Fast paced with lots of wit and creativity made this a surprise and one that I enjoyed far more than I thought I would. Possibly not one that you would go see with out a kid or two in tow but one that I think you will laugh at as much as they will. So says Matt Mungle

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com)

(3.75 out of 5)

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

Be Sociable, Share!