When Chuck the astronaut (Dwayne Johnson) lands on a distant
planet filled with little green people, he is surprised to discover
that we are not alone in the galaxy. But he gets the shock of
his life when the residents of Planet 51 mistakenly believe
that his presence is the start of an alien invasion of the human
kind! Luckily, Lem (Justin Long) quickly realizes that Chuck
is friendly and makes it his personal mission to help him return
safely to his ship.
a funny place for his antenna"
Written by Joe Stillman who co-wrote the Shrek series, King
of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-head, the above perhaps is
the funniest, adult-oriented one-liner ever coming out from
this family-friendly CG movie.
Newcomers Jorge Blanco and Javier Abad co-direct this 'Made
in Spain' animation comedy about an egotistical American astronaut
Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker (Dwayne Johnson) who
lands on Planet 51 not knowing it’s inhibited by green-looking
'people'. Assuming Chuck is an alien invader, the army of
Planet 51 is out to capture him before 'he turns the citizens
into zombies'. Aided by his newfound alliance, Lem (Justin
Long), his geeky friend Skiff (Sean William Scott) and Chuck’s
robotic companion, Rover, Chuck must escaped from the evil
clutches of General Grawl (Gary Oldman) and Professor Kipple
(John Cleese) to get back to his spaceship before it’s
" Planet 51" honestly is a movie that triumphs with
it’s visual than the storytelling on the whole. The
design of Planet 51 is apparently inspired by 50’s America
and there are obvious nods to the cheesy science-fiction movies
from that era and even contemporary ones liked E.T. and Star
Wars. While the various character designs might not attract
much attention with the exception of a cute mean-looking alien-doggy
named Ripley that pees acidic urine (Alien anyone?), the overall
set designs, props and retro-futuristic visuals created by
the artists deserved much credits. I try to mention Rover
as well but I can’t help feeling a certain robot by
the name of Wall-E sort of helps to inspire this character.
Storytelling wise, Stillman tries to squeeze in every aspect
he can think of. There’s the obligatory romance angle
between Lem and Neera (Jessica Biel) which gets a bit limp
towards the end. The evil villains, General Grawl and a goofy
Professor Kipple that fails to setup the menace. The friendship
aspect between Lem, Chuck and Skiff that deserved a little
more scribing and lastly, the adventure/action portion that
somehow derails from time to time because of the previously
The voicework by the well-known cast members unfortunately
is a bit letdown consider people liked Gary Oldman and Sean
William Scott have proven their ability to charm audience
with their voices in CG movies such as "A Christmas Carol"
or the latter in "Ice Age 2" though right here,
they are just providing unrecognisable, forgettable voice-dubbing
to their characters.
Then again, there are certainly laugh-out-loud moments that
your kids and you will find endearing for examples, the antics
of the hyperkinetic Rover and Ripley and the self-indulgent
Chuck with his iPod and pickup lines. The appearance of the
ambitious-looking Base 9 in the grand finale, the hovering
round-shape automobiles and the immensely colourful platette
and design works by Ilion Animation Studio will likely find
a fan in you despite the predictable plotline. Ultimately,
"Planet 51" is one family-friendly animation piece
(without the usual Pixar/Disney and DreamWorks labels) coming
out of 2009 that will surprise you.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
On Planet 51" Making Of Featurette runs
12 minutes and features interviews with the cast and crew
and some behind-the-scenes look at the voicework and CG effects
done in Ilion Animation Studio in Spain.
"Planetarium" Cast Featurette is a short 2 minutes feature that has the stars talk about their characters and the story.
Music Video Montage is a collection of movie clips playing against pop music tracks by Blink 182, ironically not from the movie’s official soundtrack.
From rough drawings to the final stage of CG, six scenes are dissected and shown in the Animation Progression Reel.
"World" Featurette shows you more of the CG world of Glipforg and a confusing "Origins of Planet 51" Short that somehow failed short to explain the origins of planet 51.
The DVD is round up with 3 Extended Scenes and Trailers.
The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is lively and dialogue is sharp and clear. Colours are perfect and details are nicely presented in this DVD transfer.
by Linus Tee
on 19 April 2010