Friday, August 13, 2010
Movie Review - Planet 51
So. I recently had the experience of watching the movie "Planet 51". And it certainly was an experience. This movie was made by "Ilion Animation Studios". If you don't recall all of the classics by Illion, don't feel bad since this is Illion's FIRST movie.
The movie is a sort of reversed E.T., taking place on a planet called [insert planet that is never named here] inhabited by [insert species that aren't ever named here], with a friendly but incredibly strange alien calling himself a "Human" coming from a planet called "Earth", crash landing and befriending the main character, Lem, and trying to get home.
All in all not a bad premise. In fact, a reverse E.T. is a... GOOD premise! A REALLY good premise. I'm actually surprised that hasn't (to my knowledge) been done before! This movie could actually be AWESOME! It all comes down to the execution. And I mean, c'mon, what are the odds that some movie studio I've never heard of could screw up such an excellent- Ok, I'm going to give up the false pretense. Yes, the movie didn't live up to what it could've been.
But this is a movie for KIDS. This isn't a Pixar film, or Disney Classic, it's a KIDS movie. So how does it hold up as a KIDS movie?
It's... Adequate. The premise is REALLY REALLY GOOD. The film is basically, like I said, E.T. The movie does this pretty, well, decently. The first 20 minutes are your typical "showing the main character's life before everything gets turned upside down" scenes, combined with showing the WACKY ALIENS!
...Wacky aliens that... Have a culture identical to 1950's America. What? Ok. I'm sorry but this was my major complaint with the movie. I can understand having the aliens look humanoid, or having a certain numbers of similarities, but it's TOO CLOSE. SOCIETIES DO NOT PROGRESS SOCIALLY IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. NOT ON EARTH, AND CERTAINLY NOT ACROSS THE STARS.
I know I should really be more forgiving of this since it's a kids movie, but the degree to which they do it is just... BAD. I mean... There's a monster movie coming out in the film called "HUMANIACS". Really? Coincidence of the century? NO. IT GETS BETTER. THE MONSTER LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE A NASA ASTRONAUT.
Essentially the only difference between 1950's America and "Planet 51" is that the cars have one wheel which goes around the whole car, and you see some kids playing hopscotch with, wait for this, CIRCLES INSTEAD OF SQUARES! Shocking I know.
I mean, a few more differences would have made sense, and made me enjoy the film a LOT more. The scene where the astronaut (Chuck) meets the main character (Lem) was the worst of all where they BOTH HAPPEN TO SPEAK ENGLISH. AND THEY ACCEPT THIS INSTANTLY.
What was the rational behind this? THERE WAS NONE. THERE IS NO RATIONAL WHY EVERYTHING IS SO DANG SIMILAR. Why 1950's America? Why not Renaissance Italy? Why not 1800's Japan? Why why WHY?
...Or perhaps this goes deeper than I thought? Perhaps this movie is saying that our technological, and sociological progress is so rapid, that a mere 50 years makes things seem alien? Perhaps it's a commentary on how we should aspire to the bold future shown via the bold astronaut, going beyond the reaches of the known universe, but still remember the mistakes of the past?
Or maybe it's just crap. Probably that one.
Essentially, this movie is harmless. It's not great, it's not terrible, it's just... Adequate. Some of the jokes do hit the mark, but all of the characters are flimsy and one dimensional, and the humor also seems to fall flat a lot.
For example, there's this running joke about an alien dog. (Who looks like an ALIEN from a certain other series of ALIEN movies featuring ALIENS)
The dog pees acid. Which, I'll admit, was mildly amusing the first time, but they use that same joke no less than 4 times, in ways that don't even make sense. For example, a mail man mocks the dog because it's on it's leash... And the dog pees on the leash, freeing itself, attack the mailman. Wouldn't the mailman know not to mock something that capable?
On planet 51 it rains rocks. Why? ....Because shut up, that's why. Also, one character says "It's raining rocks and dogs." which makes no sense. I mean, we don't say "It's raining water and dogs."
Overall the movie is adequate, and if it's on, and you have nothing better to watch (as happened to me), then you could do a heck of a lot worse than Planet 51. Now someone do this concept again as a drama please.