Planet 51 (2009)
Oh My God, Here Comes The Aliens!
In a bizarre twist on the whole alien stories that float around Hollywood, "Planet 51" features a new type of alien visitor.....namely us. Paying homage to some of the alien movies in the past, like "E.T" where it shows astronaut, Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker (Dwayne Johnson), flying through the air, while sitting on the edge of an alien kid's bike. The film takes place in a suburban 1950's style alien planet, where a young boy, Lem (Justin Long), tries to help the would be visitor get back to his ship, so he can go home. Of course, Lem does receives a bit of help from his friends, Neera (Jessica Biel), Skiff (Sean William Scott), and Eckle (Freddie Benedict). There's only one small problem, the government wants to dissect Chuck's brain and have custody of his ship. Therefore, this causes one heck of a conundrum for our protagonists. The storyline is fairly simplistic and predictable. As the viewer pretty much knows what's going to happen from beginning to the end. You have your typical teen angst with Lem, whom plays the unlikely hero of the movie. The typical girl next door, Neera, whom plays the love interest that the protagonist can't seem to express his feelings for, and the would be nerdy side kick, Skiff. Plus, they have bunch of stereo typical government bad guys, that are essentially idiots being led by General Grawl (Gary Oldman) and Professor Kipple (John Cleese). Although the storyline pays great homage to a lot of the classic alien movies, we've seen in the past. It doesn't offer much in terms of originality, outside of the role reversal with us being the aliens. The love story felt too cliched, rushed and forced at times; giving it a unauthentic touch for the viewer to feel anything for the protagonists Lem and Neera's relationship. Even the animation is fairly simplistic as it doesn't exactly push the boundaries of computer effects like "Christmas Carol (2009)", or offer great visuals like "Ponyo." The only good thing I can say about this film, that gives it some credibility, are the performance of John Cleese, Dwayne Johnson, and Sean William Scott. As their performances in the movie were rather hilarious, and the homage to a lot of the 1950's style alien invasion films was implemented well. Unfortunately, it doesn't bring this film close to the quality that Pixar and Dreamworks puts out. "Planet 51" is perhaps one of the most disappointing animated films of the year.