Planet 51 (2009)

Rated: PG for mild sci-fi action and some suggestive humor.
Length: 91 minutes
Grade: DNF
Budget: $70 million
Box Office: $104 million (42 U.S., 62 Intl.)

Written by: Joe Stillman (Shrek 1+2, Joseph King of Dreams)
Directed by: Jorge Blanco & Javier Abad & Marcos Martinez (All co-directing their first film)
Starring: The voices of Dwayne “I’ll act in any movie you tell me to” Johnson, Jessica Biel, and Justin Long
With: Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott, and John Cleese

Planet 51 is an alien world full of antennae-headed green men who live in a society essentially the same as 1950’s America. Then, an Earth astronaut lands there, unaware that it’s already inhabited. He partners with a local kid to escape the military and try to get back to his ship. There’s a cute dog-like robot.

DNF in this case was because I fell asleep for about twenty minutes, and when I woke up to watch the rest, I sort of wished I had just stayed asleep. When it comes to kids movies, I always have my own take on things, but then I double check with Spencer and Ethan to see what they thought. They pretty much like everything, and especially movies about space and aliens and the military. So, the fact that they didn’t even like this is pretty compelling evidence that it’s not good. The basic premise is quite good and the animation is excellent, but they should have put similar effort into creating a plausible plot and worthwhile dialogue and jokes. For instance, there is never an explanation of why this alien society looks exactly like us in the 50’s, especially since all the incoming stuff from Earth has been quarantined. Even Rotten Tomatoes gave it only 22%. There are many, many better kids films, even about space.

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