Planet 51 (2009)

Planet 51 is an animated movie directed by Jorge Blanco (co-directed by Javier Abad and Marcos Martínez), starring the voices of Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott and John Cleese.

Lem (Justin Long) lives on a planet much like ours, if our whole planet would be like the 50s in the USA except populated by little green people. People on Lem’s planet are deathly afraid of being invaded by aliens – so you can imagine the surprise and panic when one day human astronaut Chuck Baker (Dwayne Johnson) lands in the middle of the suburbs of this – as he thought – uninhabitated planet.

I went into this movie not expecting much. It had gotten virtually no advertising and barely 10 cinemas in Vienna were showing it at all (and then only at crappy times). Nevertheless, not one to pass on animated movies/SciFi movies/movies in general, I decided to catch it. And am I glad I did!

Jorge Blanco and writer Joe Stillman (who co-wrote Shrek 1 & 2) have created a wonderful movie that’s funny and sweet and most of all, a love declaration to alien/space flicks. I don’t know when I lost count of how many movies are being spoofed, ripped off, quoted and tributed. It’s got basically everything – from Wall-E to Singing in the Rain. Totally awesome.

All this tributing to of course meant that you pretty much knew from the start how the film would go. But that doesn’t mean that you couldn’t enjoy the journey.

But the movie not only has the film background going for itself: The characters, though all a little clichéd, are awesomely whimsical in their stereotypicality (like the hippie who makes everything into a song like “Lem and Neera want to have a private conversation” or “The times, they are a-different”). Yet, I would have wished for a little more female action, or characters in general.

The casting was really awesome – especially Gary Oldman and John Cleese. And I can hardly believe I’m typing this but Dwayne Johnson was really good, too.

Summarising: definitely a movie that would have deserved more attention than it got. Though not flawless, I nearly pissed myself laughing (and I think that deadra and me definitely laughed more than the kids in the audience, btw) and I can only recommend it to movie geeks.


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