Planet 51

It’s not often that you watch a cartoon that is just so cool that you don’t care about the sickly sweet kiddie friendly plot, or the message that the producers tried to shoehorn into it about how we’re all the same underneath the different colour skin and how we can all live together in peace and love and rainbows and puppies and all that other crap.  (There are “puppies” in this film, but they’re cool and we’ll get to them later)  Planet 51 manages all this, and it’s just great.

The film revolves around some kind of plot in which the human astronaut lands and becomes the alien.  Something that was done before in Monsters Inc.  But that’s all besides the point.  The point of Planet 51 is to be a complete mockery of “the Ameican Way of Life” in the fifties, and, all the cool big budget horror/sci-fi films that have happened since then.

There’s even a scene in which the citizen’s patrol are being instructed on how to deal with the Alien invasion through a series of instruction manuals, two of which were attacked by sea monsters and attack by a 50 foot woman.  Planet 51 is even better than Monsters Vs. Aliens. (and i loved that film more than I should probably ever admit).

Cartoons really have to overachieve to reach 5 on the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man scale, and while Planet 51 often had me going all Keanu Reeve’s “whoa, that was cool!”  it never had me going “wow, that was fucking dodgy”.  There isn’t really a dodgiest moment, but rather dodgiest characters, and the award is shared.  Both characters are “puppies”.  There’s the alien dog from whichever alien movie had a dog infested with an alien (I think it was Alien 3 but feel free to correct me in the comments), complete with acidic urine and a tongue that was basically a face hugger.  The second dodgiest character was Rover, an unmanned probe that had the personality of a dog.  It was basically Wall-E, but with more personality.  The meeting of the two of them, complete with butt-sniffing had me falling off my chair.

Planet 51 got a gigantic 5 alien smileys.  It rocked.  I just wish I had’ve found it sooner so I would have more time to appreciate it.  As it is, I suspect that each time you watch it there are going to be additional alien movie cliches that you pick up.

The film’s script is alright.  In general, it’s not fantastic and is suitable for kiddies.  however, it does contain some real gems.  “Your daily dose of Chuck” is one of them, but the real winner in the most memorable quote is “The whole planet is full of alien life and you send back pictures of rocks.”  I’m sure this is what happened with the Mars Rover.  The sent the thing there to get interesting pictures of the rocks, so that’s what it sent back.

Normally, this is where I have final comments.  But there is something that needs to be added.  Planet 41 has the best use of “The Macarena” I’ve ever scene.  It starts playing when the aliens drop Chuck’s ipod and all of them fall to the ground holding their ears in agony (think Mars Attacks style, without the exploding heads) until someone shoots the device.   It’s even referred to as a “Heinous weapon” and if that wasn’t sufficient as a cruel sadistic device.  Stop the Madness indeed.

Planet 51 didn’t get nearly as much hype as it deserved, but fortunately, I managed to watch it before it descended into obscurity.  You should too.

  • kittychunk

    Good stuff. I missed this one when it was on circuit, will definitely be begging borrowing or stealing the DVD now though…

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