Customer Reviews: Planet 51
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on February 7, 2010
'Planet 51' was the last thing showing at our local theatre that I hadn't already seen. The previews and lobby displays (mis)led me to believe it was just another throwaway kids' cartoon, full of forced cuteness, predictable gags, and cardboard characters; but I had time to kill and the ticket was at matinee price, so I finally went in. Am I ever glad I did!

The obvious send-up of 1950s American culture is fun, and so is the shoe-on-the-other-foot twist of the human being viewed as the fearful alien menace, but if that's all a viewer takes away, he or she is missing a lot. There was plenty of unexpected satire that had me laughing out loud through much of the film. There is also a profound message that centering one's society around perpetual fear can cause more harm to a culture's core values than the thing being feared; however, the message very carefully doesn't get in the way of the humanity (alienity?) of the story.

The music was well done and really enhanced the fun. Visually, I loved the film. Character design wasn't anything particularly special, but the look of the planet itself was gorgeous. This is a cartoon, after all, not an overblown CGI extravanganza like Avatar, so you shouldn't expect photorealistic rendering of every tiny detail. The beauty of this kind of artwork is in the imaginative forms and colors, the simplicity of shapes and lines that enhance the story, not overwhelm it.

Actually, having brought the subject up, I suppose many comparisons and contrasts could be drawn that make Planet 51 a kind of Anti-Avatar. Here, the humans are neither conquering villains, nor paternalistic hero figures. People--er, beings--from both sides have to do their part on Planet 51 to bridge the misunderstanding of cultures and enable goodwill to prevail. That may not be the kind of dramatic plot it takes to engage some viewers' attention these days, yet it's exactly the sort of solid but gentle storytelling one should expect from the offspring of George Harrison's Handmade Films.

Plus, so far as I can tell, no one has yet suffered depression after viewing Planet 51. :)
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on December 5, 2009
I was a bit surprised to see the chilly reviews of most of the critics (the movie got an average C in the Yahoo critics review). I saw the movie with my 8 years old and we both enjoyed it a lot. It is a fun little movie which includes parody on many sci fi movies as well as on the 50's Americana. It's true that there are many references and puns pointing to other movies but in my eyes this was part of the fun and not 'unoriginal copying' as some critics claimed. I was especially proud when my son identified the scene from Singing in the Rain! My own favorites were a killer, acid-urinating pet formed after the monster in 'Alien', and the paranoid general in sun glasses which reminded me of Jack D. Ripper from 'Dr. Stragelove'.
I saw some complaints about the 'simplicity' of the graphics, it's true they are not in the league of 'Shrek' or 'Bolt' but they do just fine in the context of the movie. Overall I will not claim this is a ground breaking movie in any way, but I enjoyed it more than 'Monsters vs. Aliens' which covers a somewhat similar teritorry and which we saw earlier this year.
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on June 3, 2011
My six year old son laughed throughout this movie. Tons of song and movie references (everything from Singing in the Rain to Alien) kept the adults interested, too. I was really surprised that a movie rated as having 'minor violence' actually opened with [story-within-a-story] footage of ray guns disintegrating people, but it didn't turn out too violent for us as a whole. I would think twice before showing it to a younger or more sensitive kid, though.

I think this movie is really underappreciated. It didn't have the most spectacular graphics ever, and the love story was admittedly predictable, but the altered perspective - humans as aliens! - was compelling, and the cultural references made for non-stop amusement. The adorable Rover alone would be enough reason to watch it again.
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on January 8, 2010
This film was very enjoyable if you know the references to the 1950s films along with other scifi films; being a cinema major and music junkie I knew majority of the films that were parodied making it extremely funny. However 99% of the people (including critics [Which are usually film school drop outs always bitter]) didn't get the references and made it less enjoyable for them. The reason why the film didn't do good was that it was released during the same weekend as New Moon (UHF did the same with Indiana Jones 3) and was too specific of a market. It's a great film if you've seen all those cheesy films but not for kids. The film was made for them but kids won't get this however mom and dad would find it to their enjoyment. For adults think of it as a kids film but with clean jokes for you. John Cleese from Monty Python is in there along with the "Rock" as the astronaut which both have perfect roles. The music had lots of remade hits from the 1950s. So before you watch it make sure you know lots of the films and music otherwise you may not be able to appreciate the film for what's there. It's definitely a film to kick back with a beer and some of your friends who are into the retro films to get a good laugh from. Highly underrated since most people didn't understand it.
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on April 12, 2013
It seems I didn't read between the lines when though that Amazon was offering the movie to watch for free on a freebie site.
Was all ready and comfy with husband and kids in front of the tv when realized it was just a stupid clip. What a fiasco!
I wonder how many more were fooled like I was.
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on February 10, 2016
The movie is good. But understand that if you're buying it to have a digital copy (I was, the whole reason I purchased it), you won't get one even if it says you will. Sticker on the outside says the redemption code is expired. Great. Just great. :(
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on August 1, 2012
I purchased this movie because last year, in second grade, my daughter suddenly became very afraid at the very thought of aliens. (There were a few kids in her class scaring the heck out of the rest.) After nearly a year of tip-toeing around the topic, the problem has gotten worse. So, I decided it is time to show her that aliens are only scary if she makes them scary. I have been hunting for every friendly/funny child version of aliens to be found.

The first few minutes are the 'scariest' with an alien attack being depicted. (Scary being subjective, of course, since most eight-year-olds would have no issue with the scene.) After that, this movie started working its magic. It is funny and very entertaining, even my husband stayed for the whole thing (he takes the 'family' out of 'animated family film').

Right from the start, Planet 51 jumps in and embraces all of our alien stereotypes and beliefs, having cleverly reversed the roles. I especially appreciated the subtle inferences (look for what we call a meteor shower). There are also many nods to other films, songs, and pop culture figures. These guys are living in the 50's, and the storyline is enhanced by that setting.

Planet 51 defintely deserves favorable consideration if you are on the fence, wondering if it will be as entertaining as it looks like it should be.

One thing - this item is supposed to be a 2-disc Blue Ray/DVD combo. It's not. There is a blue ray disc, and there is a second disc they call a DVD. The 'DVD' is a disc you can use to play the movie on your computer or play station. Even if that is okay by you, the 'DVD' feature needs a code to activate it and allow the download. The code expired in March of 2011. This explains the incredibly discounted price. You are not getting a combo pack. This is, effectively, just one disc - and do not purchase it unless you can play a blue ray.
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on July 26, 2016
This featurette is about 15 minutes long and is mostly interviews with the actors who do the voices of the Planet 51 characters. It has trivia pop-ups on the side about the movie and lots of fun talk from the stars of the movie such as The Rock, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, as well as some of the directors and animators.

Watching the featurette was pretty fun because it lets you see how the actors got entirely into character. My favorite was watching The Rock be the astronaut because he in so animated, even when just standing at a microphone - it's awesome to see him work!

I think this featurette is fun for kids - mine are 10 and 12 and really thought it was cool to see - especially if they love the movie and want to see some behind-the-scenes goings on.
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I had stayed away from this movie because of all the negative reviews, but my husband persuaded me to give it a try since it was playing at the dollar theater. We also brought our 5-year-old daughter along, thinking this was going to be a kids' movie. Well, though our daughter was entertained, I think this movie is best appreciated by adults who can grasp all of the pop culture references, especially those 50s sci-fi flicks. If you fall into this latter category, chances are you'll be entertained, as my husband and I (both movie buffs) were. The visuals are bright and colorful, and serve to keep kids' interest.

The story itself is a kind of twist - instead of human being invaded by aliens (as was so typical of 50s sci-fi flicks), here we have an alien culture who are terrified of a human astronaut who inadvertently lands on their planet. The entire planet is populated by a race of green creatures with antennaes, and they all embrace the music of the 50s, read 50s comics, and generally live out the era. Chuck the astronaut's (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) arrival is greeted with horror as these green guys have come to perceive those not of their planet as humanoids, and it falls upon hapless teenager Lem (Justin Long), his best friend Skiff (Seann William Scott) and the girl of Lem's dreams, Neera (Jessica Biel) to 'rescue' Chuck. The baddies here are played by General Grawl (Gary Oldman) and mad scientist Kipple (a hammy John Cleese). When the story lags, it uses Chuck's cute robot dog Rover for gags. The movie references lots of classic movies such as Star Wars, Singing in the Rain, E.T., etc. which though hardly original makes it fun and entertaining.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon August 7, 2016
I didn't realize that this wasn't the movie when I ordered it. It was pretty interesting seeing the actors talk about the movie and I didn't realize some of the voices who are actors that I love. I don't normally pay much attention to credit unless I recognize my voice, so that was kind of neat seeing their views on the film and it was fun for me to watch. My kids were completely uninterested when they realized it wasn't the movie. We actually have this movie on DVD, but I just wanted it on Amazon so they could do it easily on their tablets. Would have been great if it was the movie, but the little bit that was within this featurette was nice to watch.
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