With a cute bit of cultural turnaround, Sony Pictures takes us to Planet 51. To the very cute green people of Planet 51, they are living the dream in their own version of the 1950s, driving around in bubble-shaped hover cars, listening to Doo-wop music, and having cookouts on their lawns. It’s all very much a Jetsons kind of world, but it isn’t ours. With the 1950s, came lots of paranoia, and our own North American culture was rather xenophobic, and now we get to see how silly we were back then by looking through alien eyes.
Our focus is on one particular alien teenager, Lem (Justin Long). He’s a bright kid, sort of awkward. He has a crush on the girl next door, Neera (Jessica Biel), and is working part-time at the local planetarium while pursuing his dreams to become an astronomer. His best buddies are his nerdy friend, Skiff, (Seann William Scott) and his little brother, Eckle (Freddie Benedict). Right now his biggest challenges in life are getting Neera to notice him, making sure the resident town hippie, Glar (Alan Marriott) stays away from Neera, and keeping the elementary school kids interested when they come to the planetarium on their field trips. What he does not know is that the biggest thing to ever hit his planet is about to take over his existence.
When American astronaut Captain Charles T. Baker (Dwayne Johnson) crash lands on this little nostalgic planet, the military gets into an uproar, and they think aliens have invaded. They have been force fed fear (how’s that for word alliteration?) through movies and comic books, and think they are being invaded by monstrous one-eyed creatures that shoot beams from their eyes. Captain Baker is a far, far cry from what they envisioned, but they are still fearful, and the military leader, General Grawl (Gary Oldman) of the area wants to find the alien and capture him for study. The general’s scientist sidekick, Professor Kipple (John Cleese) has all kinds of devious and twisted experiments planned for the good Captain, whom is just wanting to find his way home.
Captain Baker comes to town and hides out in the planetarium while he devises a plan to get back to his ship. His little Rover, a robot with the personality of a very friendly dog goes to search for him when he finds the captain missing. Lem goes to work, and encounters the Captain. At first he is fearful, but after learning that the captain is friendly, and just wants to go home, he decides to help. He takes him home, and hides him in his room. Meanwhile, the General has decided to use Lem’s home as a headquarters while searching for the alien. Skiff and Eckle are brought into the plan, and Skiff sees this as a dream come true. His comic book dreams are really happening! Eventually, even Neera and Glar are in on the caper, and they even end up in a costume contest at the local theatre as they try to lose themselves in the media confusion while trying to get Captain Baker back to his ship.
This movie harkens back to a more simple day, but does not take itself to seriously, and reminds us not to take our entertainment too seriously. (That’s means you, too, MMORPG gamers!) The colourful pop culture references are all there, from the little Alien dog, to one-liners lightly stolen from some of our favourite sci-fi movies of the 1970s and 1980s. Glar even drives an Planet 51 version of a VW Minibus, which, if it was available for purchase, I would not mind owning. this movie is pure family fun, even if the younger kids might not understand some of the retro references. Musings really likes it. To see how much, check the stars below.
I give this film a Musing review of