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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jorge Blanco, Javier Abad, Marcos Martínez
Cast:
Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, John Cleese, Freddie Benedict, Alan Marriott , Mathew Horne, James Corden
Writing Credits:
Joe Stillman

Tagline:
Something strange is coming to their planet ... Us!

Synopsis:
When Chuck the astronaut (Dwayne Johnson) lands on a distant planet filled with little green people, he is surprised to discover that we are not alone in the galaxy. But he gets the shock of his life when the residents of Planet 51 mistakenly believe that his presence is the start of an alien invasion of the human kind! Luckily, Lem (Justin Long) quickly realizes that Chuck is friendly and makes it his personal mission to help him return safely to his ship.

Box Office:
Budget
$70 million.
Opening Weekend
$12.286 million on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$41.802 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
German DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
German
Spanish
Turkish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
German

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $39.95
Release Date: 3/9/2010

Bonus:
• Three Extended Scenes
• Music Video Montage
• “Life on Planet 51” Featurette
• “Planetarium: The Voice Stars of Planet 51” Featurette
• “Target 51” Game
• Animation Progression Reels
• “The World of Planet 51” Short Film
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Planet 51 [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 99, 2009)

If you asked me, I would’ve guessed that a computer-animated family flick about chicken pox or week-old donuts would be a hit if released on the day before Thanksgiving. However, 2009’s Planet 51 proved that audiences won’t suck down everything thrown their way. Prime release date be darned: Planet failed to find much of an audience as it limped to an anemic $41 million box office.

So I guess we won’t get Planet 52 at any point. Astronaut Charles “Chuck” Baker (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) lands on a planet and plans to claim it for the humans. However, he quickly learns that the world is already inhabited by a society that plays like an alternate version of 1950s America. That means they fear all sorts of sci-fi threats like sea monsters and aliens.

While the residents mobilize to combat the anticipated invasion, Chuck flees in fear. Before long, he meets Lem Korplog (Justin Long), a teen assistant curator at a planetarium. Rather than attack the aliens, Chuck just wants to get back to his ship and head home. Against his better judgment, Lem agrees to help the human. This sends them through confrontations with antsy townsfolk, invasive scientists and aggressive soldiers.

After fall 2009’s delightful Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, I hoped Planet 51 would give me another fun animated adventure from Sony. Unfortunately, Planet almost totally lacks the charm and amusement found in Cloudy.

Through much of the film, it creates a credible conceit that it should be entertaining. The movie comes with a fun concept, and the twist on America during the 50s seems ripe for comedic exploration. The tale does attempt to dig into this side of things, and it throws in references to various sci-fi efforts as well.

All of which inspire a resounding yawn. I can’t quite figure out how a movie with so much potential turns out to be so relentlessly dull. On the surface, it has everything it needs to succeed, and I can’t put my finger on any specific problem. Clever concept? Check. Interesting story? Check. Good cast? Check.

Fun and entertainment? Oops. Cloudy managed to pack every frame with inventive, creative humor, while Planet manages a mildly amusing bit once every 10 minutes or so – at best. How can a film with such a rich premise so wholly fail to explore it? I don’t know, but almost nothing witty and exciting occurs across its 90 minutes.

I suppose Planet does achieve a certain magic: it makes those 90 minutes feel more like four hours. It’s an odd effort. While quite a lot happens throughout the story, it never feels like anything goes anywhere. The film flits from one forgettable sequence to another and fails to achieve any memorable, entertaining sequences.

Even the actors suffer from the movie’s relentless case of ennui. It includes plenty of talent; in addition to Johnson and Long, we find folks like Gary Oldman, John Cleese and Seann William Scott. All seem to have been beaten over the head with the Mediocritizer, a device that beats all spark and personality out of a performance.

All of Planet 51 feels that way. The movie never truly becomes bad, but that’s just because it’s too dull and lifeless to provoke any emotion. The movie boasts lots of promise, but it fulfills none of it.

By the way, fans will want to hang out through the end credits, as some bonus footage shows up along the way.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus C

Planet 51 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not on a par with the best animated Blu-rays, the film still looked terrific.

Sharpness was usually excellent, as most of the movie exhibited fine clarity and delineation. However, some wide shots looked a smidgen soft. These examples were far from being problematic, but I expected virtually flawless definition, and that didn’t occur; while I found a lot of stunning shots, these weren’t constant. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. Source defects also failed to materialize in this clean presentation.

Colors looked great. With its alien environment, the movie boasted a broad palette, and the hues consistently came across as vivid and dynamic. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed clear and full. I wish the transfer had been a little more precise, but it was consistently quite good and usually bordered on great.

I also felt very pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Planet 51. An action-comedy that didn’t skimp on the “action” side of things, all of the space and battle shenanigans ensured that the mix offered plenty of involving material. The chaos filled out the spectrum in an active, involving manner that created a lot of exciting audio.

All five channels featured plenty of unique elements, and they fit together in a fine manner. Even quieter scenes used the soundscape in a satisfying manner. Music featured nice stereo imaging, and we found plenty of localized dialogue.

Audio quality also was very good. Speech seemed crisp and distinctive, as I noticed no flaws like edginess. Music seemed warm and full, while effects added a real bang to the proceedings. Those elements showed good clarity and accuracy, and they offered tight, deep bass as well. The track seemed vibrant and dynamic as it accentuated the movie in a satisfying manner.

We find a smattering of extras here. The Target 51 Game lets you select a three-stage “Galaxy Mode” or a points-based “Survival Mode”. These involve basic point and click motions with the remote. None are vaguely entertaining; they’re more likely to leave you with a sore wrist.

Three Extended Scenes last a total of two minutes, 50 seconds. These include “A Total Disaster” (1:03), “When Aliens Invade” (0:55) and “What Do Zombies Say?” (0:52). As you can tell from the running times, none of these extended scenes have been elongated by much. They provide a few minor additions, none of which do anything to substantially alter them. They do come with finished animation, which is a nice surprise, as most animated deleted sequences remain in story reel form.

A short film called The World of Planet 51 fills two minutes, 54 seconds. It’s a stretch for the package to call this a “short film”, as it actually just shows us the movie’s virtual sets accompanied by music. It’s a cool way to see the “locations”, though.

Two featurettes follow. Life on Planet 51 goes for 12 minutes, four seconds and offers notes from writer Joe Stillman, co-directors Javier Abad and Marcos Martinez, director of technology Gonzalo Rueda, lighting director Javier Romero, animation/layout supervisor Fernando Moro, crowds animation supervisor Charlie Ramos, director Jorge Blanco, and actors Dwayne Johnson, Justin Long, Jessica Biel, Seann William Scott, and Gary Oldman. “Life” looks at story and characters, cast and performances, animation and visual design.

Though the program adopts a decidedly promotional bent, it still manages to throw out some interesting notes. I like the few minutes of technical material, and the actors contribute some decent insights. Don’t expect much and you’ll be content with this moderately engaging piece.

For the three-minute, 18-second Planetarium: The Voice Stars of Planet 51, we hear from Long, Biel, and Johnson. They just give us banal notes about the story and characters. Skip it.

A Planet 51 Music Video Montage runs two minutes, 11 seconds. This mixes movie clips with some score and songs. Why? I don’t know, but it’s not interesting.

Under Animation Progression Reels, we find six segments that last a total of 15 minutes, 53 seconds. Each of these divides the screen into quadrants to show the various stages of scene completion. These allow us a nice glimpse of the different levels of work done to execute an animated film.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Open Season 3 and Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. These also appear under Previews along with promos for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep, Open Season, Open Season 2, and Surf’s Up. No trailer for Planet 51 shows up here.

Finally, a second platter provides two elements. It gives us a Digital Copy of the flick as well as a DVD Copy of Planet. If you want to own Planet but aren’t yet Blu-ray capable, it’s a good option. Note that the DVD doesn’t replicate the disc you’d buy separately; this is a more barebones effort without extras, so if you want to see the supplements, you’ll need to be able to check out the Blu-ray Disc.

Packed with potential it never reaches, Planet 51 delivers a dull experience. While its sci-fi spoof should boast many fun sequences, the film fails to explore them in a satisfying way and it provokes exceedingly few laughs. The Blu-ray offers terrific picture and audio but lacks substantial supplements. Animation fans can do much better than this slow, monotonous flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.3333 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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