First criticism: Planet 51 is not 3D.
This is not to say the animation isn’t terrific. It is. We’re all spoiled now by a series of great 3D flicks and two dimensions just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Here’s the set-up. American astronaut Capt. Charles T. Baker lands on what he thinks is an uninhabited planet. He plants a U.S. flag in the middle of the yard where the planet’s inhabitants are enjoying a barbecue. On a societal evolutionary scale they are in an era similar to our 1950s. Most think all aliens will eat their brains or turn them into zombies.
Fun idea. So is the whole 1950s sci-fi spoof.
It works for about 20 minutes.
And only if you grew up in the 1950s to juke boxes filled with rock and roll including Sheb Wooley’s The Purple People Eater, remember the early fears of the space race and that our country dug the heck out of great sci-fi flicks such as War of the Worlds, It Came from Outer Space, Invaders from Mars, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers or The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Once the novelty wears off, Planet 51 turns into a common animated feature with common animated feature plot lines, characters and dialogue. The former bobby socks and blue jeans crowd will be as bored as the children of 2009.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars
Rated PG for mature themes. It opens Friday, Nov. 20 at Regal’s Columbia Mall 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.