Planet 51 (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Why yes, there is. If Americans are guilty of over-indulgence, then certainly Hollywood is the main proprietor of it. Right? Perhaps one of the best things that’s happened to films in the last two decades is the advent of computer animation in films. Pixar studios have set the bar so unseeingly high for this genre of film that it forces the impostors (and they’re out there) to do a lot in terms of making their movies. For every Pixar movie we’ve had something just as impressive like the “Shrek” movies. But not all of these movies are created equal, and the case in point is “Planet 51”. I might usually steer away from such a film, but I figured I’d give it a shot and after having seen “Up”, I was thinking that anything in the computer animation department was just gold. Turns out it wasn’t.

“Planet 51”, almost instantly, shoves the story down our collective throats. It’s set on an alien world that’s taken right out of the 1950’s even opening with the song “Lollipop”. The planet is perpetuated with aliens and the latest movies tell the tales of invaders from beyond. But when this actually happens, well things happen. The main character is Lem (Justin Long), an aspiring astronomer, along with his buddy Skiff (Seann William Scott) meet a real alien which is actually a human astronaut (Dwayne Johnson). Naturally he’s the outcast and everyone’s looking for him, led by the militant General Grawl (Gary Oldman). So, yeah, if this story sounds just a teensy bit familiar, it’s essentially “E.T.” in reverse. I think the grosses for this film were the reverse of that film too. “Planet 51” isn’t all bad, it’s got some clever moments, but I’m probably about 30 years past the recommended viewing age, I’m sure the kids will get more out of it than I did.

Video: How does it look?

On a technical level, “Planet 51” delivers the goods. The 2.40:1 AVC HD transfer is the epitome of what Blu-ray was made for. This is a reference-level picture here and I’d be disappointed if it weren’t. Colors really pop and the dominant color is green, as the aliens are all?green (very original, I know). The depth of the picture is certainly impressive and as with any other computer animated movie done in the digital realm, it’s impossible to find something wrong with the way this looks. Again, the target audience for this movie probably doesn’t care what it looks like on screen, but if you want to show off what your HDTV can do, you could do a lot worse than “Planet 51.”

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack is pretty impressive a well. Vocals are very strong and consistent, particularly that of Dwayne Johnson as the astronaut. Then again he’s supposed to sound like the All-American man (think “Buzz Lightyear” from “Toy Story”). Surrounds are used to great extent and the LFE are very active in this film as well. Once again I say that the kiddies watching this movie probably won’t care, but if you’re forced to sit there and watch it with them, well let’s just say that the speakers do get a workout, so that’s good.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This two disc Blu-ray doesn’t have a lot of substance with its supplements, but we do get some featurettes that show us the digital world of “Planet 51” in that we get to meet some of the actors in the film, a progression montage and a world premiere of the film. Additionally we get some extended scenes a music video montage and a second disc that’s both a DVD of the film and a digital copy as well.

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