planet51talkback planet51talkback
Feature FilmTalkback

Planet 51 talkback

I was at the CTN Expo last weekend and completely forgot to see Planet 51. Am I missing something? If you saw it, I’d love to read your comments below.

  • Rio

    Well, my 3 year old daughter liked it. I’m not sure why. The characters are forgettable, it does have a typical, overused story and it’s just plain boring.

    I actually fell asleep at one point.

    It’s sad but true. I always root for the outsiders, but they seem to always put out bad movies no matter who they are. Laika has turned out to be the exception.

  • I saw it at the Academy screening last Sunday. Very decent animation, design and storyboarding, etc, but all in service of a very thin story.

  • Carrie

    Planet 51 was the first movie my husband and I EVER walked out on. I REALLY wanted to like it but it was just painful to watch. Character Design, animation, texture art, graphic art, everything was just BEAUTIFUL – but the story just killed the movie. If Samuel Jackson flew into the film and blasted everyone of the characters away, no one would care because those characters had no conflict, and though visually appealing, no one was rooting for them.

  • I saw it last Sunday with a packed theatre of parents and children. The younger kids seemed to go for it (I know that one of the kids went nuts for Rover), I didn’t. Overall, no laughs and largely 85 minuted torture for the old folks, only the tots would find this amusing.

  • Ryan

    Well, I dont know. I liked the story, it was nice to see a theme like E.T. turned on it’s ear by the Human invading the aliens instead. The animation was decent, over all I was impressed. 7.5/10

  • Yeah, a thin story line, but acceptable if it could have been handed over to good story people.

    All in all, a pretty decent premise but poorly executed.

  • miguelito

    … at one point during the pre-production the execs and other
    clueless suits which there were just too many on this project said:
    do we really need to do the storyboard?

    by the time they figured out they really do need one, they managed to waste a lot of money, illusion of the dedicated crew and the time necessary to fix the story this film ended up with

    at another point a big wig exec said: once we have the story nailed down we will than worry about the main characters and their motivations… that happened at the script stage.

    this goes to show that the degree of know how and storytelling in general among your average suit is zero, be it usa or spain

    to you my dear executive at ilion who might be reading this:
    toma nota y aprende… if you want to make big money with
    animation you cant afford stupid errors. half assed film will
    come back at bite you in the end. good luck in the future

    taking into consideration the ‘la crisis’ the film will tank
    at the spanish box office

  • FP

    Someone rank it in comparison to SPACE CHIMPS, please. I haven’t seen 51, but I saw CHIMPS. That was not fun.

  • Lou Albino Jr.

    I’m disappointed in the impression it left on me and on friends who took their little ones this week. The kids did love it, but the adults all really disliked it. I loved the trailer, and was excited to see it myself. I can humbly guess as to what I think went wrong.

    It’s a tough trick to entertain the kids and the parents/adults. Pixar and Sony can do it. Dreamworks and Blue Sky can do it. Disney used to be able to handily pull it off back in the day, but still, it’s a tough thing to do well. A second, third, fourth pass on story and the boards/gags should be followed by as many passes as it takes before the film feels right, and feels ready to be developed further. the problem is that gags compete with story for attention during this process, and sometimes gags win out, and a production sacrifices work on original story for some laughs. Even if the gags and jokes are fantastic, people feel less than satisfied when they leave the theater. The story has to be there. Not a notion, not an idea for a story, not a take on a cliche on a pastiche- a story. Hopefully a somewhat original story. This film has an idea for a story, and it feels thin.

    Great looking though. They’ve got that down. I was a little tiny bit disappointed that it looked like a Dreamworms movie, but they’re just starting out- they’ll get better.

    If you think you can take it, and you’ve got elementary age kids, take them by all means. Kids went nuts for it at the screening I saw. Since it’s a kids’ movie, I’d have to mark that in the “Win” column, with a little asterix next to it for losing the grownups.

  • I wasn’t expecting much to come out of this movie. BUT i saw the trailer for “Cloudy with a Slight Chance of Meatballs” and I wasn’t going to expect much either..and I was wrong; so I though i’d give this a chance.

    Planet 51 was pretty to look at. The colors were vibrant and the character design for the aliens ( to me) were well done.


    The gags and punch lines in the movie either came late-or simply didn’t make sense. The story telling was weak and the script was nothing short of a trainwreck.

    There were a few-and I stress the word ‘few’, funny moments. The only time the kids in the theater laughed was due in part that they simply saw their parents giggle here and there.

  • joe

    I really have the feeling if this film was traditionally animated, people would be singing a different tune.

  • Re: Joe

    I’m not sure, people here can be rather shallow sometimes…many times actually…but I don’t think the reaction for this would’ve changed much. It might change some people, but I think aside from a few people, this reaction would’ve been as bad as Quest for Camelot or something…………..I hope.

    I saw the movie and it wasn’t too bad. The lip sync was off, but the animation was pretty good. It seemed like an okay TV special or direct-to-video movie…something that’ll be slipped onto Cartoon Network in a few years. I mean, a lot of the jokes were bad, some cringeworthy, and the story had some wasted potential, but even though it wasn’t *good*, I didn’t walk out *angry*…it was “averagely” bad, like a less annoying Dreamworks movie.

  • For what little it’s worth, I really really liked it, so I guess I have a lower threshold than many. I expected a fun, animated, popcorn movie, and that’s exactly what I watched. Was it predictable? A little thin on plausibility? Sure, but it’s a CARTOON, folks! Enjoy it as such! I’d give the animation and rendering 4 stars, the story about 3 (FWIW, I’d give The Incredibles or Monsters, Inc. a 5 out of 5 for everything).

    The numerous references to older Sci Fi movies were great (the planetarium, the Alien dog…) and the movie overall was fun.

    I’m 47, saw it with my 10 yr old daughter (who also laughed alot during the movie), with a background in writing and animation.

  • tom

    >> Well, my 3 year old daughter liked it. I’m not sure why.

    No offense meant, but this line could go down in history as one of the most head scratching animation snob critiques ever written. Either that or you have the most sophisticated three year old ever to sit through a kids’ cartoon.

  • Greg Ehrbar

    We just saw it. My son and daughter liked it — especially my son — my wife thought it was okay though it seemed we’d been down these roads before, so to speak. I was extremely impressed with the design and scope of the look, the sound design and several of the gags. But I could feel there were probably a lot of extra hands in the Play-Doh, adding gags and trying to maintain a “high” level throughout (something I’ve heard in meetings myself but can hurt proper story and character development).

    Satire is difficult to pull off in any medium, but particularly in a mainstream animated feature. It’s a tough trick to establish broad characters and then have them have heartfelt moments with subtlety and smoothness. So what we have here is a nice, frothy animated comedy, not a classic but not a painful ordeal to watch either.

    Does anyone know if “Planet 51” was always the title? It seemed like “Humaniacs” might have been snappier, but maybe that was too close to Animaniacs. I also thought it was interesting that the marketing campaign was Rashomon-like in its approach, because the ads took the astronaut’s point of view and the actual movie was clearly focused on the teenage alien character.

  • Greg Ehrbar is totally right about everything. Excellent review of the movie. A fair one, too. Some of those reviews in Rottentomatoes are a little too harsh. They only point out the bad stuff but there is some good things there too. Like Greg suggests it’s probably better to include few gags that are good instead of having lots of gags that are either hit or miss. I agree about the astronaut too, his conceited, shallow and childish personality was funny and even likeable sometimes but it was difficult to take him seriously in the ’emotional’ moments.

  • agerone

    i haven’t seen the movie yet, the trailer seemed not too bad to me, especially the graphics are great! but i could see from here that the story won’t be the best. But HEY!, there are alot of animation movies where the story is bad but the graphics are great, like CARS from pixar from example.
    i think i’ll have a go for this movie, though. The story isn’t that interesting to me, I’m more watching it for the art and 3d animation.

  • James E. Parten

    Chuckles and I went to this last evening, with rather low expectations, as per the various critical comments made against this film.

    Again, we found that the critics were, at least partially, off base and off track.

    This film is not likely to get nominated for any of those little gold statuettes. But it does entertain, and performs its tasks with cheerfulness.

    The animation may not be top-drawer, but it is decent, and will suffice for most folks. There is a pretty and colorful palette used, and the designs were clever, especially to those who have not seen “Forbidden Planet” or other 1950’s science-fiction movies.

    The writing caught a feel for the period–and its ongoing paranoia–in a way not seen since the more serious “The Iron Giant” (another film that died at the box-office, but was saved by repeated television and video runs). In that regard, this film comes an honorable runner-up to “Cars” in evoking its period.

    Laughs were frequent, and ranged from giggles to belly-laughs. The satire was mild, but was usually quite spot-on. Voice talent was okeh, with Dwayne Johnson seeming to head towards Patrick Warburton territory. And a vehicular “rover” (who develops a more canine personality as the picture progresses) steals its share of scenes, including some blink-and-you-miss-it sign gags that would gladden the heart of a Tex Avery.

    Not a world-beater by any stretch of the imagination, but a pleasant way to get out of the cold for an hour and a half. And it does follow the prime directive of any comedy–it gets the laughs.

  • precode

    It was better than I expected, but it had the feeling of pulling its punches, so as not to do anything too different or, God forbid, something that might frighten the wee’uns. It was certainly better than ICE AGE 3. I’d give it a 6 out of 10.