Even as throngs of morose, heavy-eyelinered female teenagers haunt the night camping out for the vampire event known as The Twilight Saga: New Moon [TWIL2], there are actually other new offerings in theaters this weekend. Some say the second tale in the Twilight series will be the movie event of the year, but that doesn’t mean other films can’t have a day as well.
The weekend also caters to parents of young kids who will have a new animated film to appreciate. Planet 51 [PLT51] from Sony Pictures Tristar features the voices of Dwayne Johnson [TROCK], Jessica Biel [JBIEL], Sean William Scott [SWSCO], Justin Long [JLONG], Gary Oldman [GOLDM] and John Cleese [JCLEE].
Planet 51 comes from the writer of Shrek and the animation is reminiscent of the grumpy green ogre. An astronaut named Captain Charles ‘Chuck’ Baker lands on the title planet thinking he is alone. However, he finds an alien civilization that lives much like 1950s America. The people of Planet 51 in turn think Baker is an alien. He seeks refuge with a young boy who hides him so he can locate his ship and return to earth. Until then, Captain Baker must learn to blend in and be one of the aliens.
With solid production and simple storytelling to keep kids occupied, Planet 51 should find a following. Although A Christmas Carol [CAROL] is considered to be its closest competition and the film is doing well at the box office, that story can be boring for the toddler age. Jim Carrey’s antics after all require some degree of attentiveness and in this writer’s opinion, Planet 51 is a better bet. The feel good story about a fish-out-of-water and friendship is a useful one to drive home before the holidays.
Although some of the action could be tried and tired, the talented cast lends its vocal charm. All in all, while not breaking any new technology or plot ground, Planet 51 should be enough to keep kids occupied for a few hours.
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