Planet 51 Parent Guide
"Planet 51" gives audiences an imaginative view of life on another sphere, but unfortunately misses its potential for an intergalactic sized laugh.
Parent Movie Review
Life is suddenly disrupted for the residents of Planet 51 when a NASA astronaut lands his space capsule right in the middle of one family’s backyard. And it appears that these inhabitants are just as worried about being taken over by "aliens" as we are.
Considering Captain Charles "Chuck" Baker’s (voice by Dwayne Johnson) shocked reaction to the locals during their first meeting, it is difficult to convince them that he is friendly. Try as he might, he can’t change their preconceived ideas about extraterrestrials and so he is forced to hide when the planet’s military commander, General Grawl (voice by Gary Oldman), and his army initiate a house-by-house search for the visitor. Luckily before he is caught, Chuck meets Lem (voice by Justin Long), a teen who agrees to let the fugitive hide out in his bedroom until they can find a way to get to the rocket.
Their plan gets complicated when Lem’s younger brother Eckle (voice by Freddie Benedict) and Lem’s friend Skiff (voice by Seann William Scott) both barge into the teen’s room and discover the concealed astronaut. After convincing the boys that the visitor is safe, Lem engages them to help find a way to sneak past the heavily armed soldiers that are barricading Chuck’s mode of transportation.
Making humans the aliens in this film offers a fun and fresh perspective for audiences though these interplanetary citizens are just as quick as Earthlings to greet their guests with drawn guns and other weapons. They seem equally suspicious of anyone who is different.
Produced by Ilion Animation Studios in Madrid, Spain, the film incorporates some European-style humor into the storyline and offers a pacing that is frequently different from the usual North American animation. As well, the production references a number of classic space movies, many of which may be unfamiliar to the younger crowd, and maybe even their parents.
While the film’s English language star, Dwayne Johnson, is gaining a reputation for his roles in family-friendly films like Race to Witch Mountain and The Game Plan, he is barely recognizable as he voices the overly confident, redheaded American who gives Lem some tips on how to impress women. (The scene contains a brief but strong veiled sexual reference when Lem’s friends misinterpret the lesson. Later the characters comment on Chuck’s male anatomy when the astronaut is disrobed in front of them.) Failing to capitalize on the acting heavyweights that lend their vocal cords to this production (including Justin Long, Jessica Biel and John Cleese), Planet 51 gives audiences an imaginative view of life on another sphere, but unfortunately misses its potential for an intergalactic sized laugh.Starring Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Jessica Biel. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release November 20, 2009. Updated July 25, 2016
Rating & Content Info
Why is Planet 51 rated PG? Planet 51 is rated PG by the MPAA for mild sci-fi action and some suggestive humor.
This animated film includes depictions of alien attacks, soldiers being vaporized, weapon use, destroyed buildings and massive explosions. Characters fear being brainwashed or eaten, causing one child to vomit. A man’s fingers are caught in a car door and he is pulled down the street. Characters with guns destroy a bowling alley and other places of business. Alien visitors are shot at and locked in cages. Soldiers are given orders to shoot one another and later they are subjected to electrocution. Two men have their brains surgically removed and another man is threatened with the same fate. The script contains suggestive comments about male and female anatomy, mating practices and suppositories. As well there are portrayals of misinterpreted actions between two men. A brief, veiled reference to sodomy is made along with other sexual innuendo. Characters’ naked buttocks are seen momentarily. The script contains some name-calling and a profanity.
Page last updated July 25, 2016
Planet 51 Parents' Guide
How does making humans the alien visitors change the perspective in this story? How do the residents of Planet 51 feel about the astronaut? Why do people usually presuppose that aliens will be enemies?
Why are we often afraid of the unknown? How do Lem, Skiff and Chuck change as they get to know one another? How is Lem’s knowledge of space increased by his interaction with the astronaut?
The most recent home video release of Planet 51 movie is March 9, 2010. Here are some details…
Release Date: 9 March 2010
Planet 51 releases on DVD with the following extras:
-Want More Fun?
- Life On Planet 51 - Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
- Exclusive Fun Run Rover Run Game!
- Animation Progression Reels
- Planetarium - The Voice Stars of Planet 51
- Music Video Montage
- Extended Scenes
- The World of Planet 51 - Explore the Sights and Sounds of Planet 51
Related home video titles:
This film gives the nod to several other sci-fi and classic films by re-enacting scenes from them. See if you can find the depictions that are similar to Wall-E, War of the Worlds and Singin’ In The Rain. When E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is accidentally left behind after a visit to Earth, he meets with a similar welcome to what Chuck experiences on Planet 51.