Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jorge Blanco
|Produced by||Ignacio Pérez Dolset
|Written by||Joe Stillman|
|Story by||Original Idea:
Ignacio Pérez Dolset
Seann William Scott
|Music by||James Brett|
|Edited by||Alex Rodriguez|
|Distributed by||TriStar Pictures (U.S.)
DeAPlaneta Distribución (Spain)
|Budget||€49 million ($70 million)|
Planet 51 is a 2009 American/British animated comedy film directed by Jorge Blanco, written by Joe Stillman, and starring Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott, John Cleese and Freddie Benedict. Produced by Madrid-based Ilion Animation Studios and HandMade Films, it was originally acquired for U.S. distribution by New Line Cinema, but then sold to Sony Pictures before it was completed. Planet 51 was released on November 20, 2009, by TriStar Pictures. It was originally titled Planet One. Produced on a budget of $70 million, Planet 51 is the most expensive film produced in Spain.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (December 2009)|
On Planet 51, green humanoids with snail-like feelers and pointed ears live peacefully in a society reminiscent of 1950s America, but with alien technology and with 1950s-themed alien homes. In the town of Glipforg, Lem (Justin Long) is a teenage boy with a new part-time job at the local planetarium and a long-time crush on his neighbor Neera (Jessica Biel). His best friend is Skiff (Seann William Scott), a big fan of the Humaniacs films. At a barbecue Neera's family is having, Lem tries to ask her on a date, but her hippie friend, Glar (Alan Marriott), keeps interrupting with his protest songs.
Just then, a mysterious spacecraft goes into orbit around Planet 51 and sends out a signal. On Planet 51, under a secret Army installation called Base 9 (their version of Area 51), there is a basement filled with Earth artifacts including robotic satellites launched by the United States and the Soviet Union. The spacecraft's signal activates Rover, a wheeled A.I. probe. Rover escapes, following a program to locate the newly arrived astronaut. The Planetary Army becomes suspicious after Rover's escape and begins to investigate.
The mysterious spacecraft touches down in the backyard; NASA astronaut Charles "Chuck" Baker (Dwayne Johnson) emerges. As Chuck plants the U.S. flag, he steps on a rubber duck someone left on the ground. Everyone stares, and Chuck tries to get back into his module but Eckle (Freddie Benedict) is in his way, eager for an autograph. Shocked when he realizes he is on an inhabited planet, Chuck runs about wildly and hides at the planetarium as the Army arrives on the scene. Planetary Army General Grawl (Gary Oldman) consults Professor Kipple (John Cleese) about the alien invader. The Army quarantines the area and asks citizens start a local civil defense force to prevent the citizens from becoming "zombies".
At the planetarium, Lem discovers Chuck's hiding place. They are surprised to discover they speak the same language. Realizing this alien is no threat, Lem decides to help Chuck, hiding him in his bedroom for the night. Rover finds Chuck, who is very happy to see it. As the General and his men search Lem's room, the group sneaks back into the planetarium with Chuck, who tells Lem he has "the right stuff". Chuck also shows Lem the star that Earth orbits and how the universe is much bigger than Lem had thought. The next morning, the Army takes Chuck's module to a secret location.
The next night is the première of a new Humaniacs movie, and Lem, Skiff and Chuck attend in costumes as fans. Chuck introduces some new music as part of the contest and teaches Lem to dance. Things go well until Rover arrives: chaos ensues. General Grawl arrives and points out Chuck's United States Flag insignia is a dead giveaway that he isn't a local. Chuck is captured and unmasked. When Lem tries to keep him from being taken away, General Grawl labels Lem a zombie, and Professor Kipple announces he will dissect both their brains. To protect Lem, Chuck pretends to "release" him from his control. Lem is proclaimed a hero, and Chuck and Rover are taken away.
At Base 9, General Grawl interrogates Chuck, and an accidental gunshot starts a complicated chain reaction with soldiers shooting at each other. General Grawl thinks Chuck is resisting his demands and allows Professor Kipple to have a go at dissecting Chuck's brain. Lem gets his job back at the planetarium and is permitted to speak about the incident on TV, but he cannot truly accept the honor. He feels terrible about Chuck and decides to do the right thing. While he's hot-wiring a car, Neera, Skiff and Eckle join him to go off to rescue Chuck. The teens know luck is on their side when Rover shows up on the edge of town—he unscrewed the bolts holding together the armored vehicle in which he was imprisoned.
Rover sniffs out Chuck's trail and leads them to an abandoned gas station in the desert. They look around, and Skiff sees a soda bottle in an old refrigerator. When he tries to take it, it opens up the entrance to Base 9. Lem has Glar distract the soldiers guarding the base with his protest group while the rest of them sneak into the base. They find Chuck strapped to a laboratory table, and Professor Kipple getting ready to remove his brain. Lem and his friends break in through the ceiling while Rover scares away the scientists, technicians, and guards. They release Chuck but set off alarms.
Rover helps the group find Chuck's spacecraft, which was in a hangar. General Grawl warns that, if the "alien" tries to leave, he will blow up the hangar. Lem accidentally causes the hangar to self-destruct and, in the resulting firestorm, the General is knocked unconscious. Most of the soldiers flee. The teenagers and Rover get into the module, but Chuck rescues the General from the fire. Chuck pilots the ship into orbit around the planet, allowing the teens to experience outer space. Skiff and Eckle enjoy the weightlessness, General Grawl realizes Chuck hasn't turned him into a zombie, and Lem asks Neera out on a date. Chuck returns to the planet's surface. Although the soldiers are ready to shoot anyone who appears, the General stops them. Finally, the inhabitants of Planet 51 see that Chuck came to their planet for peaceful purposes. Chuck lets Rover stay with Skiff and says his farewells to Planet 51. Chuck then leaves Planet 51 peacefully, accompanied by the alien pet dog seen throughout the film (who had sneaked aboard Chuck's ship without anyone noticing).
During the credits, Professor Kipple emerges from a manhole cover and faces two former patients who drag him off, telling him that he will "love" brain surgery.
- Justin Long as Lem, a teenage boy living on Planet 51.
- Dwayne Johnson as Captain Charles "Chuck" T. Baker, a NASA human astronaut.
- Jessica Biel as Neera, a teenage girl and Lem's love interest.
- Gary Oldman as General Grawl, afraid of an alien invasion and convinced that Chuck is an evil, mind-controlling alien who turns the planet's inhabitants into "alien zombies".
- Seann William Scott as Skiff, Lem's best friend, who works at a comic store.
- John Cleese as Professor Kipple, a scientist on Planet 51, determined to study Chuck's brain.
- James Corden and Mathew Horne as two rather gullible soldiers who believe they have been turned into zombies.
- Freddie Benedict as Eckle, Neera's younger brother who is a huge fan of the "Humaniacs" comic books and movies
- Alan Marriott as Glar, a teenage hippie who is into protesting and can play the guitar.
Production and release
Planet 51 finished production by June 2009. In November 2007, New Line Cinema had picked up the United States distribution rights; the studio itself was to release the film in the summer of 2009. However, TriStar Pictures became the film's home after New Line Cinema sold the rights to them through Sony. According to the Variety magazine, New Line Cinema's owner, Warner, "decided to let the pic go after the producers insisted on a November release, when Warner is releasing its sixth Harry Potter pic." The new distributor moved the U.S release date from the summer of 2009 to November of that year.
Planet 51 is based on the original idea by Jorge Blanco, Marcos Martínez, Ignacio Pérez Dolset and Javier Abad.
The film has received negative reviews from the critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 21% of critics gave Planet 51 positive reviews based on 108 reviews with an average score of 4.2/10. Another review aggregator, Metacritic, which assigns a rating from 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, gave it an average score of 39% based on 21 reviews.
Adam Markovitz of Entertainment Weekly graded the film a B, as it "delivers a few pleasant surprises, including a smart story". Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave 2½ stars out of 4 and positively wrote of the film being "perfectly pleasant as kiddie entertainment, although wall-to-wall with pop references to the American 1950s." However, some critics such as Markovitz, Steven Rea of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Brain Miller of Village Voice acknowledged Planet 51 as "an E.T. in reverse".
Despite mostly negative reviews, the film performed decently at the box office. The film was released in 3,035 theaters, grossing $3.2 million on its opening day and $12.6 million over the weekend, resulting in the number four position at the box office behind 2012, The Blind Side and New Moon respectively.
|Gross Worldwide Takings:||$105,419,232|
A video game based on the film was announced in November 2009. The game was published by Sega and was released on Nintendo DS, Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 17, 2009. The console versions was developed by Pyro Studios and the Nintendo DS version was developed by Firebrand Games. Zed Group, a long-time customer of Trinigy's, worked on the online version of the game with the Vision Engine.
Planet One name change issue
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2010)|
The name change from Planet One to Planet 51 was a result of the demands made from another entity branded Planet One, which produces children and teen TV programming. They made contact with the film's producers early on to resolve the trademark and brand confusion issues. The Spanish film company made an offer to Planet One for all ownership rights to their "Planet One" trademarks and related website URLs. Planet One chose not to take that offer and to protect their brand and trademarks that have been active for many years. As a result, the film's producers chose to rename the film Planet 51. Which refers to the name of high top secret military base Area 51 where conspiracy theorists claim that data and specimens from a space alien landed on Earth in 1947 are stored.
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- "Planet 51". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- Hopewell, John (November 27, 2007). "New Line lands on ‘Planet 51′". Variety. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- Siegel, Tatiana; McNary, Dave (July 8, 2008). "‘Planet 51′ heads into Sony orbit". Variety. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- *"Planet One Poster" from TrailerAddict, 12 December 2007.
- "ILION AND HANDMADE FILMS TAKE NEW LINE TO ANOTHER PLANET". Ilion Animation Studios. 2007-11-26. Retrieved 2008-01-31.[dead link]
- "Planet 51 (2009): Reviews". CNET Networks. Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
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- "Planet 51 Movie Review". Chicago Sun-Times. 2009-11-18. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "The astronaut's the alien on 'Planet 51'". Philadelphia Inquirer. 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "The Pleasantly Mediocre Planet 51". Village Voice. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- "'New Moon' wolfs down $140.7M in opening weekend". Associated Press. Google News. Retrieved 2009-11-22.
- Kapko, Matt (March 9, 2010). "Planet 51 on Blu-ray and DVD, Plus More". Animation World Network. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "Planet 51 Game Details Announced". IGN. February 25, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- Jones, Simon (June 17, 2009). "FIREBRAND Games Announces Planet 51 The Game On Nintendo DS". Peppermint. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- Graft, Kris (October 13, 2009). "Planet 51 Online Game Using Trinigy Vision Engine". Gamasutra. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- "Planet 51". iTunes. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
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- Official website
- Planet 51 at the Internet Movie Database
- Planet 51 at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Planet 51 at Rotten Tomatoes
- Planet 51 at Metacritic
- Planet 51 at Box Office Mojo