Science fiction and fantasy
directed by Jorge Blanco
The movie is full of visual references to other alien films such as E.T., Star Wars, Alien and Close Encounters. These little tributes liven the film up for an older generation of viewers, but there's plenty to keep everyone else interested as well. Joe Stillman's script is funny and charming, with lots of slapstick and humour from moments of social awkwardness. Planet 51 has a definite look of 1950s small-town America, with an abundance of white picket fences, bowling alleys and barbecues. It perfectly captures the era's cosiness, mixed with a distrust of anything that shakes up the status quo, as well as the close-mindedness of that environment. They believe the universe is 500 miles long, for instance, and that's what Lem is supposed to tell visitors to the planetarium, even when he learns it's not true.
This film is far too child-friendly to be at all dark, but at the same time it makes its points clear about having an open mind and not fearing people just because they're different. I enjoyed this movie because it's light, funny and well-scripted. The story is accessible without getting too cute, and it has something to appeal to viewers of all ages.
26th January 2011
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