Planet 51 (Blu-ray) (2009)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Planetarium: The Voice Stars of Planet 51
Featurette-Life on Planet 51
Featurette-The World of Planet 51
Featurette-Animation Progression Reels
|Year Of Production||2009|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Seann William Scott
James Seymour Brett
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
3D animated flicks seem to be a dime a dozen every school holidays. There always seems to be a low-rent alternate to the Pixar & Dreamworks juggernauts, with far more modest production values and a crasser gimmick, vying for the spill-over babysitting moolah. Planet 51 is one such also-ran. One that sits on the lower side of the middle in terms of quality, both story and animation.
The story is set on the titular "planet 51", an alien world, populated by little green men, that has roughly reached the 1950s in terms of development. In this suburban, white picket-fenced alien world, Lem (voiced by Justin Long) is a little green teenager who works at the local planetarium. As he whittles his days away dreaming of the girl next door, Neera (voiced by Jessica Biel), he and his friend Skiff (voiced by Sean William Scott) are gearing up for the premiere of the next in a long line of alien invasion movies at the local cinema. Lem's dreary adolescence is interrupted by the arrival of Chuck (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), a human astronaut who lands in Lem's back yard. The pair reluctantly make friends as Lem helps Chuck escape the clutches of an evil general (voiced by Gary Oldman) and the mad scientist who works for him (voiced by John Cleese), who are both convinced Chuck's plan is to turn the world into zombie slaves.
The film struggles to pitch itself at both kids and accompanying adults. Each of the jokes targets one or the other and none really appeal at both levels. A couple of lewd gags, which would be far above most kids' heads, are prominent enough that they are likely to leave a few parents with uncomfortable questions. The middling quality of the gags is another vote for caution.
The ultimate test of whether a kids flick is worth the rental or purchase is the "rewatch test" - give the kids a week and see whether it still works as a babysitter for a second time. Planet 51 gets a narrow fail on this front. The kids were excited to watch it again, but lost interest partway through and casually came and went throughout the duration. Kids who are particularly fixated on astronauts might feel differently, but for most Planet 51 will be worth no more than a rental.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.
Although the animation is nowhere near as stunning as top tier 3D fare, the video looks very good. The image is sharp and clear. There is an excellent level of detail in the image, although a lot of the objects on display aren't incredibly intricate.
The colour palette is bright and cheerful without being particularly fancy. There is a good level depth to the colours, with little sign of colour banding.
There is no sign of any compression artefacts or film artefacts in the transfer.
English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available for the feature. Based on the portion sampled, they appear to be accurate and reasonably well timed.
The film features an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track English descriptive audio Dolby Digital 5.1 track.
The audio is decent without being anything particularly noteworthy. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The audio sync is about as good as you could reasonably expect from an animated feature.
The film has a paint-by-numbers orchestral score, which fits the film adequately but is otherwise forgettable.
The surrounds are put to decent use throughout, with a good number of effects used to create a fun environment. The subwoofer is used reasonably sparingly, however.
|Surround Channel Use|
The disc includes a wide assortment of extras, each presented in 1080p.
3 extended scenes, none of which really adds anything but time to the story.
Three minutes of camera pans around the environments made for the film. Kind of an unnecessary "Hey Mum, look what I did!" featurette.
A featurette that looks at the characters and critters in the film. The featurette comprises narrative parts with interviews with voice cast and crew members.
Another press-kit style featurette, this time exalting the reasonably diverse voice cast of the film.
Pretty much just a montage of clips from the film. Pass.
A moderately interesting set of 6 featurettes that compares of the animation of 6 different scenes at different stages of production, from storyboarding through to early animatics, early renders and the finished product. The screen is split into four parts with each part showing the footage from the various development stages, as the scene plays.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The US Region A edition features the same extras as the Australian Region B edition, in addition to an interactive game and BD Live connectivity. A win for Region A.
A hit and miss 3D animated comedy.
Audio and video are fairly basic but of a high standard. A wide range of generally worthwhile extras is provided.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Optoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|