— by CAM SMITH —
In concept, TriStar’s animated comedy “Planet 51” sounds kinda clever — with a story built around a Marvel “What If?”-like idea depicting the light-hearted results of a human astronaut (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson”) crash-landing on a planet occupied by adorable, green extra-terrestrials who exist within a culture mirroring 1950s America. It’s cute, simple and easy to communicate in bite-sized advertizing spots.
Yet, everything I’ve seen thus far in regards to execution has been middle-of-the-road and bland, with fairly unimpressive CG work, obvious humor (like “High four!”) and flat character work.
This isn’t to say that there may not be some potential intelligence buried beneath the lousy marketing campaign. After all, it was written by Joe Stillman, who had a hand in story duties on the first two “Shrek” films, along with some classic episodes of the “Beavis and Butt-head” TV show. And if anyone should be able to slyly subvert the family movie genre, it’s him.
Plus, that mini Xenomorph dog is pretty darn lovable.
This new behind-the-scenes clip combines some new gentle-natured scenes from the film with upbeat, if superficial, input from cast members Johnson, Justin Long and Jessica Biel, and recording booth footage. Check it out for yourself and post your reactions in the comment section.
With a Nov. 20 release date briskly approaching, “Planet 51” seems likely to please the young folk. However, how it’ll play for those of us with double-digit ages remains questionable.
Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.