Coming from the screenwriter responsible for the first two Shrek movies is another tale of green-skinned characters, but unfortunately Planet 51 pales in comparison.
Planet 51 is home to a race of humanoids who speak English and whose city is full of 1950s American drive-in restaurants and cheesy sci-fi invasion movies. But when a space shuttle actually lands in a garden, the inhabitants panic, and American astronaut Chuck Baker has to flee. With a military general and a mad scientist on his tail, who believe he wants to destroy their planet, Chuck is taken in by Lem, a teenage alien.
The movie starts out as mildly amusing, establishing the characters and far-off planet setting. We are shown the 'alien equivalent' of everything we have on earth, like houses, barbecues, the observatory, cars, and movies.
At first, these are intriguing enough to keep you hooked, but any element of fun soon wears thin. This is largely due to the excessive references to other films, so most of the jokes will only be appreciated by film buffs. For instance, the astronaut has a pet robot that bears an uncanny resemblance to Wall-E, and there is a tribute to ET in the silhouettes against the moon.
Although Planet 51 aspires to the greatness of the Shrek movies, it falls at the first hurdle: it has very little appeal for adults.
YP rating: 3/5