tek's rating: ¼

Planet 51 (PG)
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This came out in 2009, but I didn't see it until 2021. It's set on an alien planet where the culture is pretty much like that of 1950s America. But from a Terran perspective, it must be set around the time the movie was released; the one human character in the movie has an iPod and mentions Facebook. The only thing futuristic about it is the fact that he managed to travel to another star system. Anyway, I liked the movie more than I expected to. It was not well received critically, but I thought it was fairly amusing, and had a decent story.

So... there's this teenager named Lem (Justin Long) who gets a job at a planetarium. And he wants to ask out a girl named Neera (Jessica Biel), but he's too nervous. Then one day an alien (that is, Earth) spacecraft lands in Lem's town, and the astronaut, Chuck Baker (Dwayne Johnson), is terrified to discover that the planet is inhabited. So he runs away to hide, while everyone else panics about an alien invasion. Lem finds Chuck hiding at the planetarium, and reluctantly agrees to help him. But that's really difficult, because the army, led by General Grawl (Gary Oldman) is intent on finding and capturing Chuch. And there's a professor named Kipple (John Cleese) who wants to extract and study Chuck's brain. Lem and Chuck get some help from Lem's friend, Skiff (Sean William Scott), and Neera's little brother, Eckle, and eventually from Neera herself. Though for most of the movie, she's part of a protest group led by a guy named Glar, who are trying to convince people that the alien is probably friendly, and not a threat. (Though they hadn't met Chuck and were really just being optimistic.) Lem and the others also get some help from a Rover (which acts like a dog) that had landed on the planet sometime earlier, and been captured by the army and kept locked away at the top secret Base 9 (the planet's equivalent of Area 51). But as soon as Chuck's ship came into orbit, Rover escaped and started looking for him, and obviously eventually found him. Oh yeah, time is a factor in getting Chuck back to his landing craft, so that he can get back to the command module in orbit before it automatically returns to Earth. But of course the landing craft is taken by the army, so that's a problem.

Anyway, I don't know what else to say about the plot without spoiling anything. Except there's an amusing mid-credits scene.

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