Planet 51

Planet 51 (2009)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Gary Oldman, Jessica Biehl, Seann William Scott
Extras: Extended Scenes, Music Video Montage, Featurettes, DVD version, Digital Copy

Animation has seen a resurrection in recent years unlike any seen since the heydays of Walt Disney. Although computer animated these days and entirely different in style and tone, there is a wide offering of such animated movies coming to theaters all year round. One of these films, vying for your interest, is "Planet 51," a funny outer-space story filled with green aliens.

On a mission in outer space, Chuck, the astronaut (Dwayne Johnson), lands on a distant planet and unexpectedly finds that there is life on other planets. The inhabitants of this planet are generally friendly, little green people, just the way we have always envisioned them, but Chuck soon learns that the question who's the alien soon becomes one of his major concerns. As it turns out, the people of planet 51 not only see him as an alien intruder but they fear he might be the vanguard of a full-fledge invasion. If only Chuck could convince them otherwise, tell them that he's really just stranded on the planet.

Much of the charm of "Planet 51" comes form the whimsical, green alien characters and the setup that they reflect so much of our own mentality. After all, how would we react if an alien life form came to visit? No, don't tell me… yes, our overzealous military guys would immediately declare it a matter of national security and scare the bejesus out of everyone regardless of the intentions of the visitor while the sensational media would stoke the fires with the most ridiculous claims and encounter stories. It would be just as in this movie, only that we would be the guys with the paranoia.

Featuring the voice talents of Dwayne Johnson, Gary Oldman, Jessica Biehl, Seann William Scott and many others, the film has a great cast and makes sure it stays in character throughout. It has some great moments that are not only funny but also bitingly observational and makes for an impressive and entertaining story.

The Blu-Ray version dishes out a pristine high definition picture. Coming directly from the digital master there are not defects in the transfer, and the level of detail is simply staggering. Without losing anything to compression, the transfer is also incredibly sharp, rendering edges and textures that are amazingly rich in definition throughout. Colors are incredibly rich and make good use of Blu-Ray's expanded color encoding capabilities, rendering an image that is bold and vibrant with not a dull hue in sight. Black levels are solid, giving the image good visual depth and dimensionality.

Aggressive and always active, the DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track is exactly what this film needed. Using spatial sound effects to best effect, the track creates a wide sound field that is filled with ambiance, music, effects and dialogues, making for a very modern-sounding and dynamic presentation that is sure to impress viewers.

Among the extras on this release you will find three extended scenes giving you a different take on these moments in the film. Also included is a music video montage and featurettes covering the production of the film.

As an exclusive Blu-Ray feature, the disc also comes with the "Target 51" game, which can further use your iPHone as an input controller if you download the respective app from Apple's AppStore.

In addition, the release contains the full DVD version of the movie, as well as a Digital Copy for portable devices.

"Planet 51" is a fun little romp, enjoyable for the entire family. Every age group will take away different things from the film, whether it is enjoyable for the immediate humor, the witty observation of our society, or some other references, the film works on many levels. Get the Blu-Ray version if you want to see just how good a modern animated movie can look like on your TV.