Planet 51

(PG) Sony/Hoyts DVD/BD

The opening scene pretty much encapsulates this one-joke animated film: astronaut Captain Charles T. Barker (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) lands on an alien planet and plants the American flag, only to realise he’s stumbled into a suburban alien barbecue.

Cue a story that riffs on Cold War paranoia and ’50s sci-fi films where Planet 51’s alien inhabitants fear a human landing in their midst. Fish-out-of-water jokes and some pop culture jabs (all of which will no doubt go over younger kids’ heads) ensue.

Ho-hum animation and by-the-numbers dialogue round out what is, at most, a pleasant diversion.

Adrian Drayton

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