Planet 51 is a funny movie for the child at heart. It’s a film set on an alien planet with comedy and exciting action. It reverses the roles of a 50’s sci-fi film bymaking the “alien” an astronaut from earth that the “people” creatures from another world quite like ours. I found the primary message of the film to be fascinating.
At the beginning of the movie, everything is going great for the main character, Lem, a teenage type of martian. He gets a new job and is on the way to a great life and the girlfriend of his dreams. Lem give a lecture at the local planetarium: “Thanks to science we now know, the universe is nearly 500 miles long and it contains…you’re not gonna believe this…over one thousand stars. The only known intelligent life is right here on our planet.”
Then Lem runs into the “alien” astronaut Chuck who lands on their planet and upsets his entire view on life. Chuck challenges all the preconceived ideas about the world he knew. Lem is open enough to listen, learn, and build a relationship with Chuck even though it threatens his entire worldview. After learning the truth about things he hadn’t considered before from Chuck, Lem exclaims…
“Space isn’t 500 miles. It’s not. It’s so much bigger than we can imagine. There’s billions of galaxies and each galaxy has billions of stars…And next to that, our planet is just…” Then he storms out of the planetarium on a quest to make things right.
The General is the military commander that does everything in his power to try and get rid of the “alien” astronaut Chuck. In the final showdown, Lem explains to The General what motivates him:
“I know what you’re afraid of [General] … and it’s not Chuck. It’s not monsters or aliens. It’s the UNKNOWN. I’ve spent my whole life running from it and I think maybe you have, too. But I’m telling you the unknown isn’t something to be afraid of. It can be your best friend and just when you think that it means the end of everything you know…It’s really just the beginning.”
As Lem and others go on with a new perspective their lives are changed…for the better. It was all in how Lem decided to respond to the things in his life that made the difference. The General’s heart is changed as well through listening to the youth and considering his ideas.
Get the Planet 51 DVD on Amazon.com.