Planet 51

Nov. 29th, 2009 12:34 pm
bellinghman: (Default)
We went off to the cinema yesterday afternoon to see this rather engaging animated feature. Annoyingly, since 'it's a cartoon', and the latest instalment in the Twilight series is also out, it's getting limited showings (none in the evening at our normal film watching time).

Which is a shame, as it's not bad at all.

Planet 51 is effectively Planet 1951, being very like America in the 1950s. At least, like one if everyone has greenish skin, antennae and no nose, and the wheel has been displaced by levitation pads to such an extent that even a VW van hovers. But it has comic shops and the first sight of hippy protesters, and a xenophobia powered by films of alien invasion. Into this lands an astronaut, Chuck Baker, who's supposed to make a few steps out onto an uninhabited planet, plant Old Glory, and return to his command module, there to press the button that will fly him home again.

Sadly for him, the planet is far from uninhabited, and when he stumbles through a barbecue and gets separated from his craft, the anti-alien hysteria latches onto him, and he spends the rest of the film in jeopardy of getting either just left behind as the orbiter heads home automatically, or cut up for experiments in the infamous (and, of course, totally non-existent) Base 9. Happily for him, he has the help of a local, Lem, who is just starting his job as assistant at the local planetarium.

It's a delightful story, one that explicitly hangs a lampshade over the fact that both humans and aliens are speaking the same language, and implicitly hangs another one regarding the 1951-edness of the planet. There are a lot of nods to other SF films, from the Close Encounters cloud maelstrom to the E.T. bicycle in front of the moon, as well as other references (surely Lem's name is one). But there are also a number of cute characterisations, from the alien (and very Giger-styled) 'dog' that urinates acid to break its chain, to the astronaut's small 6-wheeled robot probe which, being called Rover', also behaves like an intelligent dog.

There were a number of places where we were laughing out loud, and I think we'll be buying this on disc when it comes out. In the meantime, this is recommended, if you can actually find it on a screen.

Planet 51

Nov. 29th, 2009 12:34 pm
bellinghman: (Default)
We went off to the cinema yesterday afternoon to see this rather engaging animated feature. Annoyingly, since 'it's a cartoon', and the latest instalment in the Twilight series is also out, it's getting limited showings (none in the evening at our normal film watching time).

Which is a shame, as it's not bad at all.

Planet 51 is effectively Planet 1951, being very like America in the 1950s. At least, like one if everyone has greenish skin, antennae and no nose, and the wheel has been displaced by levitation pads to such an extent that even a VW van hovers. But it has comic shops and the first sight of hippy protesters, and a xenophobia powered by films of alien invasion. Into this lands an astronaut, Chuck Baker, who's supposed to make a few steps out onto an uninhabited planet, plant Old Glory, and return to his command module, there to press the button that will fly him home again.

Sadly for him, the planet is far from uninhabited, and when he stumbles through a barbecue and gets separated from his craft, the anti-alien hysteria latches onto him, and he spends the rest of the film in jeopardy of getting either just left behind as the orbiter heads home automatically, or cut up for experiments in the infamous (and, of course, totally non-existent) Base 9. Happily for him, he has the help of a local, Lem, who is just starting his job as assistant at the local planetarium.

It's a delightful story, one that explicitly hangs a lampshade over the fact that both humans and aliens are speaking the same language, and implicitly hangs another one regarding the 1951-edness of the planet. There are a lot of nods to other SF films, from the Close Encounters cloud maelstrom to the E.T. bicycle in front of the moon, as well as other references (surely Lem's name is one). But there are also a number of cute characterisations, from the alien (and very Giger-styled) 'dog' that urinates acid to break its chain, to the astronaut's small 6-wheeled robot probe which, being called Rover', also behaves like an intelligent dog.

There were a number of places where we were laughing out loud, and I think we'll be buying this on disc when it comes out. In the meantime, this is recommended, if you can actually find it on a screen.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Flora Thompson: Lark Rise to Candleford

Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Folio Socienty
ISBN-10: (The Folio Society doesn't do ISBNs)
Category(ies): Fiction, Social History

The review ) I will be rereading this. My sister Dorcas (not to be confused etc.) apparently does so every couple of years.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Flora Thompson: Lark Rise to Candleford

Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Folio Socienty
ISBN-10: (The Folio Society doesn't do ISBNs)
Category(ies): Fiction, Social History

The review ) I will be rereading this. My sister Dorcas (not to be confused etc.) apparently does so every couple of years.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Richard Morgan: The Steel Remains

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (7 Aug 2008)
ISBN-10: 0575077921
ISBN-13: 978-0575077928
Category(ies): Fantasy

The review ) Recommended, if you're not squeamish.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Richard Morgan: The Steel Remains

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (7 Aug 2008)
ISBN-10: 0575077921
ISBN-13: 978-0575077928
Category(ies): Fantasy

The review ) Recommended, if you're not squeamish.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Howard Tayler: Schlock Mercenary: The Teraport Wars

Softcover: 224 pages
Publisher: The Tayler Corporation (October 2008)
ISBN-13: 978-0977907410
Category(ies): SF/Humour/Comic

The review ) Now awaiting Book 5: Out From Under New Management.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Howard Tayler: Schlock Mercenary: The Teraport Wars

Softcover: 224 pages
Publisher: The Tayler Corporation (October 2008)
ISBN-13: 978-0977907410
Category(ies): SF/Humour/Comic

The review ) Now awaiting Book 5: Out From Under New Management.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Vernor Vinge: The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Saint Martin's Press Inc.; 1st Orb Trade Pbk. Ed edition (30 Aug 2002)
ISBN-10: 0312875843
ISBN-13: 978-0312875848
Category(ies): SF

The review ) Recommended.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Vernor Vinge: The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Saint Martin's Press Inc.; 1st Orb Trade Pbk. Ed edition (30 Aug 2002)
ISBN-10: 0312875843
ISBN-13: 978-0312875848
Category(ies): SF

The review ) Recommended.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Many Happy Returns to [livejournal.com profile] slovobooks. Have a great day.

Next year in Northampton?
bellinghman: (Gro)
Many Happy Returns to [livejournal.com profile] slovobooks. Have a great day.

Next year in Northampton?
bellinghman: (Gro)
Robert Rankin: The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (10 Jul 2008)
ISBN-10: 0575082275
ISBN-13: 978-0575082274
Category(ies): Humorous SF

The review ) If you like Rankin, you probably already have this.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Robert Rankin: The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Gollancz (10 Jul 2008)
ISBN-10: 0575082275
ISBN-13: 978-0575082274
Category(ies): Humorous SF

The review ) If you like Rankin, you probably already have this.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Toby Frost: God Emperor of Didcot

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (2 Sep 2008)
ISBN-10: 1905802242
ISBN-13: 978-1905802241
Category(ies): Humorous SF

The review ) pleasant enough, and rarely makes me wince.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Toby Frost: God Emperor of Didcot

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (2 Sep 2008)
ISBN-10: 1905802242
ISBN-13: 978-1905802241
Category(ies): Humorous SF

The review ) pleasant enough, and rarely makes me wince.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Gardner Dozois (Ed): The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 21

Paperback: 768 pages
Publisher: Robinson Publishing (11 Sep 2008)
Language English
ISBN-10: 1845298284
ISBN-13: 978-1845298289
Category(ies): SF

Review forthcoming in Vector. Short summary - high quality, and a lot of content.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Gardner Dozois (Ed): The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 21

Paperback: 768 pages
Publisher: Robinson Publishing (11 Sep 2008)
Language English
ISBN-10: 1845298284
ISBN-13: 978-1845298289
Category(ies): SF

Review forthcoming in Vector. Short summary - high quality, and a lot of content.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Toby Frost: Space Captain Smith

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (6 May 2008)
ISBN-10: 1905802137
ISBN-13: 978-1905802135
Category(ies): Humorous SF

The review ) A promising debut. I bought the sequel.
bellinghman: (Gro)
Toby Frost: Space Captain Smith

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd (6 May 2008)
ISBN-10: 1905802137
ISBN-13: 978-1905802135
Category(ies): Humorous SF

The review ) A promising debut. I bought the sequel.

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