What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this animated alien comedy earns its PG rating with a fair bit of sexualized humor -- including jokes about anal probing and penises which may go over younger kids' head (though middle schoolers won't be duped -- in fact, they'll probably find it hilarious). There's also some mostly mild violence -- though weapons are involved -- as the alien army attempts to capture and subdue a human astronaut (voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson), as well as references to a maniacal doctor's desire to suck out Chuck's brain for scientific reasons. The language is mostly tame ("moron" and "stupid"), if disrespectful; beyond the sometimes-crude jokes, the sexuality revolves around one character's infatuation with another, which culminates in a kiss. Despite taking place on another planet, there are a few brands featured in the movie, including Volkswagen, Twix, and iPods.
  • Families can talk about how the movie plays on the media's standard jokes about and portrayal of aliens. Who is the "real" alien in Planet 51? How do the movies and comic books that characters read on Planet 51 affect the way its population reacts to Chuck?
  • What purpose do all of the pop culture references -- particularly to well-known movies -- serve? Is it funny? Is it original?
  • To what kind of movies is Planet 51 an homage? How are the '50s portrayed?
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