Planet 51 poster2009 is turning out to be a banner year for the animated feature film, but unfortunately, Sony Pictures' new offering, Planet 51, isn't exactly turning up near the top of the heap. The animation, to be sure, is outstanding, and I may as well start with that because it's the first thing I noticed. But for an animated film to really strike me as memorable these days it has to be something more than just for the kids, and Planet 51, while not a total children's movie, is made almost entirely for them. Not that that's a bad thing, of course. I could rattle off a whole list of kid's movies that I absolutely love (Flight of the Navigator will never get old, for example), but the childish humor, much of which falls completely flat anyway, starts to pile up pretty quick.So the gimmick, as you know, is that instead of aliens invading earth and then generating whatever response from humans that will be most appealing to the movie's target audience, an American astronaut lands on an alien planet - modeled so closely after 1950's America (right down to the title, as it were), that everyone speaks English and listens to American 50s music - and then has to find his way off the planet and back home before the local, American-style military units turn him over to their scientists for experimentation and probing. It's a clever idea to have an alien invasion taking place the other way around, but I wouldn't have minded if the alien civilzation wasn't exactly like America. And it's not like I'm asking for a totally new world or entirely new languages or anything - Tolkien didn't write this thing, after all but I can't stop the feeling that there was a gaping hole in the creative process somewhere along the way.Chuck encounters his first alien.Then again, it seems perfectly natural that the society that Chuck (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), the stranded American astronaut, encounters is based on 1950s America, since alien invasions were a major topic around here back then, as a quick stroll through the classics section at your local video store will tell you. Besides, at least it rains rocks, which is at least a stab in the dark at something different. Sadly, I'm going to go ahead and argue that recent memories of precipitating meatballs is still monopolizing the curiosity factor in the solid rain department. Chuck soon befriends the local science whiz, Lem (Justin Long), who wows his audiences by describing how their universe is five hundred miles long and contains thousands of stars. His lack of knowledge illustrates the technological know-how of his people, and also some of the best comedy in the movie.Planet 51But as entertainment for the kids, Planet 51 is perfectly acceptable, even commendable. The youngsters in the audience were all having a blast when I saw the movie, and it's still entertaining enough that the adults will chuckle along with the kids, at least knowing that they're having such a good time. I certainly wasn't blown away, but the movie is enjoyable enough despite a few overly immature moments. The worst part doesn't come until the very end when the movie's message is spoon-fed to us like we're all squabbling babies (this is one of my least favorite things that any movie ever does), but even though the movie will be summarily consumed by the sheer weight of it's animated competition, I don't see much wrong with a movie that remembers it's genre's original audience.The Bean MeterThe Man.