Sunday, December 18, 2011
#259: Planet Terror
Planet Terror written and directed by Robert Rodriguez is one half of a double-feature movie called Grindhouse that featured Death Proof (directed by Tarantino) as the second film. The two filmmakers known for their unique brand of filmmaking go back a long way as friends and this was their combined effort plugged as one. As filmmakers even in the past, the two had collaborated in various capacities on each other's films but this was the first co-production. It does sound like a dream thing to happen - two friends making one common movie and selling it together. Except that the movies themselves didn't do too well and Grindhouse till date remains one of Tarantino's least successful ventures.
Planet Terror had a good idea going for itself - with the look of an 80s film- it takes you through events in a small-town in Texas when three mutants escape from a military base and create havoc turning ordinary residents into ugly blood-thirsty zombies. But if you don't have patience to go through it, the film can become a tortuous experience to go through. For example, 281 people are killed in a movie duration of 105 minutes and as you can see from the poster- bizarre will not even begin to describe some of the events in the film. But that's what Planet Terror is all about- celebrating the ridiculous and making a parody of it. In a strange way, the very things that work for the film are the things that might irk you after a while - the over-the-top coolness quotient of the characters especially Freddy Rodriguez, the silly sequences towards the end by Rose McGowan and an overall kitschy feel of the film. This is a medley or almost a tribute of the action, slasher and horror films of the past and if none of these three appeal to you, you should steer clear of the film.
The story also written by Robert Rodriguez is simple but treated quite inventively. But even after the style and mood is set, you don't quite get absorbed into this parallel universe. Rodriguez trusts this mood to carry the film through but beyond a point it doesn't. But you must watch Planet Terror if you have a feel for movies that push the boundaries beyond the ordinary. For that, Rodriguez deserves more than just a passive applause and you can consider that my rating below here accounts for a large percentage for that leap that Rodriguez takes as a filmmaker.