In 2047 Earth is getting ready to send colonists to Mars when they are attacked by the FOS, who turn up in a huge meteor/mothership with some suspiciously Independence Day looking ships. A huge amount of humanity is exterminated before Earth manages to throw up a plasma shield to keep them out. We follow Taishi Akejima 6 years later, a young man and part of the Japanese division of the Planetary Defense Forces Alliance (PDFA) as they enact a last ditch plan to annihilate the FOS, which if unsuccessful will leave the Earth entirely open to attack, a plan called PLANZET.
Usually at this point I’d describe some more spoiler free story for you, but there’s not really much to describe. There are very few characters, they’re all 2D and you won’t care about any of them, by the end I’d be surprised if you could recall any of their names, I couldn’t, I had to look up the protagonists name in order mention him just now. What you may well do is join me in scratching your head as you watch this because it makes very little sense.
We’re led to understand that there’s not many humans left, sure, but the three pilots the Japanese PDFA have are really the best they had? Really, these three random people with little or no backstory? A better story would take hold of this point and make something out of it, but here’s it’s just presented as ‘well everyone else is dead, so, uh, moving on…’. They are equipped with some pretty awesome giant mech suits, secret weapons never used against the FOS before since they are very adaptable against weapons and tactics encountered before. But apparently they didn’t bother giving them much ammo – they went to all the trouble of developing these things and armed them like you would a basic soldier, but forgot any extra ammo or a weapons loadout that actually makes any sense? Usually I’d be fine with a giant mech suit breaking out a sword for the ‘rule of cool’ factor (and hey, it’s Japanese, what do you expect?), but it’s just blatantly absurd here when it happens and grates on you. And the last third of the film is so nonsensical it’s painful to even think about.
Supposedly there’s a brother sister story in there we should care about as right at the start we see Taishi with his sister and father right before the father gets killed offscreen by the coming of the FOS, and Taishi wants her to escape to Mars but she’s uncooperative – but it’s just so badly done you won’t be paying attention. More time will be spent in your mind wondering about the clearly insane boss of Japan’s PDFA whose actions are consistently completely ridiculous and not really justified at all.
In conclusion, the story is a mess. The setting is fine, but this wasn’t the story to tell in it, at least not like this. It feels like especially bad fan fiction in that there’s a nicely established world, the concept of which is at least fairly interesting, but then the story feels written by someone else, it’s poor melodrama with a couple of interesting action set pieces and then whole loads of ‘what the hell?’ for everything else. At 50 minutes long it’s either way too short or way too long depending on how you look at it. A shorter film might have worked better with what plot there is, a longer film might have allowed characters to be better establish and developed and hopefully the writers enough time to write something with a bit more sense to it.
The CGI does look rather nice, there are moments where it looks amazing in fact, but not all of the character models are up to the same level, some look far more realistic than others. The backgrounds are uniformly beautiful however with some exceptional photorealism on occasion. The dub is OK, but didn’t pull me in and I didn’t notice the music, so it’s doing its job but wouldn’t be worth tracking down separately. There are no extras on this disk, so I can’t even say there are some of those that are worth looking at.
I’d find it very hard to recommend this. The CGI is nice, sure, but it’s not earth shattering and the story is just so insipid and barely there that it doesn’t feel worth while paying attention. Tekken: Blood Vengeance (as reviewed here and here) was also pretty but not worth much as a story (unless you play the games), but if you really must buy a nice looking CGI film with nothing to offer storywise, go with Tekken.
Planzet is being released on 27th August and is available to order now on Amazon.
Planzet [DVD] – £13.99