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Planet Terror (SE)
DVD disk
Oct 16, 2007 By: Jason Adams
Planet Terror (SE) order
Director:
Robert Rodriguez

Actors:
Rose McGowan
Freddy Rodriguez
Marley Shelton

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a toxic biochemical is released in a small town, a group of strangers must band together to survive the plague of infected “sickos” who want nothing more than to sample their flesh.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
A girl with an M4 carbine assault rifle for a leg; that’s either the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen or it’s so awesome your face melts like Nazis just opened the Ark of the Covenant. If you fit in the latter category, PLANET TERROR easily qualifies as one of the most entertaining and satisfying movies of the year.

Even though the machine gun appendage only makes a fairly brief (but glorious) appearance near the end, PLANET TERROR still reaches near-illegal levels of fun. I mean, what’s not to love here? Lethally hot women (Rose McGowan was built for this movie—both physically and performance-wise), some badass dudes (Jeff Fahey and Michael Biehn as brothers…genius) and more than enough gore, goo and splatter to fill twenty horror movies. Most of all Robert Rodriguez nails the tone, look and feel in his half of GRINDHOUSE, complete with his signature creative carnage and blend of practical-digital effects. It’s filled with moments both cringe inducing and applause worthy (and one instance of “Holy hell, I can’t believe Rodriguez just did that!”). And with a groovy synth score, the result seriously feels like John Carpenter kidnapped George Romero and took the Delorean back to the 1980s to make an unapologetic movie of that era with a modern day budget.

PLANET TERROR fits in the genre it’s honoring so perfectly that it’s almost tongue in cheek in nature. After the missing reel kicks in, the movie goes absolutely insane; from El Wray rocking the pocket bike to liquid-filled hit and runs to helicopter decapitations, it borders on too much insanity without ever crossing the line. The missing reel gag itself is a genius meta nod to the genre. It’s hilarious in how it’s used, but more importantly allows Rodriguez to cut to the glorious chase in a way that filmmakers can only dream of. This means it leaves you with a cool sense of backstory and answered questions, but skips the boring exposition parts and instead concentrates on having fun. So much fun, you just might lose your balls.
THE EXTRAS
The Extended and Unrated cut doesn’t offer nearly as much new footage as DEATH PROOF, but it is punctuated by some more gore and a few extra character moments. (The missing reel, thank God, is still missing.) The second disc of bonus material offers a nice splattering of extras.

MACHETE Trailer: The fantastic trailer for the not-yet-existent Danny Trejo movie is thankfully included and plays before the feature film.

Commentary by Robert Rodriguez: The one man filmmaking army always gives informative and entertaining talks and this one is no exception. From cast to effects, if you enjoy the film you’ll definitely get something out of this track. It’s always reassuring for aspiring filmmakers to hear this guy live his dream in his own terms.

Audience Reaction Track: If there’s one movie that you want to hear an eager audience scream, laugh and groan throughout, it’s definitely this one. When I saw GRINDHOUSE in the theaters opening weekend it was unfortunately empty, so this track gave me the experience I was looking for.

10 Minute Film School (11:51): This is fairly short, but oh so sweet. Rodriguez goes through pretty much all the big “how did they do that?” parts of the movie and shows you…how they did it. From the machine gun leg to the makeup to the gore (both practical and CG), this’ll show you what a creative madman Rodriguez is.

The Badass Babes of PLANET TERROR (11:49): Should I be concerned that the sexy babysitter twins are Rodriguez’s own nieces? (Nah.) Anyways, as expected, this offers look at each female cast member, with interviews and little bits of trivia, including how Quentin Tarantino randomly bit Fergie.

The Guys of PLANET TERROR (16:31): The chromosomal opposite of the previous extra.

Casting Rebel (5:34): Rodriguez talks about the experience of having his own son Rebel play the Marley Shelton’s kid, which if you’ve seen the movie adds an interesting dimension to things. [Spoiler: The man actually shot alternate footage throughout the film where the kid lives, in case his son ever asks to see the movie].

The Stunts of Planet Terror (13:17): “Annnnd zombie action!” Your basic look at the stunts and fights covering all the major set pieces.

The Friend, The Doctor and the Real Estate Agent (6:42): A handful of the different supporting actors in the movie are actually just random people Rodriguez knows and decided to put in the movie. I want to be friends with you, Robert Rodriguez. (My email is above.)

There’s also a Poster Gallery, Trailers and Previews. And if you’re like me and looking for Rodriguez’s trademark 10 Minute Cooking School, he assures you it’ll be on upcoming double-disc Grindhouse DVD and will reveal Jeff Fahey’s secret barbeque recipe.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
PLANET TERROR is an over-the-top, nonstop blast of a movie that’ll please its audience as much as it makes them squirm. I know it sucks that we can’t get the whole GRINDHOUSE experience on DVD just yet (Rodriguez even plugs the upcoming combined set in the extras). But if you can’t wait to own this movie—and who could blame you—I think you’ll be pleased with this pre-emptive release.

Extra Tidbit: Listen to the radio in Fergie’s car for a timely connection to DEATH PROOF. Zoe Bell also has a cameo if you’re quick enough to spot it.
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