Planet Terror review

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A review of Planet Terror

"live" from the International Film Festival of Locarno

The lovely Italian town of Locarno, Switzerland is the venue for the premiere of Planet Terror, Robert Rodriguez' homage to zombie flicks of the Romero and Carpenter type. The screening is open air, the audience is mixed, the weather is nice, and the screen is enormously huge. What better way to see Planet Terror, and when the Grindhouse letters in bloody red appear on the screen and all speakers in this town plaza blast with the screeching sound, I get goosebumps. They're in for a wild ride, I'm thinking. And a wild ride it was. Again.

Planet Terror is RR at his best. Not a minute of the film is without a purpose, the screenplay is brushed and fixed to the dot. The writing and the characters are so three-dimensional, and every character has his or her perfect place. The entire movie feels like one smooth piece. There's not a word of dialog wasted, not a scene is there just for the sake of it. Planet Terror is an exercise in style and film making, RR showing off his talent in a hundred minute roller coaster ride that leaves you laughing and screaming till the end. Explosions, gore, jokes, cleavage, violence, suspense. A by-the-book thrill ride! While there were again people who walked out, and yes the festival program had a warning in there that this movie is no film for wimps, you have to be honest and say that this film does have its intense and violent moments. Why does it work so well? Because of the said details. Each character is a piece of a huge puzzle, and RR is the jigsaw master. His editing, his script, his music, the effects, they are the glue, and the final result is a film that is so smooth and so non-stop entertaining that it puts all its predecessors to shame. It is not only very funny in numerous moments, it is also very dramatic, romantic, explosive, sexy and intense at the same time. He manages to squeeze into this little film as much content as he could, and since he's a MexiCAN, there's lots of content.

What does the stand-alone version of Planet Terror do differently from its faster-paced and shorter Grindhouse version? First of all, Robert was kind enough to attach the Machete trailer to the feature, so that was especially satisfying. Also, one of the main aspects he extended on, were the marital row between the Dakotas. More material is adding to the menacing tension between the two. There is also some more gory goodness here and there, some aspects have been extended on and Sheriff Earl McGraw's appearance is not so sudden anymore. As with Death Proof, the missing reels are still there, which proves the theory that they were always intended as a stylistic device, and unlike that lap dance, there's really nothing more to see after the print seems to dissolve over Rose McGowan's delightful curves, so the joke that built on that missing reel is still there. All in all, the little longer version puts a bit more fun and tension into the film but not really that much.

Fans will fall in love with El Wray, Cherry, Dakota and J.T.. That bunch of survivalists and their fight against the sickos will go down as one of the most entertaining and out of control flicks that has come out of Texas since I don't know when. Planet Terror delivers pure Troublemaker-style galore and proves that you don't need disgusting torture porn to make a great splatter flick that entertains. Two legs up ;-)

--Sebastian 01:48, 11 August 2007 (CEST)

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