Movie #4: Planet Terror (2007)

The fourth film in my 31 Movies in 31 Days challenge is Planet Terror, part one of the Grindhouse feature from Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. This will be the first film in the challenge that I have watched before and also the first based in the states. It’s also features the most gore of the films I have watched so far.

Planet Terror is the rare example of America being more weird than Japan.

Planet Terror is the rare example of America being more weird than Japan.

Planet Terror, also known as the film that spawned a thousand Machetes, was a film that I watched at release in theaters. The first of the two Grindhouse films release generated a lot of excitement among my friends both leading up to and after the release. We were left quoting it over and over again. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard: “Best in Texas” and “I’m gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge.” Planet Terror was one of the best movie-going experiences I have ever had, with the numerous fake trailers and the gritty, self-aware presentation. While Planet Terror is a good standalone film, seeing it makes me wish I could watch Grindhouse in theaters again.

Wendy Peffercorn just sits there lotioning and oiling and shooting people with needles

At the time, Robert Rodriguez was a name that generated considerable excitement, especially considering he was fresh off the heels of Sin City, one of the coolest films ever made. Sadly, I think this is the last good film that Robert Rodriguez has made. His name being attached to a film makes me question my anticipation anymore. Since Planet Terror was released, we’ve seen a slew of Machete films, a poor Sin City Sequel, and what I assume is a Jonny Quest that is going to feature Danny Trejo as Hadji. He’s gone down hill and has started making poor niche films, and something needs to change.

You’re looking at your new Hadji. Jonny Quest will be played by Rebel Rodriguez.

It’s disjointed at times, and filled with continuity errors (only some of which are deliberate), but that’s not what you’re thinking when you’re having a watch. You’re thinking about what over-the top gimmick is coming next. Planet Terror still holds up though. Every character, no matter how insignificant to the story, seemingly has an exhaustive backstory, and buckets of charm. You want to know more about them and hear their next witticism. It’s a trait not many films have. Not only are the characters multi-dimensional, but the action gives a considerable amount of fan-service too, making you not want to look down at your popcorn when you eat it.

It’s a film that’s worth watching. It’s also a sad reminder that some filmmakers lose their luster after a while. For all that it lacks, it is not a film that will leave you wanting. In my opinion, it’s Rodriguez’s second best, only to Sin City. I give it 4.2 LEGO arms out of 5.

A solid severed LEGO arm score.

I’m gonna eat your brains and gain your knowledge.

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