The Perfect Planet stars Russ Kingston, as Jacob, an older man who has dedicated his life to his career of searching for extraterrestrial life across the galaxy. Accompanying Jacob on his last mission before he retires is the younger Ethan (Kenneth Sears). This is one of Ethan’s first explorations, to the point that Jacob needs to show “the kid” how to use some of the tech involved properly.
Ethan is excitedly talking about the prospects of new life on different worlds, as Jacob shoots him down; one may forgive Jacob for being such a cynic, as he’s been doing this so long and has never found anything. But, among the rocky terrain and deserts of this planet, Ethan does find something. As he mulls over what to name his discovery, Jacob’s jealous begins to rise. Then the unthinkable happens, and the alien life-form escapes, biting Ethan in the process. Will Jacob be able to set aside his resentments to save his colleague? Or does the darker side of humanity take its toll on him? Is the scorpion-like creature truly violent, or just defending itself from invaders?
Written and directed by Brandon Kaplan, The Perfect Planet runs just over 11-minutes long. While there is little backstory, and the federation or company the leads work for is not even named, much less explained, Kaplan has a lot to say about desperation. Jacob is tired but is also desperate to be remembered, as he has little to show for his years of dedicated service otherwise.
This is what leads him to try and steal the extraterrestrial from Ethan. While he may go to far, the impulse is relatable and understandable. Ethan’s bright-eyed naivete and excitement about his new position are also relatable. So while there might not be much depth to these two, what is there does work.
“…the alien life-form escapes, biting Ethan…”
The CGI used to bring the beetle-scorpion hybrid to life is not too shabby, considering the resources available. The design is okay, seemingly paying homage to a few of bugs from Starship Troopers. The problem comes when the actors are holding the alien in their hands (not in the container it is later put in), as it is obvious they are not actually gripping anything.
Kingston is quite good as the jealous retiree. He plays the action beats well enough, and his bubbling rage is papable. As the young man brimming with excitement, Sears is a lot of fun. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he sells the harm that befalls his character believably.
Without giving too much away, the ending of this short sci-fi tale is perfect. What it says about human nature and forgiving those who transgress against us is powerful. For all the little flaws in the movie, The Perfect Planet is worth the brief time investment for the ending alone.
The Perfect Planet is anchored by two solid performances, an interesting alien life-form, and a script with a lot to say about sin and human nature. These elements intrigue the audience, causing them to stay with the movie through its flaws, such as the lack of explanation for who Ethan and Jacob work for.
"…what it says about human nature and forgiving those who transgress against us is powerful."