I've seen controversially negative views criticised for being based less around the product as a whole, and more around expectations. With a movie like Planzet, you could convincingly say the same about me, for I went into this movie expecting fantastic CGI mecha action with an epic storyline. However, allow me to dismiss this argument - it isn't exactly easy to go into this expecting otherwise when said mechas feature prominently in the trailers and on the cover. Yes, I'm really not going to sugarcoat this - I normally really enjoy a lot of sci-fi products from the East, but no joke - this is honestly one of the most crushingly insubstantial Japanese products I've ever come across in my life.
The first problem is that in spite of their prominence in the advertising and the packaging, the admittedly well-designed mechas only really show up for one scene, and like much of the movie, it feels like it goes by too quickly, with two characters getting killed off in a desperate attempt to try and get the audience to feel melancholy emotions. That may seem like a spoiler, but they have so little emotional impact even when you don't know what's coming, I doubt spoiling it makes any difference.
The movie's visual style is the only good point of the movie, because with the large epic battles occurring, it does feel like there's a lot of visual talent on display, and I did enjoy the one moment which did milk the mecha aspect for all its worth. However, said feeling of triumph is completely undermined by some extremely shoddy characterization. I have serious trouble trying to get myself to sympathize with the uncanny-valley CGI paper dolls when they're barely given time to actually develop something like, oh, I don't know...a personality. I mean, it's not as if getting audiences to feel empathy for your characters is how to engage them, or anything! This leads into the other big problem with this movie - it's a 45-minute feature, in the same vein as Hellsing Ultimate and Dead Leaves, which I both loved. But there are key differences there - Hellsing Ultimate was a multi-part OVA series, while Dead Leaves wasn't trying to tell a story any grander than, "Two amnesiac criminals organise a mass prison-break on the moon". For Planzet, the 45-minute running time (Not including the end credits) was a seriously bad idea. It crushes any semblance of character development into a brief moment too small to appreciate, and makes the movie feel less epic and more overdesigned.
The small cast also bothered me throughout the whole movie. For a film all about epic battles, it really doesn't feel as if the stakes are particularly high. The story goes that the majority of the earth has moved to Mars to escape from an alien threat. If that's the case, and there really are only a small handful of people left on earth, why bother trying to take them down on Earth at all? This makes the whole plotline with the superweapons "Planzet" and "Kairos" (The latter introduced out of nowhere in a masterful stroke of lazy storytelling which contradicts the tagline on the cover of there being "no plan B") seem completely pointless, and the near elimination of the human element lowers the stakes, and breaks the immersion for me. They probably explained this somewhere in the movie, but with storytelling as dull and lazy as this, I'd have to be bribed to watch the movie again just to find it.
Overall, Planzet really came across as the sort of project which would have best had the art designer's talents elsewhere. I would honestly like to see a full feature-length or serial mecha series from these art designers, only with less plot holes, an actual well-handled feeling of grandeur, a brighter, more appealing colour palette, and characters that don't feel like they were lifted from an exaggerated, angstier rendition of Primer. Planzet is a total disappointment all around, and at 45 minutes, excluding the end credits, it's not only shoddy storytelling, but even when you take into account the financial rammifications of Animé licensing, it's terrible value for money. Not recommended.