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Review: Monsters vs Aliens

Monsters vs Aliens
03.27.2009
6 10

PLOT: Susan Murphy is about to have the best day of her life. She is getting married to a man she loves and he is planning on a honeymoon in Paris. But soon, things get ugly as she is informed that Paris has turned into a quick vacation in Fresno and then a giant meteorite falls down upon the earth and thus messes her and her dress up. It doesn’t help matters that once the wedding begins, she soon starts to grow about fifty feet high. Almost immediately, the government finds out about this gigantic woman, and she is taken in with a group of monsters which the US keeps tucked away from public knowledge. But when an alien life form begins to cause some ruckus in the good ole’ US of A, the monsters are given a chance to defeat the alien. If they can do that, they will be rewarded their freedom.

REVIEW: I loved the idea behind MONSTERS VS. ALIENS as I am a big fan of old science fiction movies. My love started early as I made a serious effort to watch them when I was young. From ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WOMAN to THE BLOB, each one I enjoyed whenever they were on television. After all, I needed my introduction to horror, and that was a great place to start. So the idea of seeing these famous monsters given new life in a family friendly animated film seemed like it could be absolutely brilliant. So the question is, did I find myself in awe of a masterful 3D animated monster movie experience? Eh, not so much. I did however like it enough thanks in part to the amazing 3D technology and a couple of clever beasties, including a hilarious B.O.B. (voiced by Seth Rogen) and a charming as usual Reese Witherspoon as a monstrosity named… Susan!

Don’t get me wrong, while I wasn’t necessarily wowed by MVA, I did enjoy it some, mostly for the sheer nostalgia I guess. But while that little bit of classic science fiction was certainly injected with some love, I felt that it could have been more. The humor, and much of the dialogue feels very modern and sort of basic. There are certainly some charming moments involving the monsters together, but when the story drifted into alien territory, I lost a little of the joy I had. The main space invader named Gallaxhar (voiced by Rainn Wilson) was a tiny bit annoying, albeit Rainn certainly was able to give him a little life. But for some reason, this character didn’t quite charm me as much as the others. His story felt a bit paint by numbers with a couple of funny quips and the usual bad guy persona. But then again, it is a kids flick so he can’t be too dangerous.

I did however love the way it all began. When Susan Murphy is getting ready for her wedding day to self-involved newscaster Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd), she finds herself in a frightening situation. When a meteorite crashes down and ends up hitting the young woman, the radiation causes her to grow to an enormous height. This little issue kind of ruins her wedding day and not surprisingly, she is soon kidnapped by a government agency. Once she arrives, she realizes that she is being kept with a handful of other “monsters” including B.O.B., Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), The Missing Link (Will Arnett) and Insectosaurus (a large and cuddly insect). There is nothing surprising as the misfit monsters find a family in each other as they are never to be released into the public again. But of course, once a massive alien life form crashes down on earth and begins to cause some trouble, the man in charge of the beasties, General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) convinces the President (Stephen Colbert) to release them if they help fight the uber gigantic E.T.

Again, I really like the relationship with the monsters a whole lot. And I definitely think there is something to be gained for children to see a movie like this. It is quite safe for the young ones and I doubt very many will have any nightmares from either monster nor alien. And for them, it will be a fun time at the movies with some pretty funny moments that will be accessible enough for mom and pop to not feel like they’re being tortured. MVA plays it safe, in fact, too safe. As the story progresses, it feels like a run of the mill animated feature. It didn’t have the heart that it could have and the science fiction opportunities were underused. I would have loved to see some of that “Classic Sci-Fi” style injected into the film more heavily. But it is certainly worth checking out if it is showing in 3D in your area. This was easily the most impressive part of the film as the effects are clear and truly beautiful. While I absolutely loved the recent CORALINE and found it to be a far superior film to this, the 3D for that was not nearly as shockingly impressive as it was here.

So what it comes down to is a somewhat missed opportunity as the influences could have been used much better and the story could have been a little less generic. But that is not to say that you won’t have an enjoyable time. There are a handful of laughs, a cute blob thingy and incredible 3D to keep you entertained. While it certainly falls short in comparison to WALL-E or the previously mentioned CORALINE, it is still fun enough that it won’t feel like you’ve been abducted by a lousy film… just a harmlessly entertaining one. My rating 6/10 -- JimmyO

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Source: JoBlo.com

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