Written by Maya Forbes &, Wallace Wolodarsky
and Rob Letterman and Jonathan Aibel
& Glenn Berger
Directed by Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon
Running Time: 1:34
for sci-fi action,
some crude humor and mild language.
Monsters vs. Aliens was a fun movie that is markedly better because it is in 3D.
For years the government has been stockpiling Monsters because well, they'd scare too many people. But now, with an Alien invasion happening, it is time for the Monsters to come up from underground and help save the world. There's a big blob called B.O.B., the Missing Link, a brilliant cockroach, a gigantic bug and Susan, who was supposed to be married to a news anchor but instead grew to be a few stories high. Together they will fight the Alien invaders and same humankind.
The big thing about Monsters vs. Aliens is that it's in 3D. If this were a standard 2D film (still in computer animation) it wouldn't be very exciting... but add in 3D and it's a whole new ballgame. The story is fairly standard. The problem is that we never really learn a whole lot about these Monsters... we see how they're created but after that not much. Why would these creatures, after being locked up in a government facility for decades, want to help save the world? Yes they're apparently being granted their freedom, but why not just escape? Or am I thinking too much about an animated movie that involves a big purple blob? The bad guy wasn't very well defined either... either the character or his reason for attacking Earth. The voices however were pretty good. I didn't find Reese Witherspoon annoying as Susan, and Hugh Laurie was almost unrecognizable as the mad scientist/cockroach. I know he has an English accent in real life (as opposed to on TV) but this was a different English accent. The man is talented. I loved Seth Rogan as the big blob - it just seemed to fit. And Keifer Sutherland barking out orders as a military guy was almost second nature.
There are a lot of references to old Sci-Fi films, everything from E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to Godzilla and, yes, The Blob. Some of them are rather obvious and some aren't but it was fun trying to figure out what classic film they were parodying. The one nice thing about animated movies these days is that the humor isn't just for kids. The writers tend to throw in a lot of humor that adults will get that kids either won't understand, or will laugh it because the visual is funny. Which means that parents will end up wanting to see this movie as much as their kids do.
But the real draw to the movie is the intense 3D action sequences. The movie actually starts in outer space and it is incredible to look at. Very quickly we get the first moment where something is coming straight at the camera and for a few, it was kind of shocking and unexpected. After that we see beautiful renderings of a small town where you feel right at home. The non-action sequences aren't as exciting of course, but you get to see what really good animation looks like. The action sequences however are the main reasons people will want to see this over and over again. You really feel like you're in the middle of the action. The 3D glasses, which fit rather easily over my normal glasses, are comfortable and you don't constantly feel like you're seeing something you're not supposed to. It makes for a very entertaining movie experience. Since the powers that be in the entertainment world keep telling us 3D is here to stay, this is the first real test of that optimistic view. Yes, there have been a lot of 3D films in the last few years (My Bloody Valentine to me is still the best use of the technique) but this movie is supposed to be the one that truly launches us into the 3D age. I hope it works.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I liked Monsters vs. Aliens mainly because of the tremendous 3D effects. The movie itself was so-so, but let's face it, everything looks better in 3D.
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