Friday, March 27, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens

Finally some truth in advertising. From the title alone you should know whether Monsters vs. Aliens is going to be your cup of tea. Do you want to see animated monsters fight animated aliens? If so, here's your chance.

Susan Murphy's (Reese Witherspoon) wedding day is ruined when the power from a strange asteroid makes her grow into a 50-foot woman. For her own safety she is detained by the government and sent to a top-secret lab to be housed with other monsters including the not so bright blob B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), the half-bug/half-man mad scientist Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), the Missing Link (Will Arnett), and the massive Insectasoris.

The monsters are released by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland, in a pretty forgettable role), and offered their freedom for their assistance when an alien Squidbilly (Rainn Wilson) attacks the planet looking for the powerful meteorite and not caring who he has to kill to get it.

The writing isn't great and there are certainly some plot holes large enough for Insectasoris to easily stroll through (such as why are these monsters so eager to help the humans who have been imprisoning them for years?). Also troubling is the fact that the humans in the film, aside from Susan, are either blander than beige (and that includes Stephen Colbert's turn as the President, though he does get a nice Close Encounters of the Third Kind moment) or simply annoying as they run around screaming. Thankfully, the monsters themselves (especially Rogen's B.O.B) are an awful lot of fun.

I do have some concerns about who the film is marketed towards. The silliness seems to be aimed at young kids, however several of the younger children at the screening I attended were frightened by the film's creatures, especially early on. Older children and pre-teens should be fine, but if you have real little ones you might want to wait until they're a little older before showing them this one.

If all your looking for is some is monster-on-alien action here's the film for you. It's not a great film, animated or otherwise, but it's enjoyable enough, and kids who aren't creeped out should have a fun time.

Monsters vs. Aliens is also being released in both 3-D and in IMAX; sadly the screening I attended was neither. I was a little disappointed, especially since I really dug the look of the film (including the monsters, aliens, robots, and backgrounds). While watching I could tell how certain scenes were shot and framed to take advantage of the 3-D format and my curiosity was piqued at how the film would look in an extra dimension. If you've got the opportunity to see it in 3-D I'd recommend it, but, if not, you should still be able to have a fine time at the movies.

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