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Monsters vs. Aliens

Movie title: Monster vs. Aliens (2009)
Spoilers ahead: No

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Monster vs. Aliens is a big, bulgy-eyed, animation movie that tries to boast its value in a 3D presentation. Flashy, but only occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, it's a kid's movie without an appeal to intellect. An all-star voice cast – with the likes of Keiffer Sutherland (who happens to be a remarkable voice actor), Amy Poehler, and Renee Zellwigger – does little to offset the obtuse-ness of the film.

Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is an ordinary girl. She's getting married to jazzy TV news anchor Derick Dietl (Paul Rudd). Well, that was before a meteor fell and transformed this ordinary girl into a nearly 50-foot-tall giant-ette whom the government has taken the liberty of capturing and renaming “Ginormica.”

Her fellow monster captives are a brilliant doctor-turned-cockroach "Dr. Cockroach, PH.D" (Hugh Laurie), a ball of slime that has the hots for ordinary tabletop jello molds "B.O.B." (Seth Rogen), a charmer who shares DNA with a lizard-like creature "The Missing Link" (Will Arnett), and a thousand-foot-tall caterpillar "Insectosaurus," all of whom have been pinned up by the government for a very long time. Though scorned by a judgmental public, their monstrousness is going to come in handy when Earth is attacked by aliens impervious to military weapons (kind of a nice plot that pays homage to a corny Japanese Godzilla movie or a sci-fi epic from the 1950s, wouldn't you say?)

Creative visuals do not hide skip-along plot points that, quite frankly, are not well thought-out. For instance, of the two times Susan gets captured, her captors always manage to have a change of clothes ready for her giant body. That's odd! She may contain "quantonium," the element that makes her grow, but she's easily captured—and by humans who miraculously know how and where to instantly appear right where a newly mutated girl happens to be made. Somehow, the government can contain her, and yet they can't contain the threat they need her to liquidate. I know it's just a kid's movie, but where is it written that kid's movies get a pass on having gaping plot holes?

A lot of things aren't addressed, like where she plans to sleep or live, but a family-friendly and fun story largely sidesteps these concerns. It's PG-rated for combat action and some crude humor, but it doesn't cross the line into being too violent or risqué for younger viewers. Fast-moving but only sometimes funny, Monsters vs. Aliens makes off with a respectable two-and-a-half stars.

(JH)

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Grade: C+ (2 ½ stars)
Rated: PG
Summation: A young girl is turned into a giant and finds that she and her fellow monster friends must save the earth from aliens.
Directors: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon
Starring (voice cast): Reese Witherspoon “Susan Murphy” / “Ginormica,” Seth Rogen “B.O.B.,” Hugh Laurie “Dr. Cockroach Ph.D.,” Will Arnett “The Missing Link,” Kiefer Sutherland “General W.R. Monger,” Rainn Wilson “Gallaxhar,” Stephen Colbert “President Hathaway,” Paul Rudd “Derek Dietl,” Julie White “Wendy Murphy,” Jeffrey Tambor “Carl Murphy,” Amy Poehler “Computer”
Genre: Animation / Action / Sci-Fi

Comments

  1. I saw this unfortunately after I saw Up and was sorely disappointed. Although not horrible per se it is just a lot less than what I expected.

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