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Monsters vs. Aliens

A movie directed by Conrad Vernon

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Monstrous Hype Meets Most Expectations

  • Oct 31, 2010
Rating:
+4

While it isn’t oft publicized, Pixar and DreamWorks have quite a little game of swapping going on that basically started right from the beginning.  Need evidence? Well you know Pixar’s Toy Story and DreamWorks had a remarkably similar film in Small Soldiers.  DreamWorks had Antz and Pixar A Bug’s Life.  Pixar had Finding Nemo, DreamWorks Shark Tale and so on and so forth.  Pixar led the monster genre with Monsters Inc. but DreamWorks had even bigger ambitions in mind when they decided to enter the game in 2009.

Monsters are good science fiction fun but then again so are aliens.  Rather than choose between the two, DreamWorks wisely opted to pit them against each other in a plot that works way better than the title insinuates possible.  The big gag surrounding this one in its theatrical debut was that it was DreamWorks’ first 3D motion picture (a trend that has been slowly gaining momentum of late).  Of course my encounter with this one was limited to the realm of high definition LED display and the power of the BluRay so I cannot comment on the 3D effects in this critique.

The story tells of typical California girl Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is unwittingly clobbered on her wedding day by a meteor full of mysterious space gunk.  The encounter results in her growing to 49-feet-11-inches tall.

As is expected in a 1950s B-movie spoof, the military jumps into action and captures the freshly mutated girl and transports her to a covert government compound where she is renamed Ginormica.

The confused and abused gentle giant finds herself placed in confinement with a ragtag group of Monsters: the brilliant insect/ mad scientist Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie); a fish man thawed mid evolution named The Missing Link (Will Arnet); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and a 350-foot grub known only as Insectosaurus.

Their confinement & governmental study is cut short, however, when a deadly alien robot lands on Earth and begins wreaking havoc upon the planet. In a moment of desperation, the president thanks in no small part to the persuasion of General WR Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) decides to enlist the motley crew of Monsters to combat the Alien Robot and save the world from imminent destruction.

On the surface, it’s a pretty decent plot and honestly, the potential for depth or layered plot structure are certainly secondary considerations to the primary goal of presenting really, really impressive visuals and near-constant stabs at humor.  The latter has much to do with the cast even over the writing as it was the adlibbing of Seth Rogen, Will Arnet and Hugh Laurie that manage to inspire the giggles over the in-your-face gags and comedic setups.

The textures, lighting, and rendering are simply stellar throughout (again even discounting the 3D experience) and hold up still even in this ever-advancing industry.  The pacing is fairly consistent if a bit more plodding than what is considered standard fair in the kid-friendly computer animated feature film game.  In fact, with a runtime of 94-minutes, the sensation that it’s a bit longer than most films of the sort is no mere illusion.

However, the film comes up a little short in the area of providing the sheer cleverness commonly found in the top entries to the CG-game.  It’s got enough humorous moments and visual charm to make the experience rewarding regardless, but the potential for absolute greatness is frequently apparent.

In all Monsters Versus Aliens follows the formula that most of DreamWorks’ heavily hyped (exception Kung-Fu Panda and the Shreks) films in that a bit of structure inconsistency takes away from what could be a true top contender.  It’s good fun, awesome to behold, and offers up some genuine hilarity at times.  At the end of the day, that’s a resume strong enough even for a monster.

Monstrous Hype Meets Most Expectations Monstrous Hype Meets Most Expectations Monstrous Hype Meets Most Expectations Monstrous Hype Meets Most Expectations

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November 01, 2010
I didn't realize the parallels between the two companies in terms of themes for their movies until you discussed them. Interesting indeed. Thanks for the review too!
November 01, 2010
My pleasure- and thank you for the read/ feedback.
 
November 01, 2010
Hey, Jason...I am sure you are aware that this has a TV series now playing on NBC. Not too shabby. I liked this one a lot. Btw, you are getting even better with these reviews if it was possible. :)
November 01, 2010
Hahaha never overestimate the collective knowledge of your overworked friend in NY, I had no idea this was turned into series format! Looks like I have to pay Google a visit and pronto. Thanks for the feedback William, as absolutely ridiculous as it sounds, all these animated film reviews and I'm only about halfway through the pile! Who knew this genre was so popular? Apparently most of society but I digress. Thanks again my man.
 
October 31, 2010
Excellent review, this was a really fun one.
November 01, 2010
Thanks FM_A- I was cracking up as well on this one. Great stuff.
 
1
More Monsters vs. Aliens reviews
review by . March 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Excellent FUN For the Whole Family...NO FRIGGIN' Joke!
   Sure, most of us ‘animation fans’ associate CGI animation with animation giant Pixar. But don’t forget, Dreamworks animation also had some success with “Shrek” so Pixar isn’t exactly the lone success in CGI animation. “Monsters Vs. Aliens” is an animated comedy with enough tools to keep the young and old entertained. It has enough comedic gags and sci-fi tributes to entertain the mature audience with cool colorful, fluid animation …
review by . January 08, 2010
Fun for the whole family and hopes for a MVA 2!,
   Every animated movie since the release of Shrek has desperately tried to gain adult acceptance as that is were the true money lies and on the Easter Weekend we were treated to Monsters v Aliens.       It stars the usual big Hollywood names in the trendy fashion that is voicing a CGI kid's film. This time we had the talents of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogan (who is more than everywhere these days), a British Huge Laurie as the Monsters and Keifer Sutherland hamming …
review by . May 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I really enjoyed this.
 MVA, at first glance seems like a movie that's typically attempting to capitalise on the growing trend of CGI animated "comedies", however, I would personally consider it up there with the likes of Shrek and Toy Story and not down there with the likes of Space Chimps and Fly Me To The Moon, two films which may appeal to kids, but I absolutely hated. These types of movies generally attempt to appeal to both adults and children with different types of comedy which is aimed at kids, …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie was a pleasant surprise. Kept me laughing.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Good special effect got to watch this in Blu-Ray looking forward to watching it in 3D
review by . May 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
MVA, at first glance seems like a movie that's typically attempting to capitalise on the growing trend of CGI animated "comedies", however, I would personally consider it up there with the likes of Shrek and Toy Story and not down there with the likes of Space Chimps and Fly Me To The Moon, two films which may appeal to kids, but I absolutely hated. These types of movies generally attempt to appeal to both adults and children with different types of comedy which is aimed at kids, and risqué comedy …
review by . April 19, 2009
News Reporter: "Once again, a UFO has landed in America, the only country UFOs ever seem to land in."     Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Star studded cast lights up the screen (or at least their voices do) in a funny and action-packed computer-animated film from Dreamworks.   2. Reese Witherspoon is Susan Murphy, a sweet home Modesto girl who doesn't realize her true worth until she gets hit by a meteor. . .   3. . . . on her …
review by . October 20, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Every animated movie since the release of Shrek has desperately tried to gain adult acceptance as that is were the true money lies and on the Easter Weekend we were treated to Monsters v Aliens.    It stars the usual big Hollywood names in the trendy fashion that is voicing a CGI kid's film. This time we had the talents of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogan (who is more than everywhere these days), a British Huge Laurie as the Monsters and Keifer Sutherland hamming it up voice style …
review by . March 27, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Great Visuals and Characters.     Cons: May be to long for small children.     The Bottom Line: A solid and enjoyable adventure with great visuals.     Ushering in what they hope will be a bold new era in 3D movie making, Dreamworks has set a very high standard with “Monsters Vs Aliens”. By combining science fiction and monster films, pop culture references, a strong cast, and cutting edge 3D technology, the film is likely …
About the reviewer

Ranked #9
Jason Rider (AKA OneNeo on Amazon.com) is the author of the successful children's fantasy novel series The Uncommon Adventures of Tucker O'Doyle from Bellissima Publishing.      … more
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Monsters don't exist, right? If they did, they'd be locked up in some secret government location so the general population wouldn't know of their existence. But what if monsters do exist... and they aren't evil, or even particularly scary? What if they're funny... and smart... and what if they might just be the key to man's survival? When a meteorite crashes in California on Susan Murphy's (Reese Witherspoon) wedding day, Susan is struck by a dose of otherworldly quantonium, her bridal glow becomes decidedly green, and she suddenly swells to a gargantuan 49 feet-11 inches tall. The Feds swoop in and whisk her away from husband-to-be Derek (Paul Rudd) to a government concealment agency where they dub her Ginormica and leave her to bemoan her losses and spend the rest of her days with strange creatures like B.O.B., the brainless blob (Seth Rogen), mad professor Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), the half-fish and half-ape Missing Link (Will Arnett), and the overly huge and strangely silent grub Insectosaurus. Next, Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), ruler of an alien civilization, sends a huge robot to attack Modesto, Calif., to recover the quantonium released by the fallen meteorite. Under the ineffective leadership of President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert), the government embraces General W. R. Monger's (Kiefer Sutherland) suggestion to pit the imprisoned monsters against the robot in exchange for their freedom. The monsters are no match for the robot until ...
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Tags

Movies, Comedy Movies, Animated Movies, Childrens Movies, Family Movies, Kids Movies, 3d Movies, Monster Movies, Computer Animated Films, Stephen Colbert Movies, Alien Movies, Seth Rogen Movies, Hugh Laurie Movies, Rainn Wilson Movies, Will Arnett Movies, Dreamworks Movies, Kiefer Sutherland Movies, Reese Witherspoon Movies

Details

Director: Conrad Vernon
Genre: Family
Release Date: 2009
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: September 29, 2009
Runtime: 1hr 34min
Studio: Paramount
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