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Monsters vs. Aliens

A movie directed by Conrad Vernon

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MONSTERS VS. ALIENS 3D

  • Apr 15, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+2
MONSTERS VS. ALIENS
(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: This film has a little something for the kids in the audience and a little something for the adults, but not so much both can enjoy. The film builds a story of cute monsters defending Earth from ugly aliens. A disenchanted young woman finds herself first turned into a monster and then called upon to save the Earth. The story is largely built from pieces taken from old science fiction films as if they were Lego blocks. For me they were more fun where they got them. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10 

I love films and I enjoy when I see a film reference in a film. Also I love science fiction films, particularly from the 1950s. MONSTERS VS. ALIENS has a treasure trove of references to monster movies and alien movies. There were truly an awesome number of in- joke allusions aimed right at me (in 3D yet). They were all on target. It is just the movie that missed me. They started with a standard feminist empowerment theme. On top of this they took a stereotypical Toho plot--aliens are invading and monsters have to band together to save the Earth. And then the filmmakers threw in one action sequence after another. The characters were mostly jokes based on ideas from the 1950s. The filmmakers literally designed their monsters to be jokes. One was basically the creature from the Black Lagoon but his origin was borrowed from THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS. One was a modeled on THE FLY, but his origin was borrowed from SHE DEVIL. Each is good for one laugh but they have no interesting personality. It is perhaps even more important in animation to give characters personalities to engage the audience. 

Appropriately enough for a new 3D movie the film comes polarized. The simplistic plot is probably too childish to be appreciated by the adults, but the kids would probably like it. At the same time the film's many homages to old science fiction films will be enjoyable to adults who grew up seeing the original movies on TV, but the kids who have not seen the films will be blind to them. 

Susan Murphy (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) is engaged and soon to marry Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd), the town weatherman. Derek thinks the two of them would make a good team, but he insists on being the coach. On her wedding day she will be handed by fate something old (lack of consideration from her chauvinistic fianc‚), something new (about 44 feet of new growth), something borrowed (a set of monsters from the 1950s), and something blue (he's B.O.B. the Blob). Just before the wedding a large meteor with strange energy (think kryptonite) falls directly on her. Not only is she not crushed (and not surprised that she was not crushed), but also she has absorbed the weird energy. So she glows and she grows like the Fifty-Foot Woman. The marriage is off, and instead she finds herself in a huge fortified government bunker where the government keeps its monsters. There is B.O.B the Blob (Seth Rogen), Dr. Cockroach with the head of an insect (Hugh Laurie), the aforementioned lagoon creature (Will Arnett), and a Mothra-like giant caterpillar. 

Meanwhile on Earth land aliens who were tracking the meteor and want it for their nefarious purposes. The government decides to use its monsters to fight the aliens. This affords the script opportunities for two giant battles between monsters and aliens: one on the Golden Gate Bridge and one inside the alien spaceship. 

The animation is generally good, but in an odd way DreamWorks animation seems to be better for sympathetic human characters than for others who are less so. Characters like W. R. Monger seem to be stiff in just the way Lord Farquaad was in SHRECK. Susan seems more liquid in her motion. 

The jokes are good; the animation is fine; the 3-D is awesome. But still the film fails to make a monster or an alien as powerful a character as the little clownfish Marlin from FINDING NEMO. And lacking good characters makes MONSTERS VS. ALIENS no more than just a diverting little film and nothing more. I rate MONSTERS VS. ALIENS a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10. 

Film Credits: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0892782/ 

What others are saying: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/monsters_vs_aliens/ 
  Mark R. Leeper
  mleeper@optonline.net
  Copyright 2009 Mark R. Leeper


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More Monsters vs. Aliens reviews
review by . March 15, 2011
I personally think Monsters vs Aliens is one of Dreamworks most underrated films and quite possibly one of the most underrated animated movies of all time. Why do I think this is underrated? Because it's freakin' fun and one of the best times I have ever had at the theatre. Before How To Train Your Dragon came along this was probably my favourite Dreamworks movie, and its still my second favourite to date. As Mel Brooks once said, "You have to love the thing you're parodying" …
review by . March 17, 2010
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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 . October 31, 2010
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Monstrous Hype Meets Most Expectations
   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 …
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
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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
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This movie was a pleasant surprise. Kept me laughing.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
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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 …
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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, Reese Witherspoon Movies, Hugh Laurie Movies, Rainn Wilson Movies, Will Arnett Movies, Dreamworks Movies, Kiefer Sutherland 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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