“Monsters vs. Aliens”
Directed by Rob Letterman
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Kiefer Sutherland and Paul Rudd
It continues to be a banner year for animation, with “Monsters vs. Aliens” proving to be a fast-paced and witty family adventure that simultaneously pays homage to and pokes fun at all those cheesy science fiction films from the 1950s. Tonally, it plays very much like the “Shrek” films, which is appropriate considering that it comes from Dreamworks Animation. So, if you like the humor-and-heart mix of “Shrek,” then the odds are that you’ll love these “Monsters.”
Reese Witherspoon plays an ordinary woman who is about to be married when she’s suddenly struck by a meteorite (I hate it when that happens!) Rather than squishing her flat, the woman grows into a nearly 50-foot tall woman — fortunately she bought an elastic wedding gown, this is a PG rated flick, after all.
Now named Ginormica, the government swoops in and whisks her off to a secret bunker where they’ve been keeping a small group of monsters safe from public eyes. Ginormica’s new friends include a brilliant-but-mad scientist, Dr. Cockroach, P.H.D. (Hugh Laurie) as well as a bombastic half-fish, half-ape hybrid known as the Missing Link (Will Arnett) and most notably, there’s B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), the brainless blue blob who’s always ready with a funny wisecrack.
The Alien part of the matchup is played by Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) who lands his giant robot spacecraft in a bid to conquer the earth. Since the military can’t compete with Gallaxhar’s alien technology, the monsters are called it to fight for humanity, with some very funny results.
Despite the boy-friendly title, “Monsters vs. Aliens” turns into a tale of female empowerment — not exactly a core concept from classic science fiction. Our heroine starts out as a meek bride but morphs into an amazing giant, both physically and character-wise. The rest of the misfit bunch also learns lessons about friendship and teamwork, but it’s really Ginormica who gives the film its soul.
In a similar vein, it’s really Seth Rogen who gives the film its funny bone. Gelatinous B.O.B. is the standout hoot, although with the screenplay overstuffed with gags, everybody gets a chance to crack wise. This is one of those films that has so many jokes that it only takes one-in-four to score for the film to be a hit.
It’s more than a hit.
Finally, the 3-D effects are also quite good, although I don’t think that they are crucial to your enjoyment of the film. “Monsters vs. Aliens” is just a lot of good-spirited family fun, whether it’s in 2-D or 3-D.
Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and weekly on KFDM-TV. You can also follow Seanthemovie guy on Twitter. Sean welcomes your comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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