Monsters Vs Aliens

Monsters Vs Aliens


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

A chance encounter with a meteorite on her wedding day causes Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) to supersize, whereupon she is seized by the military and locked away with a group of other “Monsters”. Meanwhile, out in space, a twisted alien individual, Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) contemplates how to obtain the power of the meteorite for itself and launches a vast destructive robot probe to acquire it. When the traditional US response to outer-space-invaders is a failure, the President calls for the “Monsters” to be unleashed.

General W R Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) unleashes his Monster charges, Susan together with a Mad Scientist, Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), The Missing Link (Will Arnett), B.O.B, a blob (Seth Rogen), and an enormous bug to do combat with the alien foe.

Copy picture

In the ongoing war between home entertainment and the cinema experience, exhibitors have dragged out an old weapon. First used to combat television in the 1950s then dusted off and brought out to thrash home video in the early 1980s and now a response to home theatre it is…drum roll, please…3-D! This third wave of 3-D requiring projection in specially equipped cinemas,, with the brand name Real D or IMAX 3-D, was pioneered with such titles as Meet The Robinsons, Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and Bolt.

There’s always a fascination in watching a technique evolve in the movies as the artisans try to go one better each time and this is certainly true of Monsters vs Aliens, which presents the best 3-D that I’ve experienced so far. The film opens on an asteroid belt vista that is simply magnificent to behold. I noticed my eight-year-old ward attempt to grab a couple of the 3-D artifacts and he knows better, but that’s how good the illusion was. The 3-D glasses are still a mild irritation, especially for those of us who wear glasses.

That’s the good news, anyway. The bad news is that Monster Vs Aliens is merely OK as a movie. The package seems irresistible, comic monsters and alien mayhem but yet the film fails to deliver. One factor that won’t bother your kids, is the sense of déjà vu, there are borrowings from Douglas Adam’s universe and the whole enterprise smacks of Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! Even the film’s best gag, a riff on Close Encounters, was a reprise of one in Morons From Outer Space.

Pacing is another problem, a few of the earlier scenes drag on too long, notably the whole wedding thing at the beginning, as I can’t imagine even the youngest of minds not anticipating the pay off, indeed, there was a lot of impatient shuffling from the assembled audience hordes.

The monsters are fine, notably the Seth Rogen voiced B.O.B. the blob who steals the picture. The best gags, at least for the over 20s, subvert 50s sci-fi movie convention, the worst are the risqué ones designed for the older audience that just make one wince, at least in Madagascar they whizzed past before the more naïve would notice them.

Madagascar 2 and Kung Fu Panda set the bar last year for animated entertainment, and Monsters Vs. Aliens just isn’t in that league. Overall then, it’s OK, the kids will be entertained and I shall try and fail to hide my disappointment.

Reviewed on: 01 Apr 2009
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Monsters Vs Aliens packshot
A woman's brush with a meteor supersizes her and soon, she finds herself and a team of other monsters taking on a bad guy from outer space.
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Director: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon

Writer: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Rob Letterman, Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger, Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Paul Rudd, Julie White, Jeffrey Tambor

Year: 2009

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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