Movie Review: Monsters vs. Aliens

“This place has been X-filed, wrapped in a cover up, and deep fried in a paranoid conspiracy.”

I laughed pretty hard when I saw the first trailer for Monsters vs. Aliens from Dreamworks so I was expecting an extremely funny movie. While there were quite a few laughs in it, I think that this movie has a lot more heart and story than I was expecting.

The movie begins on Susan Murphy’s (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) wedding day. As she prepares to tie the knot, we quickly see that the groom and his family are not going to be as appealing as she may have thought they would be. Still, she’s convinced that marrying her fiancé Derek Dietl (voiced by Paul Rudd) will make her happy, so she resolves to take the plunge.

Unfortunately, mere moments before her nuptials, she’s hit by a meteor. This puts a damper on her wedding as she begins to glow, and then grow into a 30-foot tall giant.

The military quickly shows up, takes her into custody and locks her away with 4 other monsters they’ve apprehended over the years. First there’s the hilariously brainless, gelatinous mass named B.O.B. (voiced by Seth Rogen), the brainy Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (voiced by Hugh Laurie), the half-man/half-fish The Missing Link (voiced by Will Arnett), and the gigantic Insectosaurus (voiced by what sounds like Godzilla)

Just like most Dreamworks animated movies, there are plenty of pop-culture references in this flick, but I enjoyed all of them as they played homage to many of the B-movies from years back and often included references to Stephen Spielberg’s movies E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

My least favorite parts of this movie involved the military and government characters. It’s easy to see that the filmmakers don’t have a high opinion of the military and poke fun at them a lot. I especially groaned when they introduced the military leader, General W.R. Monger (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland). Giving a character the name “War Monger” immediately gave me the impression that he was going to be a bad guy, but the total opposite was true so I concluded that it was just bad writing that was just trying to put in digs at anything they didn’t like.

iconThe only other aspect of this movie that I didn’t enjoy relates to the animation. With computer graphic technology improving so much over recent years they can make human characters so realistic with their skin and modeling that I thought the human characters in this movie verged on the creepy side.

Fortunately, the President (voiced by Stephen Colbert) and the other humans in the government don’t take up too much of the movie. Contrary to what the trailers show, the story revolves almost entirely around the character Susan Murphy, who is codenamed Ginormica, and her struggle to become a person who takes charge of her own life and destiny. All while battling an alien invasion led by the dastardly Gallaxhar (voiced by Rainn Wilson).

All in all, I really enjoyed this movie. I would recommend it to anyone who’s up for a fun time, although it wasn’t as full of laughs as I thought it would be, what it lacked in constant hilarity, it made up for with heart. Bear in mind, though, that there are parts that might be seen as inappropriate and even scary for little children—an unfortunately common staple for Dreamworks movies—but nothing was terribly over the top and should be enjoyed by most everyone.

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