Monsters Vs. Aliens: A sometimes uneven, but still fun ride.


Over the years, DreamWorks has made many animated movies that have parodied a certain film genre. They made a parody of fairy tale movies with "Shrek", a parody of superhero movies with "Megamind", and a parody of, I guess, gangster movies with "Shark Tale"? I don't know about the last one, but I couldn't care less. Anyway, with that many parodies under their belt, it only seemed fitting that they would parody monster films and aliens film. They eventually did in 2009 with "Monsters Vs. Aliens" which is exactly what the title implies. It's about monsters that fight aliens. Seems simple enough and overall, I think it delivers though it isn't entirely flawless. Don't get me wrong, this is far from DreamWorks best film as it pales in comparison to some of their other works, but it's still fun enough to hold itself together.

A woman named Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is preparing for the big day of her life. She's about to get married to a handsome weatherman named Derek (Paul Rudd) and is about to go with him on a honeymoon to Paris. Though things don't end up going her way. Just before the wedding ceremony is to take place, she gets struck by a meteorite and grows to enormous size and gets superhuman strength as well. Seeing her as a potential monster, the US government captures her and takes her to a top-secret government facility which includes other monsters like the Missing Link (Will Arnett), a mutated cockroach named Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), a blob named B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), and a giant Godzilla like grub named Insectosaurus. While Susan tries to figure out how to get out of this mess, an alien named Galaxar (Rainn Wilson) has come to Earth to try to extract Susan's strength from the meteorite that hit her and the president (Stephen Colbert) enlists the monsters and Susan to fight the alien so they can save the Earth.

The story isn't exactly huge for this movie, but I don't think it was intended to be either. The film is meant to be a satire on those monster films that we all know with the main exception being the characters we're rooting for being the monsters and the antagonists being the aliens. It works fine enough with its formula and some funny jokes help keep the movie afloat. There's also a couple of fun scenes with the monsters battling the aliens and the robot inventions. As far as the animation goes, it's okay. It's certainly nothing to write home about, but there have been far worse looking animated movies that have come out from DreamWorks like "Shark Tale". The characters are nicely designed and the environments for the film are very nicely realized as well. Though I think the things that help save the movie are the characters and the voice cast. DreamWorks went all out on this voice cast and they couldn't pick better actors to play these characters. Reese Witherspoon as the innocent naive woman who's thrown into a situation involving monsters, Seth Rogen as a big blob of goo that's kind of dumb, Hugh Laurie as a crazy scientist cockroach, and Will Arnett as the Missing Link who's pretty self-obsessed. Though I think casting Stephen Colbert as the president of the United States was just brilliant. That's a joke that's gotten funnier with age. As far as flaws go with this movie, there are a few I can name. For one, the film has some very slow scenes. Some scenes just feel like they go a little too long and could have been shortened by a little bit. Though I think the big issue I have with this movie is the fact this movie was meant for a 3D viewing. This was the very first animated movie DreamWorks had made in 3D and it shows. Many times, certain objects or characters will get obnoxiously close to the camera which is only distracting and takes you out of the experience. At the time, the president of DreamWorks, Jeffrey Katzenberg, said that it was the future of the cinema. He was wrong. Very wrong. Also, some of the human character models don't look very good at all. They didn't look good back in 2009 and they certainly haven't held up well today.

With all that said though, despite its problems "Monsters Vs. Aliens" is still an enjoyable film. The story isn't incredibly strong but has some fun moments, the animation is nicely rendered despite some annoying 3D gimmicks, and the characters are all very well realized and perfectly cast. This is by no means a fantastic movie and it's definitely one of DreamWorks weaker efforts, but it's still fun enough. I don't think you should go out of your way to watch it, but it's not bad to watch if you have the time.

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