Sunday, March 29, 2009

Review: 'Monsters vs. Aliens' - "Here Comes the Bride!!!"

This line takes on a whole new meaning as recently irradiated bride, Susan (Reese Witherspoon) breaks through the church roof and comes after the wedding guests in Monsters vs. Aliens.  Later she meets her fellow monsters and they ask what her monster name is.  "When they see you coming," one monster inquires, "they shout, 'Look out here comes . . . ?!'"   "Susan", she replies.

Susan is new to the group having just been struck by a meteorite on her wedding day.  The other monsters have all been there since the '50s, having been put there by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) to put the public at ease.  Now the monsters are needed to ward off an impending alien attack.

***Spoilers to follow***

The alien attack force is led by (and solely includes) Galaxhar (Rainn Wilson) who is searching for Quantonium, a rare fuel that was contained in the meteorite that struck Susan.  Galaxhar intends to suck the Quantonium out of Susan and use its power to create an army of clones (of himself, hence the one-alien invasion force) to take over the world.  Susan, B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), The Missing Link (Will Arnett), Insectasaurus, and Dr. Coakroach (Hugh Laurie) are sent to stop him.

Seeing it in 3-D is definitely worth it, but you won't feel too left out if you don't.  I still remember seeing Jaws 3D on TV and wondering why they were lingering on the shot of the floating arm or why the shark kept swimming straight at the camera, every - single - time.  Sometimes the level of detail is astounding.  A hamburger in an early shot must have taken a week to render.  And Susan's hair, or Insectasaurus' fur had to crash their computers at least a couple of times.

There are many sci-fi references in the movie.  A shot of B.O.B. oozing through a door-way is identical to one in the original Blob movie.  The President (brilliantly cast Stephen Colbert) initiates contact with the alien by playing the Close Enounters theme and flashing the Vulcan salute.  An even more subtle reference occurs when Susan yanks on Galaxhar's cape and knocks him to the ground.  As we all  learned from The Incredibles, "No Capes!"  And of course, the movie opens in Modesto, CA - George Lucas' hometown.

Seeing this movie in a theatre full of kids I noticed one thing: it gets a little dull in the middle.  I was even having trouble staying awake during some of the more "talky" scenes.  Now this is not necessarily a bad thing, since I believe this is a result of the filmmakers trying to flesh out the characters a little and explore their relationships.  There is a nice scene where Susan realizes that she has put her own life on hold for her fiancee and now that she has this new ability (giganticness) she can be her own woman and take care of herself.  She accepts herself and her new monster friends.  While good cinema, this may be a little heavy for kids.  Or tired adults.

The voice actors were well cast in their roles.  (Though I would have preferred hearing hard-working VO actors as opposed to celebrities.  That's for you Bob Bergen!)  It's nice hearing Hugh Laurie (House) speaking in his native tongue and doing broad comedy.  Rainn Wilson (The Office) is hardly recognizable as the villain.  Reese Withespoon (Oscar winner) just sounds so cute.  Seth Rogen (not an Oscar winner) fits the role of B.O.B. perfectly.  In describing himself he says, "I don't have a brain.  Turns out, you don't need one."

I hear you B.O.B., I hear you!

- posted by "Bob" ReevesReel -

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