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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens



Release Date: March 27th, 2009

Rated PG for sci-fi action, some crude humour and mild language.

Running time: 94 minutes

Rob Letterman (dir.)

Conrad Vernon (dir.)

Reese Witherspoon as Susan Murphy/Ginormica

Seth Rogan as B.O.B.

Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach Ph.D.

Will Arnett as The Missing Link

Kiefer Sutherland as General W.R. Monger

Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar

Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway

Paul Rudd as Derek Dietl

'Monster Lineup' from Monsters vs. Aliens

Our reviews below:


Monsters vs. Aliens Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

What would you do if there was going to be an alien invasion? Unlock the monsters that the government has had imprisoned for over 50 years to fight them off. And so is the plot of Monsters Vs. Aliens. A big-budget 3-D CGI blockbuster that pays homage to 1950’s b-movies.

Dreamworks’ Monsters Vs. Aliens has incredible imagery and the 3-D is almost flawless. But, the film is not just great to look at. The voice acting is excellent, including Reese Witherspoon (Ginormica, 1-Inch short of being the 50-foot women), Seth Rogan (B.O.B., a brainless, but lovable blue blob), Will Arnett (The Missing Link, a half-man, half-fish cross), Hugh Laurie (Dr. Cockroach P.H.D, a scientist that has been crossed with a cockroach), Rainn Wilson (Gallaxhar, the evil squid-like alien who wants to take over the planet), and also including Kiefer Sutherland (General W.R. Monger) and Stephen Colbert as The President. These are A-list stars, but they’re also perfect for there roles and it never seems like they’re just the voices because they’re famous.

I personally find the 3-D works best to show a perfect sense of depth, like someone's hand coming towards the screen, or something hovering in front of something else, but when they try and throw stuff at the screen, it doesn’t quite work, because it just kind of floats out and disappears. Thank goodness here the technology is mainly just used for depth and there rarely is a scene where it doesn’t work. Be it the paddle ball in the opening scene or a fight on an alien ship, the 3-D presents images that quite literally jump off the screen. The film would probably be fun in 2-D, but the 3-D really is worth the extra 3 dollars. I imagine the DVD will be released in Color Code 3-D, which is the technology used for the 3-D Super Bowl ads, but for now you’re only going to get the proper 3-D experience in a theatre.

How does it rank among Dreamworks Animation’s other recent films? Well, for me personally, it was not as amazing as Kung Fu Panda, nor quite as laugh-out-loud funny as Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, But this is still a worthy addition to their list of films and a very enjoyable action-comedy, that actually is genuinely a lot of fun from start to finish.

Despite the title, I don’t think this film would be too scary for kids over about 6. Any younger and they will likely just be bored. I had a great time at this film and I can totally recommend it. If you are looking for a good time at the movies, then this is it. Go out and enjoy.


Monsters vs. Aliens Review By Erin V.

*** (1/2) (out of 4) -(See explanation in review below.)

Monsters vs. Aliens is, as the title suggests, about monsters vs aliens. The story is as follows: On Susan Murphy’s, (Reese Witherspoon), wedding day, she is hit by a meteor, containing an alien substance that causes her to grow to 49’ 11” tall. Captured by the government, she is put in a secret facility that is completely off the radar, so in other words essentially does not exist to the outside world. There she meets the other monsters held in captivity, B.O.B., (Seth Rogan), The Missing Link, (Will Arnett), Dr. Cockroach, (Hugh Laurie), and Insectosaurus, (who does not speak, but instead makes roaring sounds that only The Missing Link seems to understand). Susan is the first new monster to be captured since the 50’s, and the government dubs her Ginormica. They are to be held there indefinitely, until an alien robot, sent by Gallaxhar, (Rainn Wilson), attacks the Earth. This robot is completely unfazed by conventional military weaponry, so W.R. Monger, (Kiefer Sutherland), who runs the monsters facility suggests to the President, (Stephen Colbert), that they let the monsters fight the alien robot in exchange for their freedom. Sure the title is Monsters vs. Aliens, but really, there is just Gallaxhar and his clones, which I guess technically does make it plural.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was a lot of fun to watch, especially in 3D. DreamWorks obviously has a great command on the field of CGI animation, considering the great graphics displayed here. Although the storyline is not all that complex, the visuals are quite stunning in certain scenes. While I think that the 3-D enhances this effect, especially out in space at the beginning when we get a great sense of depth and during the fight scenes, I am sure that it will still be a lot of fun in ‘2-D’. I found the characters all to be engaging enough to tell the story, and my favorites I think would be Susan - (Ginormica), B.O.B, Gallaxhar, and his robot. Susan had a nice character arc in the film as she truly becomes Ginormica, and the others, while they did not have really much development in their characters from beginning to end, were still very funny and engaging to watch on screen. I also liked Gallaxhar’s ‘mothership’, which had a voice spoofing the normal computer voice. It was very cool to look at, both inside, and out.

I would recommend going to see this movie. While it is not very complicated storywise, it is quite enjoyable. This would probably have been quite big as a Summer release, but I guess it’s nice to have something like this to go to now. I am giving it 3 1/2 stars instead of 3, in part from a filmmaking perspective. This is what the extra 1/2 star is for: The use of 3-D, (save for the beginning), was not too overblown, and the camera angles especially in fight/chase scenes were quite well done. This is very important in a movie like this, but harder than one might think to do. If the camera cuts too fast, or the angle is wrong, it can throw off a whole shot or scene. The voice cast does very well with the material provided, and I am sure that a lot of it is improv. Music by Henry Jackman, his first full solo feature film score, was also great to listen to and well done. We will have a review of the score sometime in the coming weeks.

Overall, while there is not all that much in way of story here, it seems more like an introduction to these characters in a way. DreamWorks has done this well before, often producing a sequel like Madagascar 2, or Shrek 2, which is fuller than the first, because it served more as an introduction to the characters world. The trailer is a good indication as to what this movie will be like. A fun movie to pass the time with great visuals to look at in 3-D.


Monsters vs. Aliens Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Monsters vs. Aliens is a fun tribute to the old monster and alien invasion films from the 1950’s. The movie follows Susan, an ordinary woman who, on her wedding day, is hit be a meteorite, and becomes really tall. The government thinks Susan is a monster, whom the dub “Ginormica”. They take her to a secret prison where monsters are hidden from the public. Here Susan meets the other prisoners; B.O.B., a gelatinous blue blob who has no brain; a half ape, half fish named The Missing Link; a half cockroach, half “mad” scientist named Dr. Cockroach; and a giant caterpillar named Insectosaurus. The prisoners are kept captive indefinitely, but when an evil alien named Gallaxhar attempts to take over the Earth, the government releases the monsters so they can defeat the aliens.

Monster vs. Aliens has a lot of really funny lines, and the monsters are really lovable. I also really liked the message, which is that individuals who are “different”, have an important role and place in society. This is especially evident in the character of Susan, who is really just a regular person inside.

Although this movie is about monsters and alien invasions, the characters are really funny , and in no way would frighten children. Even the villain, Gallaxhar, is not too frightening. However, Monsters vs. Aliens is not just for kids, but for anyone, especially those who remember the old monster films. And seeing this movie in Real D 3D added an even more fun element to the film. Monsters vs. Aliens is a fun, light comedy that you can take the whole family to.


Monsters vs. Aliens Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Monsters vs. Aliens is a whole lot of action packed fun. The 3D experience was a real treat though I think I also would have enjoyed it in 2D.

The whole film has a fun, retro feel to it with all kinds of references to the old monster movies that the older adults in the audience will get. I liked the fact that the monsters weren’t too scary for the younger members of the audience. I especially liked Susan/Ginormica, (voiced by Reese Witherspoon). It’s nice to have a female heroine in an animated action movie. Susan/Ginormica’s growth as a strong person proved that being big on the inside is more important than being big on the outside. The other monsters are also fun to watch, each with their own quirky and flawed characters. My other favorite monster is brainless B.O.B., (Seth Rogan). The relationships between the characters and their support for one another is nice.

The movie is pretty predictable for an alien invasion storyline. However the action moves along at a good pace, the animation is nice to watch and there were quite a few laugh out loud moments without being over the top. This isn’t my favorite of Dreamwork’s movies - Madagascar 1 + 2 still hold that spot for me. However Monsters vs. Aliens is up there with the better ones.

Overall, this was a very pleasant way to pass the evening and experience 2D well done even when that meant having to wear ugly glasses. Make sure you stay right through to the end of the credits. There is an extra scene thrown in and the final credits have an old James Bond feel to them. Good family fun. Well worth the premium price for 3D.


Monsters vs. Aliens Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D from Dreamworks is a good animated film for the whole family. At the simplest level it is an action story with mutant monsters from earth battling an alien invasion, way too cute to scare little kids. At the same time, as in the Zucker films (without the vulgarity), the more people know, the more they will appreciate the frequent references to other films that it lampoons. The 3D images are beautiful to watch, drawn with the consistent attention to proportion sometimes lacking in recent Disney films such as Bolt and Chicken Little. The voice actors are well suited to their characters, notably Stephen Colbert as the dumb president, Kiefer Sutherland as General W. R. Monger and Seth Rogan as the brainless blob of blue gel. Finally we really enjoyed the music, both in the background and where highlighted, such as in the first contact scene.


Alien Robot in Monsters vs. Aliens


Consensus: Monsters vs. Aliens is fun, entertaining movie, with a great voice cast, visuals, and music. Go see this in a theatre, and if possible, in 3-D. This is fun that the whole family, (around 6 and up), can enjoy. *** (Out of 4)

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