It is Susan’s most glorious wedding day (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) and life seemed to be laid out just perfect. Her somewhat pervy looking boyfriend Derek (Paul Rudd), who I’m thinking was patterned after a little after Conan O’Brien, has just told her that they would be honeymooning in Fresno as opposed to Paris, but seriously, what does Paris have over Fresno? Exactly. Alas a glorious life in matrimonial harmony is cut short as Susan is hit by a meteorite, glows green a bit and then grows to fifty feet tall. Good thing girlfriend was sporting one of those magical expanding wedding gowns or things could’ve really gotten a bit embarrassing in Dreamworks latest animated feature ‘Monsters Vs. Aliens’ which we saw over here while wearing the worlds heaviest pair of 3D glasses.
Well you can’t very well have fifty foot tall women just roaming the countryside so it’s off to a super secret Area 51 type X-File styled holding facility headed by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland), who has been collecting monsters off and on for the last fifty or so years. These monsters under General Mongers watch at the current time include Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie) who is a genius, but due to a particular experiment he was performing is now a six foot walking talking garbage eating cockroach. There’s The Missing Link (Will Arnett), and lord knows I don’t know what he’s supposed be, maybe some kind of fish man or something. There’s B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and I forget what that stands for but Bob is a walking, talking brainless gelatinous blob who will be our comic relief for the next ninety or so minutes and finally the giant Incsectasouras, a silent 200 foot bug who shoots webs of snot.
Well Susan, now called Ginormica, just wants be normal and be with her man but that’s looking unlikely because little does Ginormica know she has been infected with Gluconium… or Planetarium… I forget, but it’s the most powerful substance in the universe and the object of desire of one ugly squid alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) who has sworn to destroy Susan and the planet earth itself to retrieve this substance.
Now we’re in a pickle because the nation is under attack, our president (Stephen Colbert) needs a pair of Depends and the only thing standing between us and certain destruction are General Monger’s Monsters led by the jilted fifty foot bride who has developed a bit of a bad attitude, which as it turns will come in handy.
As I’m leaving ‘Monsters vs. Aliens a young father is exiting the theater with his two exuberant young daughters, probably around five and six respectively, and they were overjoyed at what they had just seen. Not only was this the best movie they had seen in their combined eleven years of life, but they also harmonized that this made for the best spring break they’ve ever had and obviously this made their father the best dad in history of the planet earth. I congratulated my man on his hero status and advised him to enjoy it because in ten years they will hate be hating his guts totally, and will continue to do so until some poor sucker takes them off his hands allowing them to realize that compared to their future husbands, Dad wasn’t so bad after all. How can anybody hate on a movie that has brought that much joy to some little kids?
Well I’m not going to be the one to do that but I also can’t heap too much praise on it either. I opted to see the movie in 3D over regular old sorry 2D because I’d heard the 3D was cool and after watching Beowulf in 3D this seemed like a solid plan. Since I already wear glasses I gotta admit that I could feel the bridge of my nose cracking under the pressure of wearing two pairs of glasses, a feeling I don’t recall after seeing Beowulf but this will cause me to pass on Pixar’s ‘UP’ in 3D and just go with sorry old 2D. Though the 3D did look great and had some really nice spatial effects I don’t know if the movie really benefited from it all that much.
As for the story itself, considering ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ is an homage those silly 50’s horror movies, it didn’t do service to that in the same way that Dreamworks own superior Kung Fu Panda poked fun at martial arts movies. Mind you I could plainly see the movies it was targeting in ‘Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman’, ‘The Fly’, ‘The Blob’, The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ and ‘Tarantula’ but the dialog wasn’t as sharp or as witty or as clever as you thought it might have been, and for like the first forty five minutes of the movie you’re just kind of sitting in the theater looking at the pretty pictures pop out the screen since the humor really wasn’t hitting on all cylinders and the characters, though all cool looking and voiced nicely, weren’t developed all that much to make us completely fall for them the way that the best animated movies make us fall.
But eventually the action kicks in and that’s pretty much the type of movie this was, a full blown CGI animated 3D action flick. The action sets are really, really sweet with the animators doing a darn good job of sticking us in the middle of it. Is it better in 3D than in 2D? I doubt it, but I ain’t watching it again in 2D to find out.
The only real problem with ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ is that the bar is so freaking high with these movies. The more these CGI movies flood the market, the less likelihood that all things CGI will be compared to Pixar but that time just hasn’t come yet. Ten years ago people would be singing the praises of this movie, simply amazed at what the animators were able to accomplish but today… it’s just okay... unless you’re six. But ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ is an entertaining movie. No, it’s not as lyrical as ‘Wall – E’ or as fun ‘Kung Fu Panda’ but it’s still a movie that will make you a hero to your little ones until later that night when you tell them its bedtime.