|Movie: Monsters vs. Aliens * Trailer *||In Theaters: March 27, 2009|
|Runtime: 94 minutes||Directed by: Rob Letterman / Conrad Vernon|
|MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action, some crude humor, and mild language||Gecko Rating:|
There’s really only so much you can do with a kids’ movie these days. There’s usually an evil guy, a main character with issues, some kooky supporting characters, and a big crisis that needs to be stopped.
“Monsters vs. Aliens” has all of these elements, but what puts it a notch above most kids’ movies is the animation. The movie is offered in both 3D and regular versions. I saw the 3D version, and while most 3D movies don’t measure up, this one did. The filmmakers really made good use of the 3D, with balls (and sometimes slime) being thrown at the audience, planets swirling about, and an alien spacecraft filled with all manner of cool techie stuff.
The story follows Susan (voiced wonderfully by Reese Witherspoon), a girl who’s about to be married. In fact, the first scenes are at the church where she’s to be married to a self-involved TV weather guy, Derek (Paul Rudd). But outside the church, a giant mass hurtles towards her from space, and later at the alter, Susan starts to emit a greenish glow.
A few seconds later, she grows in size to nearly 50 feet, crashing through the church roof and scattering the wedding goers everywhere. The government immediately shows up, capturing Susan – now known as Ginormica – and locking her up in a secret facility where other monsters also reside, including a blue blobby guy named B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), the techie Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), and a big furry guy named The Missing Link (Will Arnett).
When an evil alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) invades Earth with a giant robot, the government, including President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) and General Monger (Kiefer Sutherland), realize they don’t have the forces to defeat it alone. So they call upon the quartet of monsters to stop the invasion and put things right again.
The story takes place in California, and one of my favorite scenes occurs on the Golden Gate Bridge, where Susan and the monsters must try and save motorists from falling to their doom because of the alien robot. The animation in this scene was top-notch down to each little detail, from Susan realizing her newfound strength to the peril involving the collapsing bridge. I got a little anxious during this scene!
Aside from the awesome animation throughout the movie, I also loved the growth of Susan. I’m not talking about her growth to nearly 50 feet. I’m talking about her growth as a woman. She realizes that she doesn’t need to rely on a man for her happiness, and that’s a great message to send to young girls.
At first, she’s depressed over the fact that she’s now ginormous, but she soon realizes how wonderful her new monster friends are, as well as what she has to offer the world with her new size. Maybe this is a little philosophical, but we get thrown a lot of curveballs in life, and the best thing to do is just move forward and work with what you’ve got. Sometimes, it’s a lot better than what you’ve lost. Thus ends the philosophical portion of this review.
My other favorite character is B.O.B. When he’s not falling in love with green Jello, B.O.B. has the ability to absorb things and humans, then spit them back out again unharmed. Voiced by Seth Rogen – who has the nerdiest laugh in the world – this character really jumped off the screen at me.
Note to Parents: The story includes a lot of peril, including the aforementioned bridge scene, the monsters being locked up (though you don’t feel like they’re being tortured or anything), the scene where Susan is captured at the wedding, and the government forces dispatched with heavy artillery at every turn. For this reason, I don’t recommend it for very small kids, but it’s ok for kids 7 and older.
Photo credit: Monsters vs. Aliens ™ & © 2009 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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