Sunday, 14 June 2009

Movie Review - Monsters vs Aliens

I'd been looking forward to Monsters vs Aliens for a long time, nad I'm glad to say that it didn't disappoint. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it in 3D, but the normal showings are well worth going to as it's a hugely enjoyable movie (and I suspect that it won't suffer from the transition to the small screen).

The Plot

On her wedding day, Susan Murphy gets hit by a meteorite, which is bound to put a crimp on any girl's big day. One side-effect of this is that she becomes gigantic (50 foot tall, in fact, give or take an inch...) and is taken captive by General W.R.Monger, who has been taking monsters off the streets for years (although apparently only has a grand total of five monsters to show for it). When an alien called Gallaxhar threatens the earth, the General decides that the only way to save the day is to call on the monsters, and President Hathaway reluctantly agrees.

Thus the scene is set for Ginormica (formerly known as Susan Murphy), Dr Cockroach (Ph.D), B.O.B. (a blog of gelatinous stuff that has no brain but does have a personality... yes, we all know people like that), The Missing Link (half man, half fish... sort of), and Insectasaurus (a huge bug-type thing) to save the world. There's an inevitable theme of Susan finding herself, her self-esteem, etc running through the whole thing, but it didn't stop the movie from being funny so I can forgive it that.

The Animation and Music

The visuals were absolutely superb throughout. Dreamworks are barely inches behind PIXAR... I don't need to say more really. Henry Jackman composed a great music score for the film, evocative of the great sci-fi movie scores while having a unique identity all its own.

The Voice Cast

Everyone in the voice cast did a great job. Reese Witherspoon plays Susan and gets to gasp in horror or shock quite a lot, but it never sounded fake. The other voices included Hugh Laurie as Dr Cockroach, Seth Rogan as B.O.B., Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar, Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway, Will Arnett as The Missing Link and Keifer Sutherland as General W.R.Monger. Though everyone was good, Stephen Colbert and Keifer Sutherland stodd out as being truly superb.

The Humour

Key to this whole thing was the humour. For a good animated movie there has to be two (or more) levels of humour - one for the kids, one for the adults (in this case a third layer could be added - one for the sci-fi fans). Though one or two reviewers have said that their children only enjoyed the first part of the film, those in the audience when we saw it sounded like they thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. There was a level of slapstick and silly humour that they could enjoy, and though the plot was predictable, the cliff-hanger scenes were done well enough. There was also plenty for adults in the audience to laugh at too, with plenty of wry humour and good dialogue.

For sci-fi fans in particular there were a lot of sneaky references to classic movies / series - most obviously Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, ET, Star Trek and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. These references always added to the movie and never slowed it down. There were also some wry digs at Hollywood - such as the comment in the new report - "Once again, a UFO has landed in America, the only country UFOs ever seem to land in.".


My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It's a wee bit obvious and there was perhaps a tiny bit too much humour that was just plain daft, but for all that it was funny and entertaining the whole way through. It's not quite as good as Wall-E... it lacked the charm and sophistication of that movie - but for pure enjoyment factor it's not far away.

Best Quote from the film:

Galaxhar: "Humans of Earth, I have come in peace. However, most of you will not survive the next 24 hours."

See also:

My Top Ten Animated Movies
My Top Ten Computer-Animated Movies
My Top Ten Sci-Fi Movies

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


Randy said...

The Scorpion King 2 is supposed to be a prequel of the Scorpion King which stars the Rock. The movie is obviously a low budget movie. It is a mediocre movie and is not worth watching. It cannot be compared to the big budgeted Scorpion King which was produced by Stephen Sommers. I just dont know how the Scorpion King transforms himself from a good guy to a villain in The Mummy 2. This was not explained.

CaptainD said...

Glad I'm not the only one who couldn't understand that omission!

Helmut said...

I loved Monsters vs. Aliens! The humour was the biggest attraction for me. I agree that there was a lot that wouldn't have appealed to children at all, simply because they wouldn't get it.

Interestingly, I enjoyed this movie more than Wall-E, which is the opposite of many people I've spoken to who've seen both. I guess because the humour in MvA was more appealing to me.

My favourite quote (paraphrased - can't remember the exact words): "Is it getting warmer out here? Because if it is, that would be a very convenient truth!" - The Missing Link

CaptainD said...

Hmm... I'm really not sure whether I liked this more or less than Wall-E... they're very different styles of movie, and I loved both!

gman said...

Stephen Spielberg must have been involved in this movie because there were so many references to his movies. I love when “The President” says: “I’m brave, I’m a brave President!” It seems to me they recycled voices for the cabinet. I am always looking for the movie I missed in the theater as I am an avid movie watcher but what I like about Blockbuster is that I can always find movies not only rare but 28 days before other movie services. Not only that but the Blockbuster Movie Pass from DISH Network that is free for new customers gives me one bill from DISH, over 100,000 movies plus games, streaming and I also get 20 movie channels on my DISH employee account as a current customer for only $10 a month. Next on my queue is Thor and I don’t have to pay extra for mail to my home, or Blue-ray.