Monsters Vs. Aliens

by Rick Grant

Grade: A- / Rated PG / 94 min
The animators working directly with the delivery style of the actors is what creates the funny and memorable characters in any animated feature, especially this outrageously daffy work by DreamWorks Animation. Directed by Rob Letterman, animators and writers imbued Resse Witherspoon’s Valley Girl style to her Susan Murphy character. On her wedding day, she is hit by a glowing meteorite and suddenly grows to 50 feet tall sending her fiance running for cover.
Before she knows what’s happening, Susan is whisked away by a secret government agency to an underground facility that houses other “monsters” who for whatever reason scare ordinary citizens to death. Susan has a hard time adjusting to the prison-like accommodations.
Soon, Susan meets her other monster colleagues-BOB (Seth Rogen) a gelatinous mass with one eye and no brain, Dr. Cockroach PhD (Hugh Laurie) a mad scientist bug, the missing link-half ape, half fish, (Will Arnet) Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) a 350 foot insect, and General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland).
For Susan, her future looks bleak until the country is invaded by a giant robot from outer space controlled by a fiendish octopus-like creature on the home planet. The alien creature is an homage to Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks.
The film is full of other references to classic sic-fi films such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In a hilarious scene, President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) plays the sounds of Close Encounters to the giant robot and gets no response. So he cuts loose with a song. Colbert is definitely in his comedic element as the President with many funny gags.
As the giant robot lays waste to San Francisco, Susan comes to the rescue and her pals help out the best they can. In an epic battle, Susan defeats the hunk of metal and is considered a hero. Yet back in her home town, her family can’t get used to her being so big and her pals scare them. So, in the long-run, Susan only has her monster pals to rely on.
Back on the alien planet, the octu-maniac decides to go to planet Earth and rain destruction on the planet. But, he will have to deal with mighty Susan. This leads to a sequence of events that pits Susan against the octu-fiend.
As in all these animated movies, the special effects take center stage and Reese Witherspoon dominates her role as Gigantic-California-girl who just wants her old life back. She finds out that her fiance is a jerky empty headed TV guy who wasn’t worth marrying in the first place.
The grade B movie references and the comedy is modern and hip. Stephan Colbert as President Hathaway steals his scenes as the sanctimonious blowhard. His animators captured his facial expressions and body language perfectly.
As the gelatinous mass, BOB, Seth Rogen is hilarious. For a comedic actor to bring life and humor to a blob is remarkable. His style of shtick is deftly animated by the DreamWorks crew. BOB is already out as a popular toy much to Seth Rogen’s chagrin.
The 3D aspects of this film may up the ante on its draw. However, the movie is funny and endearing without that gimmick.