Saturday, April 4, 2009

Movie Review: Monsters vs. Aliens 3-D

DreamWorks' newest 3-D, animated production is filled with all the amazing, eye-popping, state of the art fodder that one comes to expect from the latest venture into the future of movie viewing. Unfortunately, it seems a lot more attention is focused on those bells and whistles and not enough on the substance of the film's plot. The title, itself, gives the impression that the audience will be treated to a plethora of both those title characters. But it doesn't take long before one realizes that, even there, we get a bit short-changed.

On the day sweet Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is to wed her beloved yet self-absorbed fiance Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd), she is unexpectedly hit by a meteorite and almost instantly transformed into a girl of 50 feet (well, 49 ft. 11 in. to be exact). Before long she is taken to a secret, government compound where she makes friends with a motley crew of monsters who have resided there for 50 years. When the evil, four-eyed alien Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) threatens to take over earth, the President (Stephen Colbert) and Gen. W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) agree to release the monsters to battle and fend off the unwanted invaders.
Movie-goers under the age of 12 are undoubtedly going to love this film and the characters of non-threatening, gelatinous B.O.B (Seth Rogen), witty, brainiac Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), and smooth talking yet odd-ball Missing Link (Will Arnett). Together with Susan/Ginormica and an edifice-size, screeching grub named Insectosaurus, they clumsily attempt to fight off Gallaxhar's clone army all while delivering their sharp, kid-friendly punchlines. Adults, on the other hand, will not take to it so readily. Sure, Monsters vs. Aliens makes the attempt to draw the grown-ups in with carefully placed adult humor and references to sci-fi flicks from yesteryear (ie: The Blob, Attack of the 50 ft. Woman, Dr. Strangelove, The Fly, Godzilla etc.). But the movie never really delivers anything more than a lackluster beginning, middle and end. Though the effort is evident, the delicate balance between amazing, animated special effects and an equally amazing storyline is just not achieved here.

I found myself wanting to love this movie. I did have my own moments of being awed by a paddleball leaping out at me or leaves and debris seemingly at arms length with a laugh here and there. But, sadly, that's where my love for this movie stops. The story is, at best, mediocre. I couldn't quite connect to any of characters or feel like they had any real longevity in years to come. In short, my "feelings" for Monsters vs. Aliens is that I'm fond of it and I'll remember it as such, but don't see having any kind of long-lasting "relationship" with it now or ever.[bxA]

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