Monsters vs Aliens

Summer blockbuster season is nearly upon us and this is the time when studios wheel out their biggest releases to make oodles of lovely cash. So we have Dreamworks’ “Monsters vs Aliens”, which has been number one in every country with cinemas and people.

Monsters vs Aliens (2009)

As you should know by now, I’m a big fan of childrens’ films. I’ve often tried to work out why this is. Maybe it’s because they’re bright and colourful. Maybe it’s because they remind me of a more innocent time, or maybe it’s because I’m an idiot. In any case, how could I resist a computer animated film called “Monsters vs Aliens”? In 3D no less? I couldn’t.

“Once again, a UFO has landed in America, the only country UFOs ever seem to land in.”

Irradiated by a meteorite on her wedding day, Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) suddenly grows to be 50ft. tall (well, 49 ft. 11″…) is called on to join four monstrous freaks of nature and science in defending Earth from evil alien overlord Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson). The plot is pretty good, if a little uninspired. The film has to be commended for actually creating empathy for Witherspoon’s character, no easy task as the source material for her is the utterly ridiculous, not to mention crap “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman”. All the voice acting is top-notch, but that’s to be expected these days. Bonus points for having Stephen Colbert playing the President and Kiefer Sutherland playing General W.R. Monger too.

Remember “Van Helsing”? God, what a piece of shit. Do you also remember “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman”? Again, utter shite. Let me allay your fears. “Monsters vs Aliens” is nowhere near that bad. However, it does share something in common with the aforementioned abominations, but unlike them- it succeeds. What “Monsters vs Aliens” does quite brilliantly is bring ’50s B-movie icons together and actually create something interesting. We have Hugh Laurie’s Dr. Cockroach as a nod to “The Fly”, Seth Rogen’s B.O.B. as a reference to “The Blob”, Will Arnett’s Missing Link as a parody of “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” and the fanatastic Insectosaurus as Godzilla cohort “Mothra”. It’s really quite clever what Dreamworks has done with the assortment of crazy characters at their disposal. Unfortunately, the character that didn’t work for me was the main villain, Gallaxhar. He just wasn’t very funny and wasn’t giving enough decent lines or development to be a match to the brilliant monster team.

Much like “Bolt”, “Monsters vs Aliens” benefits from the 3D presentation. I’m still impressed by the way studios are using the technology as less of a gimmick and more as an actual experience. When it comes down to it, 3D is fun. I defy anyone to put on those silly glasses and not crack a smile. It adds a little jolt of fun and novelty to proceedings which can only be a good thing.

“Commander, do something violent!”

“Monsters vs Aliens” is good fun, if a little underwhelming. I can’t help but feel if the successful gag rate was higher it could have rivalled studio king “Shrek”. However, for me a lot of the jokes fell flat. On a personal note, I am getting fucking sick of Seth Rogen’s laugh. I really have nothing against the guy, but his chuckle makes an appearance in every single film the guy’s in. It’s like the new Wilhelm Scream or something. Anyway, there are some decent laughs and a brilliant 3D presentation which is undeniably impressive. Hooray for monsters!

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