Monday, March 30, 2009

Review: Monsters vs. Aliens

Grade: A

The premise of this movie is quite simple: Mythical monsters do exist, and the government knows about it and captures them and keeps them in a super secret underground government base. When a meteor containing a powerful substance crashes into Earth, it alerts the attention of an Alien who sends a giant robot to Earth to retrieve it then the titular battle ensues. Very simple but very entertaining. It all starts on Susan's (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) wedding day when she gets hit by aforementioned meteor and then ends up growing to 50 feet tall. She is then captured by a secret government agency that puts her in an underground base where she meets the other monsters: Insectosaurus, a giant, simple minded, insect version of Godzilla, The Missing Link (voiced by Will Arnett), a creature from the black-lagoon-esque lizard-man, Dr. Cockroach (voiced by Hugh Laurie), a mad scientist who transformed himself into a roach-man and the monster who steals the show, B.O.B, a gelatinous blob with no brain and one eye that was the freak accident at a food laboratory of trying to combine a tomato with ranch flavor. When an alien by the name Galaxhar comes to Earth to obtain a precious material known as Quantonium and to conquor the Earth, President Hathaway (voiced by Stephen Colbert) offers the monsters freedom in exchange for defeating Galaxhar and his army of clones and robots.

The visuals in this movie are great and I highly recommend seeing it in 3-D as it made the experience just that much more enjoyable. There are many solid jokes in this movie and I was laughing from start to finish. As I mentioned, B.O.B. really steals the show in most scenes, delivering the finniest jokes, but many of the other characters were funny as well. I don't know why but even though it never speaks I couldn't stop laughing whenever Insectosaurus was on the screen and Will Arnett's character Link kept me laughing as well. Although there is another supporting character that I wish had more screen time because he made me laugh harder than most anything in this movie, that's Stephen Colbert ironically playing the President, with scenes like playing the Beverly Hills Cop theme song to the giant robot, to firing a gun at the giant robot hen being carried away yelling "I'm a brave president", Stephen Colbert had my sides aching after the movie.

There is one thing about this movie that I found to be rather interesting. There is a rather strong pro-feminist message throughout the movie. From one of the early scenes where we find two teenagers in a parked car where the gender roles seem to have flipped, as in the girl gets closer to the guy and tries to kiss him but he starts talking about how he's not ready then giant alien robot flies over the car and crashes of in the distance and the girl is the brave one where the guy is cowering and scared the whole time. To the many scenes that have Susan talking about how she is now strong and can take control of her own life and will never be short changed again. Granted, many of those scenes with Susan are also about embracing your inner-freak and never letting people get you down for being who you are.

I do love all the throwbacks to the classic Sci-Fi and monster movies, sadly many of which I think I was the only person in the theater who got the references. From the scene where they discover the alien ship and a man calls on a red phone yelling "code Nemoy" to the president playing the five tones from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to many more references to classics like Independence Day, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Wolfman, Mummy, Star Trek, The Fly, The Blob, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Attack of the 50ft woman and many others.

Overall I would recommend this movie for anybody and especially take your kids to this, they will love it. There is fun and excitement for the whole family and everybody will be walking out of that theater with smiles on their faces.

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