johnlink ranks MONSTERS VS ALIENS (2009)

I’m pretty easy when it comes to animated fare. I ask for some funny, some good characters and something unique. Rarely, we get films like LION KING or, really, most of the Pixar stuff. The other companies are hit or miss in recent years, but I had some hopes for MONSTERS VS ALIENS because the characters and unique premise marks seemed to be hit.

I watched MONSTERS VS ALIENS (2009) on 1.14.11. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

I was a little worried about this as I started it at home. This was a film made to capitalize on the new 3D projectors, and the opening shot was a silly moment of some scientist playing with one of those paddle-ball things, with the ball coming at the audience. I worried this would be that sort of movie, and that it would be worthless in 2D. Fortunately, there are very few moments which are so blatantly rendered. In fact, there is one scene which looks pretty cool, with a giant woman talking to her former boyfriend in the foreground and a TV station’s call letters lit up in the background, the detail of which probably wouldn’t have been bothered with in a 2D film.

The premise here is that Reese Witherspoon’s animated counterpart is made gigantic by some rare element. She is imprisoned by Kiefer Sutherland’s General W.R. Monger (get it) and is held in a secret military base with other monsters played by Seth Rogen, Job from Arrested Development, and House. As can be expected, the military (led by President Stephen Colbert) soon need these monsters to fight off an alien invasion.

The casting is pretty good, especially Rogen as a brainless blob. I’d love to see this crew work on a live-action film (and I’d kill to see Colbert interview Jack Bauer). The characters are unique and likable.

The script is somewhat inconsistent. There are some really great lines, including when Colbert says “Set the terror level at code brown, cause I need to change my shorts” and a non-sequitor of a military type saying “We need our top scientific minds on this. Get India on the phone.” There is also a nice role-reversal scene, where the typical alien abduction is turned on its ear by a woman advancing on a man, who is a little gun shy. When the aliens show up, he runs and screams, while she tries to protect him.

But the script also falls into unfunny silliness, as when a Dance Dance Revolution type set up is used to thwart the alien brain. There is a nice CLOSE ENCOUNTERS homage which starts well and then lasts about two minutes too long. So the script has hits and misses.

The biggest problem this film has is dealing with size. The monsters don’t seem scary at all, even a little, because they are introduced AFTER we see Reese Witherspoon as a giantess. Then, she gets bigger or smaller at will. At one point, she absentmindedly stomps on a streetlight at knee height. One scene later, power lines come up to her chest. The sizing was clearly not decided on uniformly as a production choice, and this seems like the sort of detailing mistake Pixar would never make.

But as a kids’ distraction, this movie is effective enough. It made me laugh out loud a few times, and if they made a sequel I’d give it a shot. Nothing groundbreaking here, but certainly nothing terrible either.





~ by johnlink00 on January 14, 2011.

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