Monsters vs. Aliens (PG) ★★★½

Review Date: March 30th, 2009



When all-American girl Susan Murphy is inadvertently hit by a falling meteor on her wedding day, she grows to be nearly 50 feet tall. The U.S. military gets wind of this, renames her Ginormica and locks her away with a slacker group of other "monsters" in a top-secret compound. But when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and begins wreaking havoc, these good-hearted but inept creatures are called into action by the President and must band together as a team to save the world from certain catastrophe.


As usual, Dreamworks has assembled a stellar A-list voice cast led by Reese Witherspoon as Susan/Ginormica. Playing one of the rare female animated heroes, Witherspoon's sweet/confused demeanor — in light of her highly unusual status as a fearsome freakazoid — hits just the right tone, generously letting her zanier colleagues steal scenes from right under her (a long way down, by the way). Chief among these are a not-so-bright gelatinous blue mass named B.O.B., hilariously voiced by Seth Rogen; the genius Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D in the capable hands of House doc Hugh Laurie; and Will Arnett's half-ape, half-fish, The Missing Link. In the human roles, there's Stephen Colbert as the idiotic U.S. President, Kiefer Sutherland as the monster's prison guardian, Paul Rudd as the ego-driven weatherman fiancé of Susan; and a deliciously villainous Rainn Wilson as Galaxhar, the alien determined to take over Earth.


Superb 3-D effects aren't overdone and add immeasurably to the ginormous fun of the film, but even seeing it in theaters that only show it in regular 2-D doesn't spoil the pure joy of this cartoonish War of the Worlds. Throw in parodies of every cheap '50s sci-fi movie you can think of, and you have the ingredients for a silly monster mash sure to appeal to just about anyone who wants to laugh. Despite the impressive production elements, it's the smart and clever script that really sets it apart from its competitors — and that even includes the similar Monsters, Inc. from Pixar.


Like any kid-oriented comic 'toon today, the action can be a bit too frenetic and Monsters vs. Aliens piles a lot of it on in its trim 95 minutes. Still, the lovable characters carry the day and somehow make it all palatable.


When Susan, now Ginormica, brings her new friends home to meet her parents, chaos ensues and so do the laughs. Also impressive are the large action scenes that make fine use of CGI animation breakthroughs.


It's easily the one-eyed, lame-brained blue lug of a people hugger named B.O.B. perfectly matched to the talents of Rogen. He rolls away with the movie and inevitably the merchandise tie-ins.



Bottom Line rated this film 3 1/2 stars.