Monsters Vs Aliens (2009)

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Paul Rudd Director: Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman Running Time: 95 mins

Monsters Vs Aliens is the latest of DreamWorks studios’ line of computer animated 3D films since the release of Madagascar 2 last year. This larger-than-life (no pun intended) quirky little film tells us the story of Susan Murphy, an average young American woman with hopes and dreams of marrying her boyfriend Derek and living a normal, happy life.

That is until a giant asteroid carrying a substance called “quantonium” falls on her on the day of her wedding after which she becomes a giant and is locked up in a top secret government facility along with a bunch of weird monsters only to be called upon to save the planet when the evil alien Gallaxhar tries to destroy all humans (gasp).

Along with Susan aka Ginormica are four lovable but in no way cute monsters by the names of Bob the all-consuming brainless substance, the brilliant but insane Dr. Cockroach, the Missing Link a 20,000 year old fish-ape hybrid and the former one-inch grub turned incomprehensible giant Insectosaurus.

The film boasts a truly comedic ensemble voice cast with the likes of Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon, Knocked Up star Seth Rogen, Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie and funny-man Will Arnett voicing the three lead monsters.

The likes of Kiefer Sutherland (Golden Globe winner for the hit series 24), Paul Rudd (Role Models), Rainn Wilson (The Office) and the host of the Colbert Report Stephen Colbert. This in fact is one of the greatest selling aspects of this animated comedy.

The characters themselves are extremely funny but in no way epic and the voice acting in this film went along perfectly with the quirky toons they depicted much like Rob Letterman’s previous dabble in animation, Shark Tale.

The script is witty and cute but the actors themselves whip up great comic performances more often than not playing themselves in some aspects. Notable amongst the voice-only performances were Wilson who played Galaxhar, Rogen (Bob) and Colbert who voiced the eccentric US President.

The film had of course a few drawbacks which can be mainly attributed to the pretty stale, formulaic plot and weak themes that cry out for some originality. The storyline offers very little in the way of an exciting adventure or a tale not told more than a half a million times over the past few decades and eventually this is what would lead to this film being forgotten sooner rather than later while stories like Shrek and Monster Inc. can be considered true classics of this genre.

Furthermore the film seemed a little short with the final confrontation being a bit of an anti-climax. This can be traced back to the fact that the film chose to be split into two equally lengthy confrontations between good and evil with the first being an overly destructive giant (of course) robot which was truly trivial and avoidably pain staking considering the impending and considerably more important doom to follow.

The film however is still a fun little animated piece to keep you highly entertained for an hour and a half with a few chuckles along the way and for some a warm fuzzy feeling as well. Monsters Vs Aliens is in no way an entrée into the hall-of-fame or must-watch comedies of its genre but is certainly a charming animation, quite capable of standing on its own giant feet.

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