Director: Rob Letterman & Conrad Vernon
Voice cast: Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson
Over here in Malaysia, the release of Monsters vs Aliens was delayed in order for the film to coincide with the school holidays. Fortunately for me, on the day I went to watch this, there were very few kids in the theatre. I just hate hyperactive kids making a din.
Anyway, MvA is Dreamworks' latest animated feature film, which begins with Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon), a young woman about to walk down the aisle with her husband to be, Derek. On her wedding day however, a meteorite literally lands on her, and as a result she instantly transforms into a 50 foot giant!
The army swoop in, capture her and before she knows it, she wakes up in a top secret facility run by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland). She meets the other freaks kept captive there: B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), an indestructible blue blob that talks and moves, Dr Cockroach PhD (Hugh Laurie), a scientist with a cockroach head, The Missing Link (Will Arnett), a half man half lizard and Insectosaurus, a skyscraper sized mutant insect. General Monger tells her that she is now under his custody and she can never go home again.
Then an alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) sends a giant robot to Earth to retrieve something that belongs to him. When conventional weapons fail to stop it, Monger sends the monsters out to fight. Susan, now nicknamed Ginormica, discovers abilities she never knew she had and plays a major part in defeating the robot. Displeased with the loss, Gallaxhar decides to come to Earth himself to finish the job and take over the planet.
Storywise, MvA is all about coming to terms with your differences and accepting the freak inside each of us. There are some quiet moments in the film that work towards that, like how Susan's fiancee rejects her after her accident. But mostly MvA drives itself with comedy and action. By giving B.O.B. the best lines to work with, the film is funny enough to sustain interest. Rogen gives his alter ego just the right amount of inane brilliance, and it fits well with the visual jokes in relation to a big giant blob. The film also pokes fun at many other films, such as Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Independence Day and Godzilla. There's even one jab at Beverly Hills Cop, see if you can spot it.
Witherspoon does fine in being herself throughout the film, while Laurie and Sutherland give major exaggerations of their voices for their respective characters. Listen closely and you'll hear Dr Cockroach sounding a lot like Dr House with an English accent and a Dr Frankenstein like demeanor, while General Monger is just like Jack Bauer with a louder voice. And they both work.
As for action sequences, there are plenty. The battle between the monsters and the robot was well done, and the final showdown between them and Gallaxhar is a little anti-climactic, but fun to watch. The animation itself isn't top notch, if compared to Kung Fu Panda, but it's not enough to ruin a rather entertaining 90 minute cartoon.
A safely entertaining watch, just don't think too much and enjoy the ride. (4/5)