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Monsters vs. Aliens (2009).

April 17, 2009

The Scoop:
Dreamworks scores again with this fun, energetic throwback to 1950s-era creature features.

After Susan Murphy (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) is hit by a meteor on her wedding day, she grows to 50 feet tall. She is captured and sent to a secret government facilty where she meets a misfit group of monsters straight out of your favorite B-movies — Dr. Cockroach, a half man/half cockroach mad scientist (Hugh Laurie); The Missing Link, a prehistoric amphibious creature (Will Arnett); B.O.B., a gelatinous blob (Seth Rogen); and a giant insect named Insectosaurus. They are quickly called upon to fight an invasion by the crackpot alien Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson).

Also in the cast are Paul Rudd, Keifer Sutherland, Stephen Colbert and Amy Poehler.

The plot is simple and fast-moving, and directors Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman (plus a small army of co-screenwriters) keep the gags coming at a breakneck pace. While this is enough to entertain the kids, the adults will enjoy spoofs and allusions to films from “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “The Blob” to “Vertigo” and “Dr. Strangelove.” It is also refreshing to see a lead female character who is not a girlfriend or a princess, but a real woman who gets to be heroic in her own right.

The animation is excellent, except for Susan’s absurdly large eyes and a few gratuitous shots designed for the 3-D audience (the first, a clever nod to the 3-D “House of Wax”). A few of the jokes fall flat, but they are more than outweighed by the ones that work. Throw in a couple of well choreographed battle scenes (particularly the one the rages across the streets of San Francisco and onto the Golden Gate Bridge) and you’ve got yourself a winner.

Best Line:
“I am brave. I’m a brave president!”

Side Note:
Keep your ears peeled for the Wilhem scream during the fight with the Gallaxhar clones.

Companion Viewing:
“Mars Attacks!” (1995).

Official Site.

Take a Look:
The trailer:

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