Directed by: Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
Premise: An animated film shown in theaters in 3-D and 2-D. After a woman is hit by a meteor and transformed into a giant, she joins a government team of monsters to fight an alien invasion.
What Works: Monsters vs. Aliens is geared towards children and for them the film will likely be a fun ninety minutes. The characters are goofy, especially B.O.B, a gelatinous creature voiced by Seth Rogan, and the action is exciting but bloodless in a Saturday morning cartoon style. The 3-D animation in this film is some of the best yet seen and the film makes an effort to insert gags that play on the 3-D effect.
What Doesn’t: Monsters vs. Aliens is an attempt to recreate the campy fun of 1950s science fiction and combine that with modern storytelling sensibilities. The film is only partially successful at this. There are lots of allusions to older science fiction films like The Fly and Creature from the Black Lagoon as well as more recent pictures like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but because the film is geared towards children the references are likely to go over their heads. At the same time, the references aren’t used for anything but a cheap laugh and don’t contribute to the story which is rather cliché.
Bottom Line: Monsters vs. Aliens will be enjoyed by children but adults are likely to find the film to be lacking in originality. Those looking for a real throw back or send up of 1950s science fiction ought to check out Mars Attacks! instead.
Episode: #236 (April 16, 2009)