Wednesday 1 August 2012

Monsters Vs. Aliens (2009)

Monsters Vs. Aliens is a relatively enjoyable animated movie that will appeal more to sci-fi fans than anyone else, while keeping the kids easily entertained. The visual style isn't the best that you could hope for (it's certainly a few rungs below Pixar, for example) but it makes up for that with fun, energy and a multitude of references to classic science fiction movies.

Things start off with young Susan (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) getting ready for her wedding day with weatherman/wannabe anchor Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd). The wedding is spoiled, however, when a huge meteor lands on Susan and then transforms her into a giant. She is then whisked off by the military and wakes up in a facility that also houses Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), B.O.B (Seth Rogen), The Missing Link (Will Arnett) and Insectosaurus. Monsters, one and all. When Earth is invaded by a greedy alien (Rainn Wilson) then it's up to the monsters to potentially save the day, in case you couldn't guess from the title of the movie.

With the bright and brash style in every frame and the cartoon monsters in the lead roles, it's easy to dismiss Monsters Vs. Aliens but, to be fair, there's plenty to love in almost every scene. Homage follows homage, from the early moment that will make viewers of House Of Wax (1953) smile to the creatures and their backstories to a ridiculously entertaining scene that involved the president (Stephen Colbert) trying to communicate with an alien with a keyboard and one or two familiar tunes. Every little gag shows a knowledge and love for the material being referenced.

The script had a lot of people involved but that's often the case with animated movies so don't let that put you off. Directors Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon do a great job (Letterman can now be forgiven for partially directing the horrible sub-par Shark Tale) and they're helped by a fantastic vocal cast that includes everyone already mentioned plus Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Poehler and others.

I was hoping to enjoy this movie when I sat down to watch it and by the time the end credits rolled I was wondering whether or not I had grown to love it. Nope, it wasn't quite that good. However, I really liked it and I'll buy it when I get the chance because it's something I know I will enjoy watching again and again. Admittedly, the first 10 minutes or so aren't great and you may start to wonder just why you've decided to give it a viewing but stick with it and you will be rewarded.


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