Pros: Funny and entertaining from beginning to end...
Cons: ... rather predictable, a bit too much silly humour
I've been looking forward to Monsters vs Aliens for a long time, and I'm glad to say that it didn't disappoint. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it in 3D, but the normal showings are well worth going to as it's a hugely enjoyable movie.
On her wedding day, Susan Murphy gets hit by a meteorite, which is bound to put a crimp on any girl's big day. One side-effect of this is that she becomes gigantic (50 foot tall, in fact, give or take an inch...) and is taken captive by General W.R.Monger, who has been taking monsters off the streets for years (although apparently only has a grand total of five monsters to show for it). When an alien called Gallaxhar threatens the earth, the General decides that the only way to save the day is to call on the monsters, and President Hathaway reluctantly agrees.
Thus the scene is set for Ginormica (formerly known as Susan Murphy), Dr Cockroach (Ph.D), B.O.B. (a blog of gelatinous stuff that has no brain but does have a personality... yes, we all know people like that), The Missing Link (half man, half fish... sort of), and Insectasaurus (a huge bug-type thing) to save the world. There's an inevitable theme of Susan finding herself, her self-esteem, etc running through the whole thing, but it didn't stop the movie from being funny so I can forgive it that.
The Animation and Music
The visuals were absolutely superb throughout. Dreamworks are barely inches behind PIXAR... I don't need to say more really. Henry Jackman composed a great music score for the film, evocative of the great sci-fi movie scores while having a unique identity all its own.
The Voice Cast
Everyone in the voice cast did a great job. Reese Witherspoon plays Susan and gets to gasp in horror or shock quite a lot, but it never sounded fake. The other voices included Hugh Laurie as Dr Cockroach, Seth Rogan as B.O.B., Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar, Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway, Will Arnett as The Missing Link and Keifer Sutherland as General W.R.Monger. Though everyone was good, Stephen Colbert and Keifer Sutherland stodd out as being truly superb.
Key to this whole thing was the humour. For a good animated movie there has to be two (or more) levels of humour - one for the kids, one for the adults (in this case a third layer could be added - one for the sci-fi fans). Though one or two reviewers have said that their children only enjoyed the first part of the film, those in the audience when we saw it sounded like they thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. There was a level of slapstick and silly humour that they could enjoy, and though the plot was predictable, the cliff-hanger scenes were done well enough. There was also plenty for adults in the audience to laugh at too, with plenty of wry humour and good dialogue.
For sci-fi fans in particular there were a lot of sneaky references to classic movies / series - most obviously Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman, ET, Star Trek and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. These references always added to the movie and never slowed it down. There were also some wry digs at Hollywood - such as the comment in the new report - "Once again, a UFO has landed in America, the only country UFOs ever seem to land in.".
My wife and I both thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It's a wee bit obvious and there was perhaps a tiny bit too much humour that was just plain daft, but for all that it was funny and entertaining the whole way through. It's not quite as good as Wall-E... it lacked the charm and sophistication of that movie - but for pure enjoyment factor it's not far away.
Best Quote from the film:
Galaxhar: "Humans of Earth, I have come in peace. However, most of you will not survive the next 24 hours."
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My Top Ten Computer-Animated Movies
My Top Ten Sci-Fi Movies