Monsters Vs Aliens Review

Posted: December 4, 2009 in Review
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Monsters Vs Aliens Review

As mouth-watering concepts go, the idea of pitting a team of monsters against an alien invasion is pretty great. Unfortunately, the result is not quite as good as the initial idea sounds.

When a meteor lands on Susan (Reese Witherspoon) on her wedding day, she is transformed into a seventy foot tall monster and removed from society by the government, led by General Monger (Kiefer Sutherland). Whilst in solitary she meets The Missing Link (Will Arnett), Dr Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), B.O.B (Seth Rogan) and Insectosaurus all of whom assure her that she’s never getting out. All that changes, however, when the villainous Gallaxhar sends his alien robot probe to earth to try and find ‘quantonium’, the very substance that turned Susan into Ginormica.

If it sounds very complex for a knockabout animated comedy, that’s because it is. The opening twenty minutes set up Susan and her life before removing her from that and throwing her in with the monsters. After this, it’s not entirely clear where Susan’s story is going or even how her character is evolving. At one point the film comes to a shuddering halt while the monsters discuss how Susan has developed. That’s when you realise that actually, no, she hasn’t and that the entire arc of her character has been bolted onto the existing (great) idea of monsters battling aliens.

And that’s another flaw in the film. There is no monster/ alien battle. There’s one alien who unleashes a robot and then clones himself later on for a small rumble. Even for a child-friendly movie, that’s pretty weak.

On the plus side, some of the voice acting is phenomenal. Stephen Colbert, in particular, as President Hathaway, is truly exceptional and Seth Rogan’s B.O.B is as great as could be expected. The Missing Link and Doctor Cockroach are good supporting characters but could really have done with some more development, while the Kiefer Sutherland-voiced General Monger is so perfect it’s almost weird.

The animation is also brilliant, easily the most gorgeous film to yet emerge from the Dreamworks Animations studio to date, which is lucky, because most of the film’s humour is hidden in wonderful facial expressions and slight gestures.

All in all, it’ll entertain the children but even they might feel something’s lacking from the final product. On paper it’s great, on screen it looks more like an extended advert for the game tie-in. Slightly disappointing.

3 stars

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