If The Incredibles was a homage to superheroes, then Monsters vs. Aliens is a tribute to the cult movie status of Hollywood creatures through the ages. This is the subtext for Monsters vs. Aliens, a Dreamworks picture that has crash landed in South Africa. Pixar may have more finesse with near-perfect productions like WALL-E, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but Dreamworks brings it down to earth with movies like Shrek, Madagascar and now Monsters vs. Aliens. This animated feature boasts style over content, but what could you possibly expect from a film with such an obvious title. It’s right up there with Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and makes a valiant attempt to crack the vault of pop culture cult status. The cast is a collection of new wave comedians and seasoned pros. The new wave comedians include: Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, Rainn Wilson and John Krasinski, while Jeffrey Tambor, Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Stephen Colbert and Reese Witherspoon give the film some experience and dramatic weight.
Monsters vs. Aliens isn’t restrained by heavy-duty intellect and simply carries the story along with its primary heroes headed by Reese Witherspoon as Ginormica. She’s supported by the likes of Seth Rogen as the lovable B.O.B. (The Blob), Will Arnett voicing The Missing Link (Creature from the Black Lagoon), Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach (The Fly) and let’s not forget the unmistakable Insectosaurus (Mosura). The gang of five bounce comedy off their strange situations, which usually involve monster prejudice and save the world complications. The comedy is relatively clean and the fantasy violence would probably match a Tom & Jerry cartoon in terms of impact. The pacing is good and jumps from one critical situation to another, showcasing some amazing visual artistry with a sprinkle of laugh-out-loud comedy. Monsters vs. Aliens is an enjoyable and entertaining movie for all ages. The movie keeps adults in the loop with sharp references to movies like: E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Rambo and Dr. Strangelove, while kids will be mesmerised by the proportions, action choreography, vivid colours and crisp animation.
Monsters vs. Aliens isn’t anything revolutionary, but makes a satisfying 94 minute trip to the movies. The story isn’t too taxing on the mind, but the pulchritude of the production bridges the gap. Highlights include: The President’s attempt to make contact and coffee, the maximum security introduction of the monsters and the scale of interactions. Seth Rogen almost steals the show as the dim-witted, brainless mass known as B.O.B. Overall, Monsters vs. Aliens makes a wild ride that will thrill the kids, make you laugh and entertain you until Gallaxhar seizes control of the world. The 3D version adds an extra dimension to the movie, but it also works well in its regular format. Dreamworks has created a pulpy animated movie, which harnesses a solid cast, cutting-edge cinema technology and fun references to monster and alien movies through the ages with a few genuine laughs… what more could you ask for?
The bottom line: Entertaining.