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  Monsters vs. Aliens

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie

Directed by: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon

Produced by: Lisa Stewart, Jill Hopper, Latifa Ouaou

Written by: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Glenn Berger, Rob Letterman, Jonathan Aibel,et al

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

     When I review a movie solely because I think it will do well at the box-office and translate into a lot of website hits, it’s usually true that the movie’s intentions are equally commercial and inartistic. I have little to say about Monsters vs. Aliens mostly because the film doesn’t contain anything that merits even a molehill of words. If you’re excited by the basic premise of the title and the fact that the film uses cutting-edge Tru3D technology, then you’re probably a third-grader and this is your movie. But for the rest of you: note that I didn’t include those excited by what could be done with said premise and 3D, because the film’s laundry-list of writers and directors didn’t spice things up beyond making the visuals look expensive, now a multiplex standard, 3D or not.

     It’s films like Monsters vs. Aliens that make moviegoers realize how much a strong story matters because, as mind-boggling as some of the colorful devices that pop out at the audience are, it will be hard for those over age 12 not to fall asleep during the movie because it’s so conventional and predictable. Viewers have seen Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon), an everyday woman who transforms into Ginormica (no explanation required) when hit by a comet, and a troupe of government-imprisoned monsters battle alien-leader Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) a thousand times, albeit in different settings with different characters.

     Yes, there are a few comical references to bad ‘50s sci-fi and dated jabs at George Bush’s dorky qualities in Stephen Colbert’s President inserted throughout for adults, but should we not expect these “easter-eggs” from any studio animated feature? The same goes for the semi-humorous voice-work, although it should be noted that the charming Witherspoon, Wilson, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, and the rest of the cast seem to have sleepwalked—or in Rogen’s case, baked—through their roles at half-capacity. Leaving the multiplex, I suspect most viewers will resent that no portion of the $5 premium they paid for the IMAX 3D ticket required to see Monsters vs. Aliens in its optimal visual form went to hiring better writers.

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 3.27.2009

Screened on: 3.21.2009 in IMAX 3D at the Edwards Mira Mesa 18 in Mira Mesa, CA.


Monsters vs. Aliens is rated PG and runs 94 minutes.

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