Everyone has a soft spot for classic B-movies don’t they? The Blob, The Thing, Godzilla, an endless list of entertaining throwbacks to a time of simple joys when people were scared by claymation and men in monster suits. Monsters vs. Aliens is just the tool to introduce such pleasures to the kids of today, and it is perfectly equipped to do so.
We start out with a wedding in a small Californian town. Susan Murphy is marrying local weatherman Derek Dietl, and it’s set to be a lovely day. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a meteor crashes into the ground right beside the church. A strange glowing substance contaminates Susan and she grows to enormous proportions. She is captured by the army and stored in a facility for monsters, where she meets BOB (a blob), Dr. Cockroach and the Missing Link. But she is not to stay there for long because it turns out someone wants the substance which swelled her to such enormous proportions, someone not of this Earth.
Thus begins an irreverent, funny and completely off the wall madcap caper that panders to kids and the kid inside all of us. Each creature has its own unique angle to bring to the comic proceedings, and each plays upon its B-movie roots. This makes for an ample supply of amusing, if occasionally predictable, jokes.
The characters are well fleshed out by the vocal talent behind them. Reese Witherspoon makes for a likeable Susan, Seth Rogen was the obvious choice for the dumb and zany BOB while Hugh Laurie brings the posh British accent to Dr. Cockroach in order to nail just the right ‘mad scientist’ sound.
More important than the voices, though, is the 3-D. A film about B-movie gimmicks is fittingly tansferred into the frequently gimmicky medium of 3-D film, and it is used to good affect for the first half. A paddle ball bounces towards the audience, we rotate around a plummeting meteor, we are kissed vigorously by a demented granny at the wedding, it all works great. Towards the end it becomes a bit more standard, but you’ll be so caught up in the action sequences that you won’t feel too much drag from the shift down a gear.
As a 3-D extravaganza of cartoon silliness, Monsters vs. Aliens doesn’t pussyfoot around with themes and morals. Taking all of the fun from these B-movies it exists only for fun. As a child who loathed the wholesomeness of Disney and wholeheartedly embraced the madcap antics of Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote and Daffy Duck this film really rang true for me. With a gaggle of gags, a whole lot of humour and an amazing amount of action Monsters vs. Aliens is a faultlessly fun family film that won’t disappoint.
This article was first posted on March 30, 2009