With its heavy promotion and high-powered cast, one would expect “Monsters vs. Aliens” to be nothing short of a home run from DreamWorks Animation. Throw in the fact it’s in 3D, and it should be a bottom-of-the-9th grand slam. Ultimately, “Monsters vs. Aliens” amounts to nothing more than a generic kids’ movie that lets its 3D effects do all the heavy lifting.
The plot itself is straightforward: Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is hit by a meteor on her wedding. She’s transformed into a 50-foot woman nicknamed “Ginormica” by the government. She’s taken to a government compound where she meets a blob named B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), mad scientist Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), a reptile known as The Missing Link (Will Arnett) and the giant Insectosaurus. The President (Stephen Colbert) and Gen. W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) let the monsters loose to take on an alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), who’s here to take over planet Earth.
Kids will be amazed by the loud, quick action, and parents can let their brains rest if they don’t find the incessant amount of pop culture references entertaining. The movie tries to throw gags and tired one-liners at the wall that for the most part don’t stick; B.O.B. is the only character that truly brings about chuckles.
While animated movies usually have a great lesson for families, this one doesn’t. Susan learns a quick lesson about her love, Derek, midway through, but without a real theme, “Monsters vs. Aliens” goes about with no reason for any of its actions.
That said, the 3D technology is amazing, the best I’ve seen so far this year. It goes beyond the standard 3D gags of things flying at you to create a true 3D environment that’s a wonderful piece of eye candy.
One of the downsides of 3D becoming more frequent in movies is that filmmakers sometimes don’t put much effort into character and story development. The pretty colors and zooming objects are enough for some, but what’s going to happen when the novelty wears off?
Sitting in the front row at an IMAX 3D showing, I was completely distracted by the absolutely stunning visuals. Seeing this movie in 3D or IMAX 3D is a must because, for all of its great 3D effects, “Monsters vs. Aliens” isn’t as great as it should be.
Kary Bowser is co-producer of the Matt & Ramona Show (107.9, The Link). Read his reviews at kbowser.wordpress.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.