30 April 2009

Film: "Monsters vs. Aliens"

Monsters vs. Aliens
Directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
Screenplay by Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky and Rob Letterman and Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger
Story by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
Starring the Voice Talent of: Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Paul Rudd
Date of Screening: 28 April 2009
MPAA Rating: PG (For Sci-Fi Action, Some Crude Humor and Mild Language)

Just before taking her wedding vows with Derek (Rudd), Susan (Witherspoon) is struck by a meteor that causes her to grow to ginormous scale. No sooner has this happened, than the U.S. military apprehends her and whisks her off to a secret facility in which other such monsters have been housed for the better part of fifty years. Seeking the meteor's empowering abilities is the villainous Gallaxhar (Wilson). When his attack repels the military, the President (Colbert) authorizes the use of the monsters to combat the alien invasion.

Dreamworks has produced this in Real 3-D, though I saw a regular 2-D screening. Even without the red and blue glasses, it was obvious which moments were engineered to wow. I was impressed that only a few of these shots were contrived (including one moment in which Gallaxhar looks directly into the audience). Most of them were action shots that felt fairly organic in the context of the film's story.

The cast is great. I mean, any chance Stephen Colbert can be the President, something is working well. Hugh Laurie will be nigh unrecognizable for fans who know him only from House, M.D. The strongest part of the whole movie is Reese Witherspoon's voice work as Susan, who convincingly transforms from a woman in her fiance's shadow to having genuine self-respect and being proud of her own accomplishments. The messages of teamwork and respecting individuality are ones that resonate strongly with me (as baseball is my favorite sport, bar none) and they are handled well in Monsters vs. Aliens.

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