Rated: PG Reviewed by: Frank Release date: March 27, 2009 Released by: DreamWorks Animation
Although Reese Witherspoon's Susan Murphy who plays the 50 foot woman even though she is only 49 feet 11 inches tall, is the expected star of Monsters vs. Aliens the most important element in this film is the Intel In Tru3D technology, which means the film is produced in 3D rather than converting it into 3D after it is finished.
It all begins with an eye opening first scene floating through rings of a planet like those of Saturn - they appear so realistic we easily believe we are moving through the field of small dust and rocks that surround the planet.
Beyond the satisfying use of 3D the monsters are captive aliens who are mostly freaks of nature probably caused by nuclear explosions, very much like the crop of 50's science fiction films which appeared in stunning black and white.
Susan Murphy is hit by a green light from a crashing space ship on her wedding day and a short time later she grows through the church roof. Throughout the film references to past science fiction films are woven into the plot. Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is an obvious one but Susan also sends a giant hypodermic needle into the foot of a captor as Glenn Langan did in the 1957 film The Amazing Colossal Man. The military leader General W. R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) manages the captive monsters doing an imitation of George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove.
Screenwriters Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky effectively borrow from those old films even the 3D House of Wax using a bouncing ball on a paddle moving in and out of the screen held by a technician who discovers the alien probe when nothing is expected.
With Susan's dream of Paris dashed her weatherman boy friend (Paul Rudd) from channel 172 walks away from the woman who is now eight times his height. To make that point clear directors Rob Letterman and Conrad Vemon film at unusual angles and present ordinary scenes with a special quality that makes them nearly as spectacular as those which reach out to the audience.
Susan's fellow monsters are a professor, Dr. Cockroach, PH.D. (Hugh Laurie), who has the head of a cockroach. The Missing Link (Will Arnett), a fish-ape hybrid who will be refered to as a parody of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, but who appears far more like the alien from the monster from 20 Million Miles to Earth. B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) is a blue mass of gelatinous material with no brain, he falls in love with a plate of jello. Insectosaurus, a giant grub, reminds us of the Japanese Mothra. The main villain is four eyed Gallahar (Rainn Wilson) who wants to take over the Earth and has an army of clones, sounds like The Clone Wars.
As a domed metal monster is set upon the Earth President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) ducks for cover leaving the monsters to save the world and give Susan her wish to visit Paris. It's President Hathaway that leans out into the audience during the credits to announce we should go home.
Monsters vs. Aliens serves us some old ideas from Cold War science fiction, but wrapped in a package that makes memories far better than the old films referenced, all because of the new spectacular 3D process.
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