Saturday, May 23, 2009


MONSTERS VS ALIENS 3D (animated fantasy comedy)
Voice cast: Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Rainn Wilson, Kiefer Sutherland, and Stephen Colbert
Directors: Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
Time: 95 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)

Monster bunch: Missing Link, Ginormica, Insectosaurus, BOB and Dr Cockroach PhD

PREAMBLE: When outer space aliens invade Earth, and the US President has to change his pants, who are you gonna call?

When cyborgs hit the Golden Gate Bridge, and major cities face destruction, who are you gonna call? Monsters! Our own top-secret bunch of Monsters, of course.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Monsters Vs Aliens is the latest of Dreamworks' kiddie fare right after the highly successful Kung Fu Panda. The main plot is about California girl Susan Murphy (voice of Reese Witherspoon), who is zapped by a size-transforming element called 'quantonium' that crashes on to Earth - right smack on her wedding day.

Just as she is about to say "I do" to her bridegroom Derek (Paul Rudd), Susan starts turning into a 50-foot platinum-blonde giant nicknamed Ginormica! The Feds bundle her off to a top-secret establishment where other 'monsters' are kept and trained for combat.

Who are these monsters? Well, there's B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), an indestructible, one-eyed glob of blue jelly that gobbles up anything in its way; Dr Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), a scientist with the head of a ..... (you guessed it!); the Missing Link (Will Arnett), a human-amphibian hybrid; and Insectosaurus, another blob many times larger than Susan.

When the vile, octopus-like Galaxhar (Rainn Wilson) comes to invade Earth, President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) sets the monster squad on the alien robots.

HITS & MISSES: The plot is simplistic, kid's stuff but the action, in all its 3-D glory, is something else altogether. The battles, shown in Transformers-styled spectacle and seat-gripping stunts, are imbued with a keen sense of humour as the dumb glob BOB goes into warrior-mode.

The tone of the story is slanted towards the feminists as the males are shown to be cowards, slime-balls and cads (especially the self-centred Derek). Susan, the heroine of the piece, aided by the other freaks, hold sway. However, it is BOB who gets all the best lines (and laughs) and he is set to be the favourite of the kids.

I also like the inside-jokes aimed at the adults - like the musical nod to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and references to Star Trek, Star Wars and King Kong. Monsters Vs Aliens is basically a fun outing that pokes fun at apocalypse (or Doomsday).

THE LOWDOWN: It is not as memorable as The Incredibles or Monster Inc. or as awe-inspiring as WALL-E but it is still great fun for the family during the school holidays.


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