Monsters vs Aliens
dir Conrad Vernon, Rob Letterman
scr Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Rob Letterman, Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
voices Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Paul Rudd, Jeffrey Tambor, Amy Poehler, Renée Zellweger, John Krasinski
release US 27.Mar.09, UK 3.Apr.09
09/US DreamWorks 1h34

Monsters vs Aliens
Monster control central: BOB, Ginormica and Link

witherspoon rogen laurie
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Monsters vs Aliens With a sharply funny script, vivid characters and eye-popping imagery, this is a raucously enjoyable animated film. It might be a bit chaotic and dark for small kids, but their parents will love it.

On the day of her wedding, Susan (voiced by Witherspoon) has a close encounter with a meteor that causes her to grow exponentially. She's taken to a secret government facility, where General Monger (Sutherland) renames her Ginormica and locks her up with other secreted monsters: blobby BOB (Rogen), mad scientist Dr Cockroach (Haurie), fish-man Link (Arnett) and the enormous Insectosaurus. But the interstellar alien villain Gallaxhar (Wilson) has a plan to destroy the earth. And the President (Colbert) has no choice but to release the monsters to take him on.

The script is a riot of fast dialog, witty film references and characters who fairly burst with personality quirks. All of them are superbly well-voiced by the cast and, combined with the especially inventive animation, keep us laughing fairly continuously from start to finish with the constant collision of verbal and visual gags. The imagery is especially clever, with a refreshingly stylised design that makes good (but not great) use of the 3D effects.

But it's the story and personalities that really keep us hooked, as the plot works on several levels as a government conspiracy comedy (a la Men in Black), an alien invasion movie (Independence Day) and even a coming-of-age film, as the monsters find their place in society. The filmmakers also acknowledge their place in movie history with witty nods to all kinds of sci-fi films; for example, all of the monsters can trace their origins to genre classics.

These touches help make up for the general thinness of the film, which doesn't have much of a message besides that we should stand up for ourselves and be loyal to our friends. But the level of humour is surprisingly sophisticated, with potent political jabs, sharp social commentary and even a subtle touch of diversity and acceptance. None of that stuff really matters in a film as much fun as this, but it gives it an extra kick that makes us want more.

cert pg themes, violence, innuendo 8.Mar.09

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Monsters vs Aliens kayleigh brown, whitwell paston peterbrough: 5/5 "i think it is very good flim. the book sounds good to read. there is lots of action in the flim and that is how i like most flims with lots of action. thanks for making it" (14.May.09)
© 2009 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall