What do you do when hostile aliens attack earth? You call on your secret weapon, a unique team of monster misfits, of course.
Monsters vs Aliens is based on a unique premise. When Earth is threatened by hostile alien invasion, there is no other recourse but to turn to a team of throwback 50’s style B monster movie rejects to save the world, and hope for the best.
This 2009 American 3D computer-animated science fiction action-comedy film was produced by DreamWorks Animation, and features the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Rudd. Monsters vs Aliens also features a memorable soundtrack.
This movie is extraordinary fun, as a government ordained team of monsters led by a human woman, Susan Murphy (Witherspoon) who is transformed into a fifty foot+ giant, after being struck by a meteor. The experience also turns her hair white. This film plays with some of the most famous and oddball monster concepts of creatures from the monster happy fifties B movies created here and abroad, and does it in a memorable and remarkably amusing manner.
After her encounter with the meteor, Susan awakes in a top secret government base, intentionally, vaguely called Area 50 something, where she meets the warden W.R. Monger (Sutherland doing his best George C Scott), and fellow inmates: Dr. Cockroach P.H.D.(Laurie), a mad scientist who became half cockroach after an experiment; B.O.B. (Rogen) (Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate), a brainless, living mass of goo as a result of a food flavoring mutation; Insectosaurus, (Vernon) a mutated bug standing at over 300 feet in height, and The Missing Link, (Arnett) a prehistoric fish man who was thawed from deep ice; and Susan herself has been renamed to Ginormica. The cast also includes Stephen Colbert as the clueless and cowardly President Hathaway.
On the other team, representing the aliens, are Rainn Wilson as the very grumpy, and arrogant Gallaxhar, the self-proclaimed alien king who hopes to take over Earth. He is served by gigantic robot probes (around the same size as Insectosaurus) and possesses a giant cloning machine. Gallaxhar’s ship is a very cool and impressive part of the movie. The film also features Amy Poehler as the voice of Gallaxhar’s sarcastic computer.
After introducing the earthly characters, the plot features Gallaxhar’s arrival on earth, and leads to the inevitable conflict that results from his hostile agenda of conquest. The appearance of the imposing giant robot that announces his arrival and plans is a real treat visually as is most of this modern animated classic.The robot’s design is memorable and impressive. Its very cool in its simplicity and abilities. One of the things that sets this film apart is that the character designs are superb, it is visually stunning and amusing at the same time. This film does a great job depicting, and telling a great, fun story.
Monsters vs Aliens is action packed, with some delightful visual gags, including an exciting chase through San Francisco, which serves as the setting for much of the film’s story, and what’s a film that takes place in the city by the bay without an epic battle on the Golden Gate Bridge? The visual gags also include a tip of the hat to other modern science fiction classics like Independence Day (1996). Science fiction writers cannot seem to resist destroying the famous landmark in genre movies, and Monsters vs Aliens obliges this popular genre trope in classic style and manner.
Along with the excellent visuals, the film also features witty and amusing dialogue, as it weaves its way to its satisfying, dramatic, and hilarious conclusion. There are some small subplots along the way, Like Susan coming to terms with her until then untapped inner strength as a woman and individual. Insectosaurus also has some evolving to do, and like Susan is transformed during the film’s duration, and likewise Link, has an existential crisis he must work through during the film’s narrative.
All this is meant to convey the film’s main theme that maybe being different is something we all feel at some time, and that you should appreciate it as making you special. That real friends are the people that help you realize this, and appreciate it, and sometimes a change in attitude towards your uniqueness can be transforming.
Beside the main film, Monsters vs. Aliens franchise also gave birth to a video game, a short film called B.O.B.’s Big Break, and two television specials, Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and Night of the Living Carrots. A TV series based on the film started airing on Nickelodeon on March 23, 2013, which was cancelled after one season due to low ratings
Despite mixed reviews from critics, I consider this film a marvelous creation, and one of DreamWorks best animated features to date, that deserves being acknowledged as one of the best science fiction comedies ever. Good stuff that remains one of my favorites.