Monsters vs. Aliens, a movie for kids and parents
A Film Review/Special to the Sun
For an additional charge, “Monster Vs. Aliens” can be viewed in 3-D. In an effort to learn whether parents need spend the extra $2 to $4 per ticket, I braved the regular 2-D movie format. It was a success. Unlike the remake of “Journey To the Center of the Earth,” “Monster Vs. Aliens” is perfectly charming in 2-D. Besides, in a few months parents will come under pressure to buy the DVD and that product will include the 3-D version and at least two free pairs of 3-D glasses.
“Monster Vs. Aliens” is a reasonably pleasant viewing experience for adults because DreamWorks eschews frenzied storytelling and gross-out jokes in favor of a science fiction joyride and a minimum of morality lessons. The film’s look and sound are ramped up for kids, but don’t take adults too far out of our comfort zone. A few characters are brightly colored, but the film’s richly saturated palette stops short of overloading our taxed brains. The soundtrack includes both high and low tones, medium and louder segments, but is not so onerous as to cause mental fatigue.
Susan, intoned by chirpy Reese Witherspoon, is initially horrified when her petite form takes on a supersized supermodel’s proportions. Following a life-threatening encounter, the bride-to-be is transformed into a 50-foot-woman replete with platinum blonde hair, then is quickly tranquilized and sped to a secret holding facility for earth’s monsters. Here she is introduced to her fellow inmates, Dr. Cockroach so named after his experiment turned him into a man-bug (voiced by chameleon Hugh Laurie), the Missing Link, a talking ape-fish (Will Arnett), B.O.B., a transparent, one-eyed blob leftover from a snack-food experiment (Seth Rogen), and a mute but adorable 350-foot grubworm.
Inside the gigantic, steel-hulled hangar serving as her new home, Susan stands eye-to-eye with General W. R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) thanks to elevation provided by his personal jetpack. Shortly after Susan’s brief meeting with the other monsters, earth is a attacked by a four-eyed, tentacled extraterrestrial being calling himself Galaxhar (voiced by Rainn Wilson).
The President (Stephen Colbert) dispatches Susan and crew to save earth from Galaxhar’s planet-annihilating scheme. As she battles the alien, Susan taps into her inner “you go, Girl!” to discover her outsized abilities.
Viewing spiffy scenes aboard Galaxhar’s spaceship, we see he has what the other characters lack ” personality to spare ” a handy commodity when sending thousands of his earth-conquering clones into battle.
The film sets up harrowing moments, then revels in showing us that Susan and her crew weren’t actually in grave danger. It just goes to show that you can never be too tall or too blonde ” provided you don’t mind also being a cliche.