Saturday, March 28, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens (**)

Monsters vs. Aliens.  99 mins.  PG.  Directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon.  Written by a bunch of people.  Starring the Voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, and Stephen Colbert.  

Monsters and aliens.  Each on their own are pretty awesome.  Put them together, even better.  Pit them against each other in a battle over world domination: Hell yes.  If ever there was a can't miss prospect for a 3D kids' flick, it's Monsters vs. Aliens.  And yet, that's exactly what this movie does: miss the mark on a whole host of different levels.  The biggest blame falls on the script.  It took five credited writers, and countless other uncredited ones to come up with the uninspired story, unfunny jokes, and tepid action sequences strewn throughout the movie.  Rather than explore the concept, the writers are content just showing a bunch of monsters hanging out and coming to grips with their eccentricities, and, oh yeah, occasionally fighting a big alien robot (on Golden Gate Bridge) or one cartoonishly evil alien (voiced by The Office's Rainn Wilson).  The pop culture homages to past monster movies (The Blob, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Fly) is appreciated, but not artfully executed.  Almost all of the jokes fall flat, and aside from a few choice quips from Seth Rogen's blob character and a funny riff on the Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme song (think "Axel F"), there's really nothing all that clever.  The big gimmick of the movie is its "Tru 3D", but as with most other 3D movies these days, the gimmick wears out after a half hour, so the movie better be pretty good after that.  Monsters vs. Aliens, despite the potential, is a giant letdown.   When you cast Stephen Colbert as the voice of the President and don't give him one funny thing to say, you know you've missed out on some opportunities.  The movie tries way too hard to be kid-friendly.  Kids are tough.  They can take it.  And they deserve a monsters vs. aliens movie that gives them their (parent's) money's worth.



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