Film Review – Monsters Vs Aliens (2009)

BOTTOM LINE: Clever, witty, fun and looking glorious in 3-D, “Monsters Vs Aliens” is a solid CG-animated flick which both kids and adults should enjoy, even though it lacks a knockout punch.

THE GOOD: Nine times out of ten, a CG-animated movie is more often than not great and one can only speculate that the reason for this stems from the fact that so many years of time and effort are spent making them. Pixar is the studio that makes the AA-grade CG films, but Dreamworks Animation is close behind and with “Monsters Vs Aliens”, the company has shown its ability to deliver a good quality film, even though it is not quite up to Pixar’s lofty standards. As the title would suggest, aliens come to earth to take over the planet and it is up to a group of monsters who have been locked up in the top secret military base Area 51 to take them on. The film is full of great one-liners and colourful characters, least of which being the monsters themselves. Both B.O.B. and Insectosaurus stand out as being the funniest, the former with his lack of brain and subsequent comedic banter and the latter for his sheer size masking a cute benign personality.

There are a lot of human characters in this story, led by Susan (aka Ginormica) who becomes a super-strong giant after a radioactive meteorite lands on top of her on her wedding day. The US President is particularly funny, especially when he starts playing the Beverley Hills Cop theme (or for the new generation, the Crazy Frog tune) as a means of communication with the aliens in a nice rip-off of “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind”. Where this film differentiates itself from others of its type is its execution in digital 3D which is nothing short of astounding. The pictures and effects are so clear, colourful and vibrant that you feel like you are in the movie itself and unlike IMAX, it is not overwhelming. The future of 3D is really in this type of film and hopefully this trend will continue in to the future. “Monsters Vs Aliens” is a good, fun film with some stunning visuals and colourful characters making for an enjoyable experience.

THE BAD: It may be harsh to say this film does not quite reach the heights of its genre, but with so many great CG-animated films made, this description cannot be avoided. “Monsters Vs Aliens” is good, but it does not match the quality of films like “Finding Nemo” or “Wall-E” from Pixar. The reason for this is largely due to a lack of punch and lethargy in the story telling. Despite being a short ninety minutes, the first twenty or so go by a little too slowly without much to grab your interest; most of this is spent setting up Susan’s character and while it is important to the way the rest of the film plays out, it is also a little boring. Also, given the comedic nature of the main monster characters, it is a shame that more was not done to exploit this, leaving parts of the film a bit flat in execution. As a result of these factors, the film lacks a knockout punch that would have made it memorable which is a shame because the core concept is fantastic and its rendering in 3D is marvellous.

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