Monsters Vs. Aliens
DreamWorks, PG

by Al Topich

The 1950's produced some of the greatest B-picture horror films ranging from Godzilla to The Blob to The Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Now these monsters are somewhat back a half century later to do battle with a diabolical alien threatening the existence of earth. And it's all in 3-D.

The 3-D doesn't really serve much other than raising the ticket prices. There are only about three different scenes where something is popping out of the screen at you. At first I thought the 3-D was an inside joke since this gimmick started with the monster movie House of Wax. After awhile I found it more distracting as the film went on. But the kids in the theater seemed to enjoy it. And now with the new Tru 3-D technology the image is extremely crisp, even though there is some color tone loss.

Unlike the 3-D nature of the flick, the characters are all 2 dimensional. The story focuses on Susan (Reese Witherspoon), who on her wedding day is struck by a falling meteor and grows one inch short of 50 feet. She is the most complex of the characters, wanting to be normal again. She is captured by the government and taken to area 51. She is then startled by the presences of her new cellmates, The Missing Link (Will Arnett) who is a creature from a black lagoon, B.O.B. (Seth Rogan) a tomato experiment gone awry, Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie) a Vincent Price want to be. They all have their own back stories that are references to older sci-fi movies. But for some reason I think the references will go over the kids' heads.

The meteor that plunked on Susan's head contained a precious element that Gallaxhar, an evil alien bent on galactic domination, would do anything to get. This leads up to the two fight scenes that basically make up the whole movie. The army can't stop him, so they release the monsters to take care of business.

The fight scenes look good, as well as the rest of the animation, but the film is lacking in any kind of plot that the audience should care about. They try to make up for that fact with Susan's story, but it feels forced. It's like the writers had a good idea for a movie but couldn't execute a complete story.

Another area where the film lacks is with the humor, or lack there of. I didn't crack a smile up until about 20 minutes in. Most of the jokes are flat lacking any kind of wit. I don't see how the children could find it funny. The comedy ranges from Dr. Cockroach consistently eating from the trash to random pop culture references. There's really just nothing to laugh at.

Monsters vs. Aliens blockbuster advertising campaign made me want to see this film and even enjoy it, but joy was the last thing on my mind. The references were clever and the animation interesting, but beyond that there is not enough humor or plot to support the story. 2 stars.

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