Monsters vs. Aliens

Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) movie poster

(2009) dir. Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon
viewed: 03/27/09 at Century San Francisco Centre, SF, CA

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought: “Hey, that looks kind of fun.”

Well, that’s about right.  Later trailers revealed the likelihood that the film was far less creative and interesting than the concept at first blush.  The idea, that a sort of 1950’s B-movie invasion of Earth by aliens is thwarted by a bunch of B-movie type monsters that the government has kept under wraps all these years.  I like the concept pretty well.  And for the most part, I liked the design of the characters: a fishman Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), a blue blob (The Blob (1958)), a mad scientist cockroach (see: The Fly (1958)), a Mothra-like thing (most-useless addition), and a woman who has suddenly grown huge (see: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)).  This kind of thing is sort of up my alley.

But the film squanders the idea really by being just another animated feature film with stock “name” stars as the voices, including Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogan, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, and Stephen Colbert.  I mean, do you really need this many “names” to make an animated movie?  Aren’t there people who could build character just as well who we might never have heard of?

And the film follows the plight of the 50-foot woman character, from her wedding to her getting hit by an asteroid, through her experience imprisioned with the monsters, to her fighting aliens and finding empowerment…  Boring and poorly played emotional dreck.

And in the end, the characters are all pretty lame.  And the humor is flat.  The “adult” asides with references here and there to other films is tedious.  Just make a fucking movie.  We would think you were far more clever making a good movie than showing how many cultural “asides” you can make.  For chrissakes!

The one thing that did amuse me was that the adventure takes place in Modesto, CA with references to Fresno, CA, and ultimately in San Francisco, CA.  I was with the kids and we’d been trekking the city all day, looking at the Wharf and the TransAmerica building and Coit Tower and the Ferry Building.  And we were downtown watching it.  And them destroying the Golden Gate Bridge.

The kids liked the blob character the most, the dumb, funny one who gets the best lines.  He wasn’t bad, but the whole thing could have been a whole lot more entertaining.  We didn’t see the 3-D, but no one really cared.  The glasses give Felix a headache and I don’t know if it would have made any difference, really.  If you know my feeling about this current 3-D trend, you’ll know I don’t think a lot of it.

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