“Monsters vs Aliens” Ain’t no Disney/Pixar

Production Status: Released

Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy and Animation

Running Time: 1 hr. 34 min.

Release Date: March 27th, 2009 (wide)

MPAA Rating: PG for sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language.

Distributors: Paramount Pictures

Director: Rob Letterman , Conrad Vernon

JJ Rating: B

An alien by the name of Galaxhar (Rainn Wilson) arrives at Earth. General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) states that they need monsters to battle the alien. Ginormica (Reese Witherspoon) is the new blood on this oddball team that includes Dr. Cockroach Ph. D (Hugh Laurie), The Missing Link (Will Arnett), B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and Insectosaurus and together they battle the alien. Monsters vs Aliens.

It’s like I rehash this every single time there is a DreamWorks Animated film. The story is alright. The execution is poor. The script is so flat. The only reason it rises and seems like it is something is because of the stars that are the voices. Speaking of the voices, Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Colbert, Paul Rudd, and Rainn Wilson all did a fantastic job. That is one of the things that DreamWorks tends to do well with is choosing a great cast. The other good thing that boosted this movie was the animation was far better than it has been previously. What was amazing to me were the eyes of the characters. They were so full of life and they did this entire reflecting thing as if the eyes were really mirrors. Also the gestures, the movements of the characters and the facial expressions were far better than in previous films.

They are improving and I like to see that because it would be nice to have some sort of competition with the Disney/Pixar behemoth. The Academy Award for Best Animated Film rightfully go to Disney/Pixar every year. It would be exciting to have that feeling of, “Oh no maybe this year it will be DreamWorks or Fox….” But that won’t happen this year. Hopefully Fox is improving as well, I’ll see later on.

Monsters vs Aliens had amusing moments. The moments that were funny on the trailer were funny in the film. There were also other funny moments and slightly sad moments that were actually touching. I’ve complained in the past that DreamWorks has a problem with having feelings in their animated films, even in their famous Shrek and especially in Antz, but Monsters vs Aliens had moments, because of Susan (Reese Witherspoon) and her boyfriend Derek (Paul Rudd). Their relationship is the most developed in the entire film even though it is the most fractured. The other relationship is with the monster team and that is supposed to be a tight friend like relationship at the end. And though it went through the motions to get to that point, by the time it did it felt too contrived. It lasted too long, clocking in at 90 minutes it was taxing my attention as well as my dozing-ness. I fell asleep once.

So DreamWorks worked at it and still came up a bit short. For children I’m sure they will be entertained and even more so if it’s in Real-D/3D. I think that DreamWorks can do better and I hope that they do. I’m sick of feeling almost apathetic when it comes to seeing their animated movies. I was sure the hell not going to see the atrocious looking horror movie that opened this past weekend. DreamWorks animated films beat horror movies out by a landslide just by thought alone. Monster vs Aliens wanted to be fun and quirky and it got the quirky part down in spades. The fun? It was lacking in all the important areas. But on the upside they are improving and maybe one year they’ll have the shot at the Pixar/Disney Award…I mean the Oscar for Best Animated Film.

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