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USA 2009
Directed by
Rob Letterman / Conrad Vernon
98 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars

Monsters Vs. Aliens

Synopsis: Susan Murphy (voice of Reese Witherspoon) is getting ready for her wedding day when a meteor hits her and she grows as big as a 10 storey building. The Government incarcerates her in a facility for monsters where she meets some other freaks, B.O.B., the blob (Seth Rogan), Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), and The Missing Link (Will Arnett). When an alien attack occurs the monsters are set free on the condition that they take down a giant robot.

Having been visually and aurally bludgeoned for nigh on 100 minutes the only thought I could take away from this loudly banal film is what is wrong with American culture that it is so bereft of grace and subtlety and so thoughtlessly identifies entertainment with noise and violence that it fails to make a distinction between adult and pre-adult audiences. Well that’s too big a question to address here but clearly we are witnessing a cycle of abuse. Kids who grew up on Wily E. Coyote endlessly trying to kill Roadrunner, ditto Sylvester and Tweety Bird, Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny and so on have grown up and are now making really big 3D cartoons about aliens and monsters trying to kill each other for kids who one day will (in the most innocuous scenario) get a job with some studio conglomerate making technologically overdriven cartoons for….well, you see my point.

The plot of Monsters Vs Aliens, cobbled together by five credited screenwriters, is tiresomely familiar. The novelty is that the main “character” is a giant girl (well sort of girl - she has the anatomical configuration of a Bratz doll) but other than that is the same archetypal heroic figure with a passle of goofy sidekicks on a mission to bring down an Evil Overlord and save the world for nice people. The moral of the story, which can be roughly paraphrased as “it OK to be different” is expediently woven into what is little more than a barrage of destruction. Littlies will probably be scared out of their wits, particularly if their parents have stuck the 3D glasses on them, boys will probably enjoy exactly the same elements and girls, I imagine, will rather be home watching High School Musical for the umpteenth time.

Whilst the 3D effects have some initial pizazz this soon wears off, enjoyment diminished by lack of clarity in lighting and focus. The real problem with Monsters Vs Aliens, however, is that it is so lacking in thought and feeling. Dreamworks, the studio responsible for this expensive dross needs to do a lot better for our kids.

FYI: The writers may well have been familiar with Hitosi Matumoto’s 2007 film, Big Man Japan, which features a character who grows to huge proportions and battles monsters, destroying buildings and bridges in the process whilst the get-in-line message of Robert Wise’s classic 1951 version of The Day The Earth Stood Still with its indestructible 8ft robot has been completely and rather pointedly ignored.




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