Monsters vs. Aliens

PLOT:

Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is hit by a meteorite on the day of her wedding to weatherman Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd), absorbing a substance called quantonium and growing into a giantess. Alerted to the meteorite crash, the military arrive and capture Susan. She is labeled a monster, renamed “Ginormica” by the government, and sent to a top-secret prison facility headed by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) and containing other monsters: B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), a brainless, indestructible gelatinous blob; Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), a mad scientist with the head and abilities of a cockroach; the Missing Link (Will Arnett), an amphibious fish-ape hybrid; and Insectosaurus, a colossal grub that is larger than Susan. The monsters are forbidden to have any contact with the outside world; while the other monsters have been living contentedly with this lifestyle for the past 50 years, Susan feels incredibly isolated and wishes to return to her old life.

An alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) detects the quantonium radiation emanating from Earth and deploys a gigantic robotic probe to find it and extract it from its source, Susan. After a botched attempt by the President of the United States (Stephen Colbert) to make first contact with the robot, it begins destroying everything in sight, resisting all conventional military force used against it. General Monger convinces the President to use the monsters to fight the robot instead. The monsters accept the mission with the promise of freedom if they succeed. Arriving in San Francisco, Susan is chased by the robot across the city to the Golden Gate Bridge, where the monsters are able to defeat the robot.

Now free, Susan returns to her hometown and introduces her family and friends to the monsters, who are quickly rejected after innocently causing a panicked ruckus in the neighborhood. Derek, meanwhile, breaks up with Susan, claiming that he can’t be married to someone who could overshadow his career. Initially devastated, Susan realizes that becoming a monster has improved her life, and fully embraces her new friends and lifestyle. Suddenly, she is abducted by Gallaxhar, who apparently kills Insectosaurus when he tries to save her. On Gallaxhar’s spaceship, Susan breaks loose and chases Gallaxhar down, only to enter a machine that extracts the quantonium from her body, shrinking her to her normal size. Gallaxhar proceeds to use the quantonium to power a machine which clones him into an army so he can invade Earth.

With assistance from General Monger, B.O.B., Dr. Cockroach, and the Missing Link infiltrate Gallaxhar’s spaceship, rescue Susan, and hot-wire the spaceship’s power core, activating the spaceship’s self-destruct sequence. However, during their escape attempt, Susan is cut off from her friends, who are trapped in the power core and tell her to save herself. Instead, Susan confronts Gallaxhar, who tries to escape with the quantonium, and attempts to force him into releasing her friends. When Gallaxhar says he cannot reverse the sequence, Susan takes the quantonium back and absorbs it, restoring her to her gargantuan size and allowing her to save her friends. The monsters leap out of the exploding spaceship and are rescued by General Monger on the back of the revived Insectosaurus, who had sealed his body in a cocoon and transformed into a giant butterfly.

The monsters receive a hero’s welcome upon their return. Derek attempts to get back with Susan for the sake of interviewing her, which could benefit his career; instead, Susan rejects him and forces him to endure the humiliation of being thrown into the air and caught, swallowed and spit out by B.O.B. on camera. At that moment, the monsters are alerted to a monster attack near Paris and fly off to face the new menace.

REVIEW:

When I first heard about this movie I was as giddy as a school girl about it. The thought of classic monsters from the 50s taking on an alien invasion is a dream matchup equivalent to Ali-Frazier, but after I watched this I was a little disappointed. Not that it wasn’t a great movie, but the fact that it was set in modern-day kind of deadens the effect.

The 50s would have made the perfect backdrop for this, and wouldn’t have changed any parts of the plot except for the laptop at the very beginning. It just seems to be that this should have occurred in a time when everyone was paranoid about monsters and aliens, as opposed to everything but them, as they are these days, but maybe that’s just me

As I said before, this is by no stretch of the imagination a bad film. As a matter of fact, it’s really good.

Reese Witherspoon is all happy on her wedding day, then as she’s outside crying she get’s hit by a meteorite. Fast forward a few minutes and she’s at the alter about to say I do, then she suddenly starts glowing and then goes through a growth spurt. Strangely enough he hair turns white…don’t ask me how growing to 50 ft makes your hair turn from brown to white, but apparently it does. Personally, I think it was an upgrade.

The military shows up tags and bags her, so to speak, detains, debrief, and whatever else they do when they want to cover stuff up. Next thing we know she’s in this cell thinking she’s laying next to her supposed-to-be husband Derek. We go through the whole sequence of her meeting all the principal characters of the film here, General W.R. Monger, Dr. Cockroach, B.O.B., The Missing Link, and Insectosaurus.

Fast forward a bit and enter the villain, Gallaxhar, who wants the power of the meteorite that hit Susan. So, he sends out a giant probe to extract her. The thing lands in California. As one reporter puts it, “aliens only land in America.”[sic]  There is a big to do about the probe and the President of the U.S. (ironically and hilariously voiced by Stephen Colbert) attempts to make first contact. This doesn’t work and seems to do nothing more than activate the thing. Soon we see the President and his generals in sort of war room, when General Monger suggests he let the monsters handle it.

The monsters are…unleashed…for lack of a better term on San Francisco to stop the thing. THe fight tears up most of the city and spills out into the Golden Gate Bridge, where Susan realizes her full potential and takes control of the situation, ultimately defeating the probe, but not without destroying the bridge.

After some dramatic, heart warming fuzzy scene, Susan is abducted by Gallaxhar who extracts the quantonium from her, causing her to shrink back to her original size (at least she keeps her white hair) and informs her of his plan to take over Earth and eventually destroy it as he did his own.

The other monsters come to Susan’s rescue and help her to initiate the self-destruct sequence. In a final confrontation with Gallaxhar, Susan in nearly beaten, but then gets the quantonium back and becomes Ginormica again, totally saving the day.

Voice casting here is brilliant. EAch character seemed tailor-made for their voice actor. Keifer Sutherland is unrecognizable as General Monger until you see his name in the credits, and I’ve already mentioned Stephen Colbert as the president.

The action is what you would expect from your typical sci-fi genre flick. A city gets destroyed, ships blow up, the world is in danger, the usual.

I didn’t care for the dramatic mid section, but I suppose you had to have a calm before the storm, as it led to Susan getting captured. I also wasn’t a fan of the design of Derek. He looks like they animators just took a model from Happily N’Ever After put a suit on him, changed his air, and stuck him in Modesto, CA as a weatherman. That’s just a minor complaint, if you can even call it that.

I had high expectations for this picture. It didn’t live up to the standards I set for it, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t enjoy it. How could you not? The film has everything except for transforming robots, and actually, the probes kind of fit that bill. Again, I think it would worked better had it been set in a different era. Still, anyone can watch and enjoy this, and not have to think too hard about it. Those born after 1985, may not get the keyboard scene, though. Only those of us older viewers will know those songs.

4 out of 5 stars

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One Response to “Monsters vs. Aliens”

  1. […] This thing has been remade a couple of times, neither of which stacks up toi the original (remakes never work…I don’t know how many times I can reiterate that point). The biggest (pardon the pun)  homage to the character, though, may be Ginormica in Monsters vs. Aliens.  […]

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