movies: monsters vs aliens

monsters vs aliens - when aliens attack, these guys got your backOriginally we'd planned on going to see something else tonight, but the reviews for it looked less than thrilling, so we ended up going for Option B, Monsters vs Aliens.

While it's fairly enjoyable, it's certainly not the best movie Dreamworks have ever made (that title still goes to Kung Fu Panda). And I will make a fairly bold statement here... Dreamworks CANNOT do believable human faces. I don't know why, and I don't actually know what was wrong with them (although I'm guessing the combination of swollen cartoon heads with almost photo-realistic skin tones)... but for the first five minutes or so of the movie, which is all people, it was, to coin a phrase, a train wreck.

They get better later (or maybe I was becoming immune to it), but I was having trouble starting at the big-headed, massive-eyed (the women mostly... actually it was the women I had the most trouble believing, a lot of the male characters weren't so bad), scary skinned people. Funnily enough one of the worst ones at the start of the movie is the character of Susan aka Ginormica, and it wasn't until her hair turned white and she grew enormous that she didn't look quite so freaky.

As far as the story goes, basically they rip off (or pay homage or spoof or whatever phrase you want to use) a bunch of monster movies, most notably The Attack of the 50ft Woman, The Blob, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Fly and Godzilla/Mothra... as well as the odd alien movie... although to be honest I only really picked up on Independence Day (and there's an homage to Dr Strangelove in there too, but that's neither a monster movie nor an alien movie). The alien ship (of which there is only one, not the dozens that appear in the poster) is familar too, although I can't place from where.

Actually I think the alien portion of the movie actually got pretty short changed... not to spoil anything, but the movie could just as easily be called Monsters vs An Alien... rather than using a group of differing aliens, it's basically just a bunch of aliens that look exactly alike. Which I guess is the point of any number of alien movies, where the aliens all look identical. Just seemed a touch lazy to me.

Speaking of lazy, because it was a movie that's also running as a 3D version, they had the lazy and very obvious "things flying at the screen" gags happening from time to time... I'm sure I didn't notice all of them, but there were a few that seemed to be painfully obvious.

The voice cast is fairly solid, Reese Witherspoon is pretty much Reese Witherspoon, but she worked well as the character and everybody else was pretty much unrecognisable (which is what you want in an animated movie I think)... although looking at the list I do wonder whether a lot of the cast wasn't chosen to give the movie some appeal for the hip young parental crowd (I could be wrong though).

The one piece of voice work that did stick out like a sore thumb was the fact that for the Australian edition they'd gotten some local news related shmuck to revoice the newsreader that appears (the voice was familiar, but I couldn't place him). Which, honestly, is a stupid idea that they've done before and they really need to stop. And in this context it makes NO sense... the movie is set in America, why would you not have an American newsreader?

So while it's no Pixar film, it's not bad overall.

yani's rating: 2 giant robot eyeballs out of 5


Victor said...

The alien familar too

Judging solely by the poster I think the ship looks a bit like the one in 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Victor said...

Is the Australian voice David Koch from Channel 7s breakfast program?

I've heard him bragging about appearing in the movie.

yani said...

Ahhhh... that's the talentless hack I was thinking of Victor... good old Kochy...

As for the spaceship, I don't think it is the one you're thinking off... the alien ship is this three prong triangular design... I just wish I could work out if it's unique or if they did copy something else...


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