Thursday, April 09, 2009

Movie Log: Monsters Vs. Aliens

The boys have been good, so I decided to take them out to a movie Tuesday night -- well, actually, I thought that I wanted to see Monsters Vs. Aliens as well (though it turned out that I was mistaken), so we were all in agreement. Along the way, a neighbor boy -- one of Thing 2's best friends -- attached himself to our party, probably mostly because he's one boy with three sisters and his father has been traveling a lot for business lately.

Anyway, Monsters Vs. Aliens is in the very intrusive kind of 3-D that I haven't seen for a while; a bored computer nerd bounces one of those red tethered paddle-balls out of the screen within the first two minutes just to prove to us how intrusive it will be. And it goes on in that vein: obvious and a bit tedious, and rarely as funny as it thinks it is.

There's nothing in particular that Monsters Vs. Aliens does well, except for being a big, loud, splashy extravaganza. The 3-D effects are intrusive and obvious, unlike the immersive and mesmerizing Coraline. The plot is dull and plodding, hitting standard mark after cliche after tired trope. (It's Kids's Movie Plot #2: someone Gets Different, and is shunned by the wider world for that difference, but falls into the Different Group and eventually not only Embraces the Difference but uses it to Save the World.) The dialogue is similarly uninspiring -- Seth Rogen (as the Blob-like B.O.B.) comes the closest to injecting life into the exercise, but even his energy can't lift this bloated carcass.

Monsters Vs. Aliens is a movie made around a title and a technique (3-D), rather than being based in any story or idea. It's pleasant to look at, but even the big battles aren't all that exciting. I'd much rather just watch The Incredibles again -- especially if I could see it in this 3-D process on a big screen.

I see I've forgotten to mention the plot. Well, Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is an ordinary girl about to get married to the local weatherman in Modesto, California, when she's whacked by a falling meteor and quickly starts glowing and then growing, to a height of about fifty feet. The authorities of course appear immediately to spirit her away to the secret government lab where she is to spend the rest of her days, where she meets the other Misfit Toysmonsters. But then an alien probe, sent to get the stuff that juiced up Susan, appears, and the monsters are the only thing that can fight it. Blah blah blah, success in battle but shunned by normal people. Blah blah blah, sad in the desert at night. Blah blah blah, alien conqueror and big battle in the end.

(It doesn't quite have an idiot plot, but it does have a Jerk Plot -- if the alien conqueror dude just came down and asked Susan nicely for the mutating stuff, without sending a killer robot first, I'm sure she'd have been happy to give it to him. Thus the plot only works because he's a jerk -- because he knows he's the villain and acts appropriately.)

So Monsters Vs. Aliens is a dim-witted piece of off-the-shelf hackwork, with nothing original or thoughtful in it at all. And the action scenes aren't even all that great. Unless you also need to see a movie with three boys between the ages of eight and eleven, as I did, I'd suggest you skip it.

1 comment:

Adele said...

The premise was there, the little gang of monsters had good basic personalities, why oh why did then then do "journey of self discovery no. 12"?
I was v.dissapointed.

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