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Monsters vs. Aliens – blink and you’ll miss it
Monsters vs. Aliens is not a film that has received much publicity here in the U.K. Being a sucker for the (seemingly) underdog then I headed on down to my local multiplex and handed over my cash! What I did not do though, is pay out for the 3D version. Why do you think I did that? Was it because I am so stingy that a further £1.50 worth of cost is something that I couldn’t consider shelling out for? Did I think that it would be a waste because this amount is almost exactly one third of the price of a cup of fizzy fluid (aka Cola)? No. I didn’t see the 3D version because I had the inkling that the film itself was likely to be awful but the 3D scenes to be impressive and then hide the fact that it is merely a polished rock (and not pure gold as I had hoped).
When a meteorite from outer space hits a young girl and turns her into a giant monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years.
For the first 25 minutes of Monster vs. Aliens you get the feeling that this was meant to be a Saturday matinee animation to go straight to TV. It is satisfactory as a children’s film and nothing more. However you must realise that children’s movies do not exist anymore. They are named “family movies” instead. This would indicate that even the parents of the aforementioned children should enjoy it (to some degree). In the first 25 minutes of this film I was not one of those people! I sat there thinking that I had gladly saved myself £1.50 by not watching the 3D version.
However, then something happened. The president character was introduced and the film changed from being a child’s film into something quite different. It started to have references to other films. In fact it is full of these references for which some are blatantly obvious to the highly subtle. This makes you want to watch the film again as you may have missed some along the way. After 25 minutes it became a film reminiscent of the Muppet movies. The adult humour tucked away within the script is likely to amuse greatly; especially as your children sit there and laugh at the brainless character in love with Jelly/Jello.
You may be asking then why I would not be speaking with great positivity if this film became entertaining by the 25 minute mark. This film is very short. It barely manages 90 minutes and so the set up takes nearly one third of that! It felt as if there was a different screenwriter involved in the first act and another (better) writer dealt with Act 2 and 3. With animation being a very long process the story should be much tighter than this. It is strange then that at this runtime, the film feels too short. You only just manage to get to know the characters before the end credits roll. You expect a better payoff than what is actually given.
The voice cast of this film is well used. Reese Witherspoon is joined by Seth Rogan, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland and Rainn Wilson. Rogan is aptly playing the comedy relief (but still remains less than amusing compared to the president).
This can only be a short review as it is a very short film. Monster vs. Aliens could have been a 25 minute straight-to-TV affair and still be as entertaining. Incidentally the promise of the title is inaccurate somewhat as there is only one real alien in the piece and the mental image of a great war between monsters and aliens is wasted..as it does not occur.
Monster vs. Aliens is far too short a film with a very dull first act as the story is set up and a rushed second and third act. It is likely to be amusing for children: who doesn’t like the premise monsters versus aliens? However it is unlikely to entertain adults as much.
I suggest if your offspring insist that you go and see this film that you take a good book for the first 25 minutes and then appreciate the rest of it as usual. Shell out for the 3D version as it may just save the first act (perhaps not). It should have had a tighter edit, a more elaborate story (I could write a full synopsis in 20 words) and less focus on the least interesting characters. All in all it is very much like a standard Reese Witherspoon film. You expect something from the movie and it achieves its purpose to a point, but it never manages to be really great.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5