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MONSTERS VS. ALIENS

SYNOPSIS:
When California girl Susan Murphy (voice of Reese Witherspoon) is clobbered by space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall. The military puts her into a secret government compound, renamed Ginormica and hold her captive along with a ragtag group of Monsters: the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie); the macho half-ape, half-fish, The Missing Link (Will Arnett); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and the 350-foot grub, Insectosaurus. But when a wild and dangerous alien robot lands on Earth, The President (Stephen Colbert) enlists this motley crew to save the world from imminent destruction.

Review by Louise Keller:
It has the feel of a 50s B movie, coupled with 21st century techno whizzery, this colourful Dreamworks 3D animation about a group of rogue Monsters pitted against surly Aliens on the brink of invading the Earth. Sure storytelling takes second place - the visuals are always the Main Event, but there's plenty to keep youngsters and their parents engrossed with broad visual comedy, sharply conceived satire and a simple story about the friendship between motley outcasts who inadvertently save the world.

Our link to the Monsters comes in the shape of the shapely, long-legged brunette Susan (voiced by Reese Witherspoon), whose life catapults into a non-reversible state when she grows 10 fold and becomes ginormous (hence codenamed Ginormica) moments before she is about to walk down the aisle with an insufferable, self-obsessed TV weatherman. Like Susan, we leave the normality of life in California behind as we enter a secret government facility, where we meet a mad scientist with the cockroach head (voice of Hugh Laurie), a former frozen fish-turned half-ape (voice of Will Arnett), a silent giant orange and yellow furry insect-grub and the wobbly, one-eyed aquamarine jelly-like brainless blob (voice of Seth Rogen) who eats anything before falling in love with a mould of green jelly.

It's all good fun and some genuinely good ideas are meshed into the proceedings, like the scene when the gigantic Susan uses cars as skates to speed through the traffic, moments before San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is destroyed. The Alien World is well represented with a chillingly eerie four-eyed megalomaniac leader (voice of Rainn Wilson) whose cloning commands offer some entertaining moments. It's technically brilliant, offers good value family entertainment with lashings of colour and a promise, no doubt, of a sequel to come.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Jumping yet another notch, this 3D animation is great technology in service of entertaining storytelling - the result is a jaw dropping fantasy in which the filmmakers have happily kept the novelties of 3D to a minimum and the strength of story and character at a maximum. The world premiere in Sydney had kids (and their parents) laughing at all the right places and elicited spontaneous applause at the end.

The early scenes are the most dangerous for the film, risking the loss of traction among the target market of pre-teens as it establishes the story and the character of Susan (Reese Witherspoon). But once she is captured by an incredibly efficient army, things start to move along. The facial animation is as sophisticated as the rest of the work, allowing Susan a great range of emotions and plenty of subtlety.

Seth Rogen voices the blubbery BOB and gets most of the best lines, written for a character with about the same IQ as Rogan's various screen personas.

The excitement is almost non-stop, and the energy level remains high throughout. The action is fierce but never too scary for youngsters, and the big set piece scenes of a giant robot destroying half of San Francisco is brilliantly devised and executed. Because it is animation, the destruction has a lower voltage and in any case, there is no loss of human life. Sure to be a repeatable entertainment, Monsters Vs Aliens secures its popularity through humour; the animation technology is a hard working slave to it.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MONSTERS VS. ALIENS (PG)
(US, 2009)

VOICES: Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Hugh Laurie, Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Will Arnett, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, David Koch

PRODUCER: Lisa Stewart

DIRECTOR: Rob Letterman, Conrad Vernon

SCRIPT: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Rob Letterman, Jonathan Aibel

CINEMATOGRAPHER: n/a

EDITOR: Joyce Arrastia, Eric Dapkewicz

MUSIC: Henry Jackman

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 2, 2009







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