From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens - B+

Rated PG for sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language, 94 minutes

Colorful and imaginative, "Monsters vs. Aliens" is fun for everyone

"Monsters vs. Aliens" is a delightful new CG and 3D animated film that's colorful and enjoyable fun for the whole family. The film is made by Dreamworks Animation, the same studio that produced the "Shrek" movies, and while the animation and story lack the detail and originality of that film or on the level of Pixar, it's still an energetic, entertaining crowd pleaser with inspired voices by an all-star cast.

A meteorite from outer space hits a young woman named Susan (Reese Witherspoon) on her wedding day and turns her into a tall monster, she is taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters also rounded up over the years, including Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), a blue blob named BOB (Seth Rogan), the reptilian-esque The Missing Link (Will Arnett) and a gigantic but gentle furry bug named Insectisoid, who speaks in grunts and groans. With orders from the President (Stephen Colbert) and the General (Kiefer Sutherland) they battle against the evil Gallahaxar (Rainn Wilson) in his plot to take over Earth.

"Monsters vs. Aliens" is a pleasant surprise, with a breezy pace that will keep audiences engaged for 90-minutes, in addition to silly humor that is more on target for the younger set, instead of the overly adult lines that heavily pepper the "Shrek" films. The splashy animation some unique touches, though it lacks the rich detail of the Pixar film and the story is overly familiar; early-going, it reminds of "Monsters, Inc.," with the latter half eerily reminiscent of the Tim Burton 1996 aliens-attack-Earth film "Mars Attacks!." "Monsters vs. Aliens" also doesn't carry a lot of heavy messages, just an intent on having fun and entertaining its target audience, which it does well, especially the 3D, which works well here.

"Monsters vs. Aliens" is aided by an inspired all-star cast of voices. Witherspoon is endearing as the tall Susan, who is unsure that she wants to be a monster, while Rogan ("Pineapple Express") and Arnett ("30 Rock") nearly steal the film as her jovial sidekicks, throwing out some witty lines with Rogan in particular a hoot. He hits on a jello mold and in the middle of a climactic, intense battle scene, says "I don't feel so good."

"The Office's" Wilson is his typical over-the-top self but he clearly is having a blast voicing the multi-eyed Gallaxhar. Listen closely, and you'll also hear Paul Rudd as Susan's self-absorbed weatherman boyfriend and former "Saturday Night Live" star Amy Poehler as the voice of Gallaxhar's computer. Sutherland and Colbert are also inspired choices as the General and the President, with Colbert uttering one of the film's best lines about "Code Brown."

"Monsters vs. Aliens" has a rousing battle scene pitting our monsters against a huge alien robot on the Golden Gate Bridge that is the highlight of the film. After a fast start, it slows down some in the mid-section but it moves energetically toward a predictable climax. If you wanna know who wins out - the aliens or the monsters - well, you'll have to see it for yourself - though the movie is obviously more sympathetic toward the latter.

Either way, "Monsters vs. Aliens" comes out a winner, an amusing diversion for the kiddoes and enjoyable, pleasant fun for even the adults. Take the whole family and have a merry time.