With all of the mixed reviews on practically every aspect of this movie, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is about to get married to her dream man, a weatherman named Derek (Paul Rudd). But when a meteorite crashes nearby, the special energy hits Susan and turns her into a giant. Enter a special U.S. government agency led by General W.R. Monger (Keifer Sutherland), who has secretly been collecting monsters over the years and keeping them in a hidden facility. The other monsters in the facility include a gelatinous blob named B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), a mad scientist cockroach-man named Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), a testosterone-filled fish-man named The Missing Link (Will Arnet), and a giant mutated insect named Insectasaurus. But when an evil alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) wants the energy from Susan, he starts a war on Earth that forces General Monger to suggest to President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) to use the monsters to help win.

It’s a relatively straight-forward plot, but nobody is going to see a movie entitled Monsters Vs. Aliens to experience a narrative masterpiece. The biggest complain for the film is that it takes too long for anything to happen. It does, indeed, take about 30 minutes before the alien part of the story is even introduced. But that doesn’t mean everything else in that 30 minutes is bad. God forbid a movie try to set up its characters and give them even the smallest bit of depth. I never once looked at my watch through the entire movie. The movie was very entertaining from beginning to end.

While all of the characters were fun in their own way, I agree with most others and say that Seth Rogen’s B.O.B. was the heart of the film. He stole every scene he was in, which was most of the ones that didn’t focus on Susan’s personal life. But B.O.B. was just straight-up hilarious. I’ve never been a big fan of Seth Rogen’s laugh (I find it kinda annoying, really), but for whatever reason, it really worked for this character. To see B.O.B. launched into the sky and hear Seth Rogen’s laugh was just hysterical to me.

The least intriguing character was Will Arnet’s The Missing Link. He wasn’t a bad character. He just wasn’t nearly as interesting as the others. I loved General W.R. Monger (who doesn’t even sound like Keifer Sutherland) and Stephen Colbert’s President Hathaway, as well. As you also might have noticed, the movie is full of incredible voice actors. Much like in Kung Fu Panda where almost every character was voiced by a known actor (either in television or movies), Monsters Vs. Aliens even gave little roles to big names. Jeffrey Tambor, Renee Zellweger, John Krasinski, and Amy Poehler also share voices in this film. I don’t even know who the character was that Renee Zellweger voiced. That’s how small it must have been.

Also, whereas Kung Fu Panda was played homage to wuxia films, Monsters Vs. Aliens is a large homage to old B-horror movies and sci-fi in general. There are references from Third Encounters to Spaceballs. And then there are other homages to films like Dr. Strangelove and Beverly Hills Cop, but they’re fun anyway. If you know your film, you’ll see references all over the place. And I think that’s where a lot of people fail to grasp this movie, it seems. This is the kind of movie that falls into categories with Shaun of the Dead (though not quite as genius). They’re parody, but at the same time they pay respects to the films they’re poking fun at.

The humor in the film is somewhere between Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. It’s mostly kid-friendly, a bit of slapstick, and a couple adult jokes just for fun. My personal favorite of the adult jokes (which I was waiting for, though I can’t believe they actually used) was in General Monger’s description of Susan’s new giant form and how she’s gotten bigger while his hands are out in front of his chest (which he then notices and drops down).

On the side of the visuals, the movie was very fun to look at. I saw the film in 3D, and it was honestly one of my favorite 3D experiences thus far out of all the 3D films I’ve watched lately. All of the others that have come out recently haven’t seemed to use the gimmick to its full potential, but I finally believe they made a movie that damn near did. This really is a movie that needs to be seen in 3D, and I honestly couldn’t imagine watching it any other way.

If I had any complaints, it would be that I would have liked more character development between Susan and the monsters. Most reviews I’ve read said they just wanted to get to the alien stuff. But I thought the movie could have used at least some kind of montage (yes, a montage) to show Susan becoming friendlier with the other monsters. As it is, it goes from Susan being freaked out about where she is to it being a month later and her being best friends with everybody. In between is the alien introduction, but I think there should have been something else to show that span of time between Susan and the other monsters.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the film. It was funny, especially B.O.B., and I did laugh out loud quite a few times. It was great to look at in its 3D form (though I figure it’d be good to look at in any form… I’d just prefer the 3D). The story isn’t anything epic, but all the movie homages are cool. I thought it was great fun, and I’d totally see it again.

A Keanu 'Whoa'

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