Go see "Monsters vs. Aliens," Vail | VailDaily.com

Go see "Monsters vs. Aliens," Vail

Charlie Owen
Daily correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily

Sometimes film critics have to pay a price for their jobs and it usually comes in the form of sitting through some terrible movies or going to the theater alone and possibly looking like a loser for not having a date or any friends to sit next to. Fortunately, “Monsters vs. Aliens” was so good it made me forget I was the latter.

The latest in a slew of computer-generated movies, “Monsters vs. Aliens” is better than many of its predecessors and at least on par with the really good ones like “Kung Fu Panda” and “The Incredibles.” Because it’s a kids’ movie, the plot is kept simple: When a meteor lands on Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) right before her wedding to weatherman Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd) she suddenly grows 50 feet tall and gains super strength. Without warning, the government sweeps in and takes her to a compound that houses a variety of other monsters.

She is befriended by a mad-scientist cockroach named Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), a half-man half-ape creature called The Missing Link (Will Arnett), an enormous grub called Insectosaurus and a gelatinous blue blob with one eye called B.O.B. (Seth Rogan). She is given the name Ginormica and is told to forget about her past since monsters and humans can never peacefully co-exist but she still hopes to escape and return to her normal life outside of the compound.

That’s when things get good. A giant robot from space lands on earth and begins to destroy whatever lies in its path. Realizing that earth has little hope to defeat this menace, the monsters are set free to fight the aliens and entertain us for the next hour and a half.

Where the film truly succeeds is the fact that it doesn’t try too hard to get any social messages or pop culture references across, it just weaves them into the action and hopes they resonate with the audience. Of course, the typical messages are there: being an outsider can be a good thing, personal acceptance, the value of true friendship and the notion that America is run by a bunch of fat-headed idiots without a clue. Much of the political humor will sail right over the kid’s heads, but adults will have no problem recognizing the American president (Stephen Colbert) as a send up of George W. Bush or all the illegal alien jokes.

The action is spectacular and nonstop once the monsters and aliens start going at it. There’s an intense fight on the Golden Gate Bridge followed by one on the alien’s spaceship, and everything from the look of the characters to their costumes to the set-pieces are brilliantly colorful and wholly original while paying tribute to previous monster and alien flicks like “E.T.,” “Independence Day,” “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman,” “Godzilla,” and “Star Wars.”

There’s enough smart humor for adults and kids alike to laugh out loud for much of the film, and the lovable monsters never really get much character development, but who cares when you get to see a movie based solely on a fight between monsters and aliens? I promise, you won’t feel cheated when the winner is declared.

E-mail comments about this movie review to cschnell@vaildaily.com.

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