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David Hines [userpic]

movie thoughts: monsters vs. aliens

March 29th, 2009 (10:08 am)
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I was feeling particularly crappy last night, so went to go see MONSTERS VS. ALIENS to try to cheer myself up. Didn't work, but the movie is sort of okay. It's nowhere near as good as the trailer, which shamelessly clipped a number of the few very effective funny bits, but the characters are likable and the action set-pieces are quite good. I do like the team dynamic it sets up: Susan/Ginormica (aka, "the 49'11" woman," which height must appear in the press kits because it's nowhere mentioned in the actual film) starts out as The Newbie but quickly becomes The Leader, with Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. a close second-in-command, the amorphous BOB providing comic relief and various bizarre functions that you'll have to see to appreciate, and the amphibian Missing Link providing heart and a good bit of muscle when circumstances permit him to (which isn't as often as you'd think). Also, there is the gigantic Godzilla-esque Insectasaurus, who is adorable, terrifying, and remarkably funny when you realize he's not so much a character as a running gag. It's a very effective team dynamic, really: Susan takes on the threat directly, ordering BOB and Link to where they'll be most effective, and giving Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D., the time to solve the problem by thinking up a way around it. The movie would serve as a better pilot than a standalone, because whatever flaws it has, the main characters aren't bad at all. (I rather liked General W.R. Monger, too; despite his name, he comes out remarkably likable.)

The story, though, doesn't feel it's quite there. A lot of the things that are supposed to be funny simply aren't -- it's like they cast Stephen Colbert as the President because *of course he'll be funny! he's Stephen Colbert!* Well, no, he won't, absent any good lines and his wildly sycophantic audience. Most of the gags are simply painfully lame. They'd play well with six-year-olds, but not so much with adults. Pixar this ain't. But it's got a good character base, and I could see it being a Yuletide fandom.

Comments

Posted by: Perri (neonhummingbird)
Posted at: March 29th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
dw doctor love sf

Did you see it in 3D or regular view? I went for the 3D experience and while I agree with you on the plot or lack thereof (although I found the President somewhat amusing, which I might not have if I wasn't picturing Stephen Colbert in the recording booth having the time of his life)), I totally didn't care, because I was too busy squeaking over how amazing the depth and textures of the 3D were.

(I also found Monger weirdly likeable. Which was fun. The characters really carried the movie, and I'm okay with that.)

Posted by: David Hines (hradzka)
Posted at: March 29th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)

Yeah, definitely 3D. It makes you realize that the 3D movies *really* depend on 3D as a spectacle, though. Did you see the preview for BATTLE FOR TERRA? I saw the trailer online and yawned. Oh, boy, another "humans are cruel and suck" movie. Seriously, maybe at one time it would've been daring to do that stuff, but at this point I wonder why, if the filmmakers think so poorly of humanity, they don't just off themselves and open some job positions for people who have something interesting to say. And then I saw the trailer in 3D in the theater, and WOWSERS, was that pretty to look at. Things! Flying everywhere! Explosions! Swerving around and stuff! I still predict BATTLE FOR TERRA will suck, but I don't think it'll be a flop any more, because kids who saw that trailer in front of MONSTERS VS. ALIENS will want to go see it just for the spectacle.

At some point, though, the novelty will wear off. And these movies need better stories when that happens.

Posted by: Bill A (billa1)
Posted at: March 29th, 2009 04:14 pm (UTC)

I agree the 3D movie was really worth the price of admission. I don't disagree too much with what you said relative to the group dynamic, but I thought the movie was really about Susan taking control of her life after fate gave her its backhand. She ultimately gains self-confidence in her own abilities, decides what was really important to her and then actively pursues it. Yes, my granddaughter really enjoyed it, but so her grandparents. :)

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