"War of the Worlds!" "The Blob!" "The Creature from the Black Lagoon!" "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman!" "Godzilla!" "The Fly!"
Moviegoers who are familiar with the B-movies of the 50s and 60s will love the clever references to them in "Monsters vs. Aliens" — an action-packed computer-animated 3-D wonder from DreamWorks Animation (the studio behind "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda").
There are also references to modern classics, like "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "E.T" and "Star Trek." But whether you're familiar with them or not — and most kids probably won't be — there's no question that "Monsters vs. Aliens" is a gloriously entertaining romp that the whole family will enjoy.
Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) was all set for her wedding day, but then she got clobbered by a meteorite and grew almost 50 feet tall. She's captured by the military, renamed Ginormica and held against her will at a secret government facility with other monsters: the brilliant Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), the macho Missing Link (Will Arnett), the gelatinous B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and the 350-foot tall Insectosaurus.
When aliens led by the evil Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) attack the earth, the President (Stephen Colbert) persuades Susan and her new friends to save the planet. But for Susan, fighting space invaders isn't nearly as hard as letting go of her dreams and embracing her new identity as Ginormica. After all, being a "monster" isn't easy, but at least she's in good company.
"Monsters vs. Aliens" follows the same formula as "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda," in that the main characters realize their true potential through extraordinary circumstances. All Susan ever wanted was to get married, but a random twist of fate forces her to re-evaluate her priorities.
And Reese Witherspoon voices Susan with plenty of spunk, sensitivity and strength, while Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett and Rainn Wilson are also game as Dr. Cockroach, the Missing Link and Gallaxhar. Seth Rogen's B.O.B. is a loveable dimwit, but Steven Colbert is hysterical as the President, and Kiefer Sutherland does his best Nick Nolte impersonation as General W.R. Monger.
Leave it to the bizarre, twisted and very funny "Monsters vs. Aliens" to raise the bar on 3-D technology, since it's such a loving tribute to the classic B-movies that utilized the format in the first place. And coming so soon after the excellent "Coraline," there's more to come, with "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," "Up" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" on the horizon.
Of course, the 3-D technology should never get in the way of telling a good story with strong characters, and that's why "Monsters vs. Aliens" succeeds so ginormously.
Verdict: SEE IT!
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