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Review

‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ supplies humor, interest for both children, adults

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April 2, 2009

2009 may very well be the year that the kids movie reigns supreme. With the latest installment of this genre “Monsters vs. Aliens,” we see yet another film that is not only a good mix of humor, but a decent plot, and memorable characters. But with all the good this film does, it also alienates (no pun intended) some members of the audience with its inside jokes, and the main group of people not in on the jokes will probably be our generation and younger, those who haven’t seen most of the classic horror and science fiction movies.

The movie has a simple enough plot for kids to follow, but it is also enough for adults to get into. Susan Murphy is hit by a meteor on the day of her wedding that causes her to grow several stories taller. She is captured by the government, and forced to reside in a prison with other monsters such as The Missing Link, Insectosaurus, Dr. Cockroach and B.O.B. When an alien robot starts wreaking havoc on the country, they are released to battle it. Obviously it’s a plot that didn’t require a lot of thought, but it is just enough to keep adults interested as well as kids.

The characters in the movie are almost all parodies of characters from early horror and science fiction movies, and they are well-played by their voice actors. Reese Witherspoon does a good job as a leading animated lady; however, she is generally overshadowed by the supporting cast consisting of Hugh Laurie, Rainn Wilson, Kiefer Sutherland and Stephen Colbert. Sutherland voices the overbearing and solely military minded general that came straight from the script of a Stanley Kubrick movie, while a bizarre twist of “Frankenstein” and Cronenberg’s “The Fly” come to life with Laurie’s help and Stephen Colbert plays a president that is, well, the character of Stephen Colbert.

As stated, however, some of the humor will fly over the heads of most audience members who have not seen a great deal of older horror movies. Anyone can laugh at the president trying to communicate with an alien vessel with a keyboard playing the theme to “Beverly Hills Cop,” but the first six notes from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” will go unnoticed by most people in the audience. A lot of kids’ movies seem to be pigeon-holing their jokes to the adults present these days, but when half of the jokes don’t even get laughed at, perhaps it’s time to cut down on the references.

The movie as a whole will have most people laughing throughout its entire duration (aside from the movie references), and if you’re into the whole 3-D gimmick, I would suggest this one. This is truly a year where a lot of the best movies have been those made for children, but also targeted at adults. If something doesn’t change soon, we may very well see an animated character accepting an award for Best Actor in a Leading Role next year. Perhaps that will give Hollywood the heads up to finally start making some better movies targeted solely at adults, rather than making films such as “Bride Wars” or yet another horror movie remake.

four stars out of five

Nathan Piotrowski is a digital film and television major with a film studies minor. In his spare time, he attempts to be a professional lottery winner.