Over the years, the only studio to legitimately threaten Disney’s stranglehold on animation has been Dreamworks animation; Pixar does not count since it had a distribution deal with Disney and is now owned by Disney. Of course, Mike Myers almost killed that with Shrek The Third.
Monsters Vs. Aliens is another in a long line of computer-generated animation. Dreamworks does an even better job of approaching Pixar’s level with the realism and artfulness. ; something that many other studios are quick to ignore. The story is a simple one: girl has everything; girl gets hit by meteor; girl becomes a monster. What I really liked is that the story was kept tight, but allowed enough exposition to provide reasonable justification for everything. I do agree with Roger Moore of the Orlando Sentinel when he talks about this being a story of empowerment for girls. I would take it a step further – all too often we rely on a magic fix to solve everything when we can do it ourselves. This movie shows how right that is.
The voice casting is spot-on – Stephen Colbert evoked memories of Robin Williams’ Genie from Aladdin with the role of the President. It was great to hear Hugh Laurie as the intelligent monster and Seth Rogen as B.O.B. Overall, not a bad voice selection for any character. There were also a number of sight gags and one not-so-subtle nod to Shrek.
My advice: See it at full-price and in 3-D – you will have a blast with monsters that can be fun without being destructive to mankind…