(This entry is part of “Monster May,” a look at classic and iconic monster movies all leading up to the United States premiere of Godzilla on May 16. For more on what’s going on this month, check out our original post here.)
The Monster: The monstrous mutated former human known as Ginormica!
Average Size: Height, 49 ft, 11 in.; Weight, Dude, you never ask a woman her weight (but probably close to a couple tons).
Claim to fame: Throwback to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, and kicking major alien butt.
I promised you a B-movie yesterday didn’t I? Well this isn’t quite what I meant, but let’s face it. Monsters vs. Aliens is the ultimate homage to the scary Monster surge of the early 40’s and 50’s. But let me explain.
For one, you have the main character, Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon). She’s just having a normal day, getting married to a handsome news reporter named Darek Dietl (Paul Rudd) when out a nowhere she gets struck by a meteorite. Well, not one to be shaken, Susan heads to her wedding just in time for the alien effects of the meteorite to kick in, resulting in her growing to enormous size and generally terrorizing everyone in a 100 foot radius.
Understandably Derek freaks out just trying to figure out how their honeymoon is going to go, and calls off the wedding till Susan can be “cured”. Meanwhile the US Government comes in with some grade-A tranquilizer darts and takes her down. When she wakes up, she’s in a top secret laboratory where she’s greeted by three “guests” of the facility she’s trapped in: Dr. Cochroach, Phd (Hugh Laurie), a humanoid giant cockroach with a massive IQ; B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), a sentient gelatinous blob; and Missing Link (Will Arnett), a Creature from the Black Lagoon type creature that can live on both land and water.
Oh yea, and also Insectisaurus, a giant 100 ft. bug.
Meanwhile, an alien robot gets to earth. Never afraid of being in the spotlight, President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) attempts to communicate to the alien robot in every way we know how: the beginning of the theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spock’s “live long and prosper” sign, and a rousing rendition of Harold Faltermeyer‘s “Axel F.”
However, that doesn’t work and an alien invasion descends to earth. You see, that meteorite that hit Susan was filled with Quantonium. That’s what made her huge. But it’s basically the most powerful source of power in the universe, so the great overlord Galaxhar (Rainn Wilson) wants it and is willing to fight anyone to take it.
Well General W. R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) suggests they use the Monsters in his keep to totally destroy the aliens. But since Susan is a human carrier of the Quantonium, she get’s captured. Can she get free of the aliens, save the Earth, make new friends, get over Derek, and accept that she’s a 49′ 11″ woman and that’s probably never going to change?
Like I said, this movie is a homage to a TON of different monster flicks. It’s like the ultimate parody. Susan/Ginormica is reminiscent of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.I mean even her wedding disaster emulates the costume of the late 50’s flick.
That aside, it’s really a contemporary spin on an old story. Susan has to find her self-worth even though she feels she’s a hideous monster (Monster yes. Hideous? Not so much). Oh yea, and also save the day.
There are lots of fun action pieces, the humor is actually not your typical cliche crap, and while it’s not as memorable as say Megamind, the film still delivers as a fun romp that people of all ages can enjoy. In addition, it’s an all star cast filled with comedians, dramatic actors, dramatic actors turned comedians, and also Reese Witherspoon. Amazingly, it’s almost perfect casting with each voice actor bringing a funny or interesting twist to a classic character, and it all fits together very perfectly.
There are tons of cliches, but Monsters vs. Aliens isn’t a movie to take itself too seriously, and revels in the corniness and camp that the 50’s brought to the Monster genre. All in all, it works, and the cliches work to elevate the story, rather than distract from it.
Rating: Print. It’s a good film apart from the homages, but with an all-star cast and a good story, it’s worth it.
(Tomorrow we take a look back at a new take on a classic film. Come back tomorrow for some more thrills and action and other stuff like that)