Monsters vs. Aliens [2009]

art-of-monsters-vs-aliens-labyrinth-books-toronto-animation-illustration-manga2There are a lot of reviews out there of Monsters vs. Aliens (MvA).  However Fortress Takes will give you some information from a slightly different perspective.  We have no axe to grind nor a dog in this hunt.

First of all some of you may worry that this movie, like a number of computer animated movies in the past, has political messages in it.  MvA steers clear of them for the most part.  There are a subtle few that the kids will not understand.  That beyond the usual cliched stereotypes like a general named “W.R. Monger”.

Ahh, fate had something different than marriage in mind for this almost married couple.  He would become more of a jerk and she the size of a 6-story building.  Some women really let themselves go after marrieage.

Ahh, fate had something different than marriage in mind for this star crossed duo. He would become more of a jerk and she the size of a 6-story building. Some women really let themselves go after marriage.

For the name they gave that guy he turned out to have more heart than expected.  While you may not like what he does at the start of the film you will feel okay about him at the end.  There is of course also the well worn PC message of judging people by there actions and not their looks.  Also the one about loyalty and acceptance by friends.

The fight at the bridge was one of the movies bast scenes.  The action was well planned out and clear.  In any action movie including this one, that is not always the case.

The fight at the bridge was one of the movie's best scenes. The action was well planned out and clear. In any action movie including this one, that is not always the case.

My one sentence synopsis to get you up to speed on these takes goes something like this:  A girl gets crushed by a meteor on her wedding day causing her to grow into a giant which in turn gets her recruited onto a secret military team of monsters who must thwart an alien invasion and save the world.  If I was to add the old kicker sentence to that it would read:  Along the way she learns the priceless lessons of self acceptance and esteem, in addition to true friendship and happiness.

This was her second giant outfit.  It was sparkly, intricate and fun for the eyes.

This was her second giant outfit. It was sparkly, intricate and fun for the eyes.

Sadly the latter comes from turning her back on a normal sized life and traditional marriage relationship.  Of course they soften this by making the potential groom a self-absorbed jerk.  I guess you should not really think it through too much about what life will really be like in the long run at that size, but I digress.

In some ways MvA is refreshing in its action which really does put many people in real danger.  Additionally the Golden Gate Bridge really gets trashed.  Fittingly the movie does not pull its punches when dealing with the bad guy clones and even the big boss gets blown up with his ship.  No weaseling out of his comeuppance.

Pick on somebody your own size!  ... ahh, wait.  She is kind-of his size in this scene...

Pick on somebody your own size! ... ahh, wait. She is kind-of his size in this scene...

The movie is rightly plotted around the girl, because while the other monsters are fun and good for gags they are not ones for which you could as easily relate.  Reese Witherspoon did a good job voicing the star.  Kiefer Sutherland also did well with the less taxing and less stretching general.  While I deplore animated movies thrown together with big name stars just to sell schlock to kids, these two along with Hugh Laurie made worthwhile contributions.

The animation quality was good.  Scale was a key factor in this movie for obvious reasons.  It was handled well on all fronts.   The giant girl, the giant creatures and robots, the enormous bridge, and gigantic space ship.  You believed the big-ness with the proper amount of slow down and the appropriate camera angles.

-And then Jack Bauer yelled, "We're running out of time!" and shot her in the leg.  Wait, wrong show.

-And then Jack Bauer yelled, "We're running out of time!" and shot her in the leg. Wait, wrong show.

We here in the Fortress were pleasantly surprised by MvA.  Yeah there were some cliches and stereotypes.  However with the political correctness turned down a bit and the action and humor satisfactory for both kids and adults, this movie may be a good choice for your $9.75 ticket.  (Well, that is how much it cost me.  *&^$#@!)

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4 thoughts on “Monsters vs. Aliens [2009]

  1. $9 is too much to see this one. I don’t know, it just doesn’t sound all that good from the reviews, and these type of films just don’t seem all that terribly original. I’ll wait for the dvd.

    • I hear ya Rob. $10 smackers is still a lot of money to we here in the Fortress. MvA is a good choice for a DVD wait.

      We went in with our expectations sufficiently lowered. The home theatre often automatically lowers expectations. So that may indeed be the way to get the most out of this film.

      MvA is no tour de force, but it sat better with us than another wise crackin’ celebrity voiced all animal flick.

  2. I’m slowly making my rounds in the Fortress, careful not to slip on the ice. However, the material is not ponderous to read through by any means ;). (more a lack of time)

    Well, I have to say I am pleasantly surprised that MvA was a fairly decent success by your standards. I wait for everyone else to watch current Disney movies before I bother with them, frankly because I just don’t trust the 3D style. It took me a while to watch Wall-E, but I’m glad I finally did. And while 3D animation and I fight like a pair of brides maids for the bouquet, I will say I give in once in a while. Knowing the plot of MvA has alleviated some of my misgivings, and at the very least there is some adult humor tucked in here and there. But I doubt any current Disney movie could have me singing praises to likes of classics such as Aladdin or Beauty and the Beast. I always went for the more fantastic, epic, …dare I say fairy tale-like? Perhaps I will rent MvA though, because I’m sure it’s still enjoyable to watch regardless of my vendetta with Disney. *grumble*

    • You will find the Fortress is a safe enough place… as long as you step in the well lit areas…

      I do not think MvA was great. I definitely went in with lowered expectations. Good call on Beauty and the Beast. It is one of my faves too along with The Little Mermaid. Aladdin not so much. I think it was too much Robin Williams and passing fad one-liners. I think Walt wanted his movies to be timeless.

      For example Sleeping Beauty. Probably my favorite of all. I like the stylized Eyvind Earle artwork. The timeless themes of good and evil, of desire and longing, and of overcoming that which would destroy.

      Keep making your rounds Zhanneel, you are always welcome (just be careful of sharp crystal).

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