Ginormica, (Susan to her friends and family), does her best to push this 3D animated thriller past it’s average B movie roots, but even with the power of Quantonium she fails. What could have been an awesome flick landed firmly in the realm of average.
The story starts out strong with Susan on her wedding day getting dressed up and ready to marry her fiancée. We learn quickly that he’s a bit of a flake, thinking more of his job than of their honeymoon, but she puts on a smile and trudges forward. Just before the ceremony, Susan is struck with a large green glowing meteor. Her mother comes to the rescue with some wet wipes, cleans her up and sends her down the aisle. As soon as the minister starts talking Susan grows to an astounding 50 feet tall. Once the church crashes down around her and everyone flees the scene, the army swoops in and takes her off to "monster" prison.
This is the point where things get weird and the story takes one awkward turn after another. The "prison" is horribly dark, plain, and boring. The character development of the other monsters lacks, and we waste a lot of time on Susan’s "orientation" which is nothing more than moving her to her cell on a contrived transport platform. The psychologist has thoughtfully decorated her cell with a poster of a kitten hanging on a branch.
The humor was sporadic and often appealed only to the kids or only to the adults. I lost count of how many times one group would laugh and the others stared on in silence. An example of this is when the president "greets" the robot. He attempts to deliver the five-note sequence from Close Encounters, but messes it up and instead breaks into a funky tune and dance. Since Close Encounters is a 32 year old movie (don’t you feel old now?), few people got the reference and even fewer laughed.
Monster vs Aliens includes a ton of references to geek culture, 50s monster movies, science fiction and current events. Most of these references were left hanging, either with silence, or a dark and/or awkward situation. I don’t know if the writers failed to develop this well enough, or if parts got cut in production, but the result was an average fun movie that could have been awesome.
Two of the characters stood out. Susan started out a little weak, but became a confident heroine who never lost faith in herself. B.O.B. was the strongest character and delivered more funny lines than any two characters put together. His lack of brain didn’t hinder his ability to find solutions to problems, but it did add significantly to the drama. The monster known as "The Missing Link" whose name might conjure up something like a Neanderthal is really a reptile and reminiscent of the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Link’s ability to swim was mostly ignored and the one time it was used was completely unnecessary to the plot. Dr.
Overall Monsters vs Aliens was a funny movie, but it had some strange and often awkward moments. Imprisonment, accidental death and wanton destruction aren’t usually funny. This movie didn’t quite manage to make them so. I’m giving it 2.5 of 5 stars. While it didn’t suck, it didn’t excel where it had the opportunity to do so.