Where monsters and aliens used to be the staple of sci-fi horror films in the 1980s and 1990s, the macabre creatures are now experiencing revival of a different sort with animated films like Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. and DreamWorks’ latest offering — Monsters vs. Aliens.
Although it attempts to endear with its motley crew of monster misfits, Monsters vs. Aliens starts out fairly human. After being hit by a meteor filled with outer space gunk, bride-to-be Susan Murphy grows to gargantuan proportions, 49-feet-11-inches tall to be exact. Her wedding plans are thwarted when government agents bring her down with a giant syringe and whisk her away to the infamous Area 51, a government facility for monsters.
Not surprisingly, her cellmates comprise all sorts — Dr Cockroach, a scientist who accidentally turned himself into a bug; B.O.B., a big, blue gelatinous mass with one eye; The Missing Link, an ape-fish dude; and a 350-foot grub named Insectosaurus.
Renamed Ginormica by her captors, Susan and her band of monsters are given a chance for freedom when an invading giant alien robot and its alien masters threaten the existence of mankind and General W.R. Monger convinces the President that the monsters are the only ones who can save earth from the alien invasion.
Being a children’s film, the aliens are predictably defeated and the unsung heroes finally relinquish their “loser” status and gain acceptance from the rest of the world, thereby reinforcing the adage of “not being ashamed of who you are”.
A particularly amusing scene in the movie shows The Missing Link stepping out into open air for the first time in over fifty years, taking a deep breath and saying, “It feels warmer than I remember. Did the Earth get warmer? It would be great to know that…that would be a very convenient truth. ” The satirical quip is, of course, made in reference to Al Gore’s book and film on global warming — An Inconvenient Truth.
While the little ones are likely to be enthralled with the bright colors and slapstick humor, adults might find the plot a tad simplistic. However, the little nuggets of current affairs references that litter the movie provide a dry wit not often seen in a kiddy flick.