By Jonathan Decker (Family therapist, film critic)
Monsters vs. Aliens (rent or buy it here) is a family-friendly Dreamworks Animation feature which pits classic sci-fi monsters vs. space aliens, in a 1950’s B-movie style showdown with modern humor and the visual flair available through today’s computer effects. For a special treat, the film is also available in 3D.
The story is simple. A meteor crashes on Earth, or more specifically, onto bride-to-be Susan Murphy. Some substance from the meteor causes her to grow to 50 feet in height. She is hidden by the government with other monsters (based loosely on The Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Blob, The Fly, and various Godzilla foes), until space aliens arrive, bent on world domination. Outmatched by the alien’s technology, the U.S. government calls on the monsters to save humanity from annihilation.
All of this is done with a light and fun air, with nothing taken too seriously. Like the best of recent animated features, Monsters vs. Aliens is as enjoyable for adults as for children, thanks in large part to a constant barrage of jokes and a stellar voice cast. Reese Witherspoon is wonderful as Susan Murphy, while 24’s Kiefer Sutherland gets a rare chance to flex his comedic muscle as backwoods general W.R. Monger.
The Office’s Rain Wilson is fine as Galaxar (the evil alien), as is Arrested Development’s Will Arnett as The Missing Link and House’s Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach. Popular political comedian Stephen Colbert, in an inspired casting choice, plays the President of the United States. Hands down the best character, in my opinion, is Seth Rogen’s B.O.B, a gelatinous creature who is blissfully stupid and eats anything in his path. The character design is fantastic, and the film is a visual treat. Monsters vs. Aliens comes recommended to people of all ages.
For more B-movie monster fun, I recommend Eight-Legged Freaks! Rent or buy it here.
Jonathan Decker is the clinical director of Your Family Expert. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist, husband, and father of five. Jonathan earned a masters degree in family therapy from Auburn University as well as a bachelor's degree in clinical psychology from Brigham Young University. He is an actor, author, and television personality.