Review: 'Monsters vs. Aliens'

( PG ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

3-D animation is an affectionate riff on 1950s sci-fi movies with some high-caliber voice-overs.

DreamWorks Animation/AP
In this film publicity still released by DreamWorks Animation LLC, Ginormica – voiced by Reese Witherspoon – powers through the atmosphere in a scene from DreamWorks Animation's 3D film, "Monsters vs. Aliens."

My overly helpful press notes inform me that "Monsters vs. Aliens" is "DreamWorks Animation's first InTru 3D Movie, wholly conceived, developed, and authored in 3D."

Just in case you missed the news, dear reader, "Monsters vs. Aliens" is in 3-D.

Which is fine with me. I've long been on record as saying that just about anything in 3-D is better than in 2-D, and that goes double for animation. I love putting on those glasses and reaching out to touch virtual critters and cucumbers and whatever else they throw at me.

Would "Monsters vs. Aliens" still be worth seeing if it was in plain old 2-D? Probably, but the addition of the extra D certainly helps. It's an affectionate, fairly funny riff on 1950s sci-fi movies, which often featured aliens, sometimes in the form of gelatinous glop, trying to take over Earth before earthlings, usually of the military variety, save the day. There are also visual tributes to early Mad magazine sci-fi spoofs, for those whose memories go back that far (i.e., the parents, or grandparents, of this film's target audience of precocious toddlers).

The voice talent is unusually high-caliber. Reese Witherspoon is the California girl whose encounter with space goo makes her grow 50 feet tall. Her comrades in arms, joining her in battling an alien robot, include Hugh Laurie's Dr. Cockroach, Seth Rogen's megagloppy B.O.B., and Will Arnett's half-ape, half-fish Missing Link. My favorite voice/animation combo, however, is Stephen Colbert's very terrestrial president of the United States. Grade: B (Rated PG for sci-fi action, some crude humor, and mild language.)

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