A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Monsters vs. Aliens

October 21, 2010

Monsters vs. Aliens

A nice quick movie for a Thursday afternoon. As a long time fan of cheesy monster movies of all sorts and kinds I am pretty much the target audience for this fun animated spoof. Right from the Dreamworks logo with its fifties alien saucer abduction this movie sets out to make reference to every movie ever featured on the old “Creature Double Feature” – a favorite part of my every Saturday morning on channel 56 as I was growing up. My years of devotion to MST3K have also filled my head with even more monster movie cheese, so it felt at times as if this movie was tailor made for me.

The movie follows a young woman named Susan as she is struck on her wedding day by a mysterious extra-planetory asteroid. She grows to enormous proportions and causes general panic amongst the wedding guests before being restrained and captured by a secret government organization that specializes in capturing and containing monsters. There’s a maniacal evil scientist who has mutated himself into a cockroach, an amphibious fish-man called The Missing Link, a brainless blue blob called Bob, and a colossal caterpillar mutated by an atomic blast. When the Earth is threatened by a rather irritating alien bend on galactic domination the only hope humanity has are these five oddball monsters. Mayhem and hilarity ensue.

It’s clear that the makers of this movie are fans of all the same films I enjoyed growing up. Insectasaurus is so clearly based on the larval stage of Mothra that General Warren Monger (the warden of the top secret prison for monsters) makes reference to it going on a destructive rampage in Japan. Link is a take off on the Creature from the Black Lagoon with a touch of Horror of Party Beach thrown in. Dr. Cockroach seems to be inspired by the Fly (the original Vincent Price one.) And Bob is the Blob. All the way through the movie Amanda and I were chuckling and cracking jokes. When the military goons start to capture Susan using teathers and tow ropes we couldn’t help quoting from the MST3K callbacks in Village of the Giants. “That was stupid. Should have seen it coming.”

It’s not just the classics that get spoofed though. There are references to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T., Independence Day, and even a joke about Spaceballs. There are quips about Leonard Nimoy and Stephen Hawking. There’s a Wilhelm scream. It’s a movie made by nerds for nerds, just disguised as a kid’s film.

I had fun watching this. I enjoy the character arc for Susan as she discovers in herself a kind of pride in being who she is (even when who she is is a sixty foot tall monster.) There’s a lot of silliness and cartoon humor – particularly with Bob the blob. I had some laughs and enjoyed myself. At times (such as with the couple parked on lover’s lane) I felt like the movie was trying a little too hard or was more self-conscious than necessary, but there was so much to enjoy that I didn’t particularly mind. I was somewhat irritated at times with the choice to make the evil alien Gallaxhar more youth friendly – “lame.” There were several moments clearly intended to be pop-out-of-the-screen 3-D which were half-heartedly wedged into the movie. But then you’d have a scene with the president, played hilariously by Stephen Colbert, or Bob would eat something or something would explode spectacularly and everything would be fun again.

The big question now is what MST3K to fall asleep to tonight. Maybe I can find our copy of Revenge of the Creature. Or Village of the Giants. Or maybe just Godzilla vs. Megalon again. Such hard choices we have to make.

October 21, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , ,

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