Reese Witherspoon headlines the latest DreamWorks animated film, Monsters Vs. Aliens, an entertaining one hour and 34 minute sci-fi romp. Adults will catch references from movies like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Fly and The Blob. These four sci-fi movies also comprise each main character’s origin.
Witherspoon voices Californian Susan Murphy who’s later known as Ginormica. Her role creates a memorable character arc of self empowerment as she learns how far her talents and kind heart can really take her in life. Susan is one of the strongest female characters in recent animated films, though filmmakers momentarily take a step backwards when one characters says, “you let a girl beat you”.
Will Arnett voices The Missing Link, an amphibious creature that is itching for action, though his prowess doesn’t always match his actions. Arnett appeals with his voice more than the standard character.
You’ll love Hugh Laurie’s comic turn as Dr. Cockroach Ph.D., but he’s largely confined to familiar character archetypes. It would have been great to see Laurie’s British comic experience let loose or even have him write part of the screenplay…maybe in the likely sequel.
Seth Rogen voices the gelatinous blue B.O.B. (a.k.a. Bicarbonate Ostylezene Benzoate). His indestructible physical properties set up some great comic moments (one spoiled by the preview) and Rogen really hits some high notes in the dialogue jokes and delivery.
Susan has the best emotional grounding of the four…the others have fun so the audience does as they fearlessly accomplish their team goals and learn to work together.
Insectosaurus doesn’t have any dialogue, but certainly makes a big impression referencing the classic 1961 Mosura monster movie. Elements from more modern sci-fi movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Independence Day are also incorporated into the film.