| Directors Rob Letterman (“Shark Tale”) and Conrad Vernon (“Shrek 2”) have combined elements from the “creature feature” and outer space science-fiction in this animated faceoff between wacky home-grown mutated monsters and alien invaders.
As the first out of the gate, this family-friendly movie is a legitimate contender for best animated feature film.
On her wedding day, California bride-to-be Susan Murphy (the voice of Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon) is struck by a meteorite. She miraculously survives, but literally becomes too big for her britches. She grows a half inch shy of 50 feet tall.
Television weatherman Derek Dietl (the voice of Overland Park native Paul Rudd) is Susan’s selfish fiancé with a “me first” agenda. He abandons ship and leaves the no-longer-height-appropriate Susan at the altar.
Susan is captured by the military and placed in a giant holding cell within a secret underground facility. The perky, white-haired and sexy Susan is given the code name Ginormica. She meets a motley collection of abominations of nature with interesting personalities who are locked away from humanity and serving life sentences.
This monster squad of outcasts include: the diminutive, insect-headed, mad scientist Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie in a takeoff of “The Fly”), who ended up looking this way after a lab experiment went horribly awry; the clumsy yet tough-talking half-ape, half-fish The Missing Link (Will Arnett as a cross between Big Foot and The Creature from the Black Lagoon); the one-eyed gelatinous glob of blue B.O.B.(Seth Rogen from “Horton Hears a Who!” and “Kung Fu Panda” in an obvious parody of the Blob), who has no brain and is indestructible; and a larval entity from the grub family aptly named Insectosaurus (a homage to Mothra).
Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), the four-eyed squid with slimy tentacles, is the nefarious megalomaniac leader of the alien invasion. He has a diabolical plan to find a new planet on which to set up shop for cloned squids fashioned in his own image. He chooses Earth and sends a colossal robot with a giant eyeball to wreak havoc and destroy everything in sight.
The President of the United States (Stephen Colbert) turns to his most trusted adviser, General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) for a solution to this awful predicament.
In a page right out of “The Dirty Dozen,” Monger unleashes the ragtag crew of rogue monsters against the alien space invader and promises them their freedom in exchange for their service to the country. This leads to a showdown at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at the halfway point of the movie.
Further frenetic action to thwart this hostile takeover occurs aboard Gallaxhar’s spaceship. The conclusion sets the stage for a likely sequel.
Other voices in very small roles are provided by Renee Zellweger (Katie), Amy Poehler (computer), Jeffrey Tambor (Carl Murphy) and John Krasinski (Cuthbert).
This swiftly paced movie strikes a perfect balance between comedy and action. The state-of-the-art special effects, sight gags and clever one-liners make for an entertaining outing.
B.O.B. will win the popularity contest as the audience’s favorite character. He is given all the best lines and steals the spotlight away from the other members of the monster squad.
Although the outcome is predictable, the transformation of Susan from an ordinary gal into an empowered heroine makes the cinematic journey worthwhile. This movie may be too scary and intense for younger children so parents should exercise discretion.
Adults will notice the resemblance to “Dr. Strangelove” in the War Room of the Pentagon setting and recognize the music from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” in the soundtrack.
The clearest positive signs for the 94-minute running time of mirthful merriment were the amused looks and big smiles on the faces of everyone exiting the theater after an advance screening.
You have the option of watching the movie in either IMAX 3D (AMC Studio 30), Real D 3D (AMC Town Center 20) or the conventional 2D format.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"