For Paramount and Dreamworks Monsters Vs Aliens was a massive gamble. With a budget of $US175 million it is certainly one of the most expensive animated movies of all time, and even ranks quite high of all movies. For comparison Shrek The Third cost $US160 million, Ice Age 3 cost $US90 million and Up cost the same as this movie, $US175 million. It's clear that CG movies aren't budget releases, so the returns need to be good. Fortunately for Paramount and Dreamworks the gamble paid off with Monsters Vs Aliens taking an impressive $US379 million around the globe, and much more expected to be taken via DVD/Blu-Ray rentals and purchases. So what's this movie about anyway? Is it suitable for children? Read on...
When Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is unexpectedly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall and is instantly labeled a Monster named Ginormica. The military jumps into action, and she is captured and held in a secret government compound filled with other monsters like herself. This ragtag group consists of the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie); the macho half-Ape-half-fish The Missing Link (Will Arnett); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus. Their confinement time is cut short however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and the motley crew of Monsters is called into action to save the world from imminent destruction.
The voice acting in Monsters Vs Aliens is impressive with actors such as Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, Paul Rudd and Renée Zellweger all lending their voices to characters in this movie. Reese Witherspoon is brilliant as the lead character Susan/Ginormica as she brings such a charm and likability to the characters. Stealing the show though is Seth Rogen as B.O.B. - the brainless blue blob character. His dopey, drugged-out, laugh suits the character perfectly and he has plenty of one-liners to keep you amused.
We must point out that while this movie is only presented on Blu-Ray in 2D (the theatrical version could be viewed in 3D at select theatres) this is still a very entertaining movie. It's actually a little disappointing that both versions aren't included, and this is made even more so given that the Blu-Ray disc includes a 13 minute short film in 3D so the red/green glasses are already included in the bundle.
If you want a reference disc to sell the Blu-Ray format then there is no reason why you should go past this disc. It's simply gorgeous from start to finish.
Filmmakers Commentary: producer Lisa Stuart and directors Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon participate in this rather interesting audio commentary which covers much of the production of the movie. It's fairly fast paced and there are quite a few details about the production, although it never gets too technical.
The Animators Corner: Now this was really a highlight for me as the animators provide a commentary in a PIP window, as well as video clips from recording the voiceovers, storyboards, pre-vis sequences and early animatics are also shown. There's also discussion about making the movie in 3D and what impact that had on production. Fantastic stuff.
B.O.B.'s Big Break in 3D (13:19/HD): A fun little movie in 3D (4 sets of glasses are provided in this Blu-Ray set) which see three of the monsters trying to escape the facility. Quite entertaining.
Paddle Ball (HD): In 3D, but only for the background this is a pretty lame game in our opinion and not a Breakout clone as we thought.
B.O.B.'s Big Break in 2D (13:19/HD): Yep, this is the same short movie as above but in 2D this time so you can put your glasses down.
Karaoke Party (5:32/HD): Several characters from the movie sing some songs "I Will Survive", "More Then A Woman" and "Born To Be Wild". With the words at the bottom you can sing along too!
Modern Monster Movie-Making (17:28/HD): A interesting featurette which looks at the making of this movie in 3D, recording the voice actors, and even acting out the part of Ginormica.
Tech of MVA (6:19/HD): A short featurette about the technology (HP and Intel) that was use for making this movie.
Dreamworks Jukebox (10:24/HD): Songs from Shrek, Flushed Away, Over The Hedge, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, and Bee Movie.
Review By: Dave Warner