Monsters Vs. Aliens Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon

Monsters Vs. Aliens Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
Dreamworks has a few strong animated family films ― Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda have their moments ― yet they've never been able to top the rich plots and tight scripts Pixar is infinitely capable of. Once again, latest effort Monsters Vs. Aliens isn't going to outshine the competition with overt brilliance but in terms of oddball kids' flicks, it's a winner. Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is struck by a meteorite, which changes her into a 50-foot-tall woman. Captured by the government, she's taken to a secluded base where monsters of all sorts have been collected over the years. Here, she meets genius bug Dr. Cockroach Ph.D (Hugh Laurie), miserable grump the Missing Link (Will Arnett) and comic relief/gelatinous blob B.O.B. (Seth Rogan). While planning their escape, the misfit group are approached by their captors to save Earth from an alien, Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), who wishes to take over the planet, naturally. Using their unique powers, the monsters defeat the alien, thus becoming heroes. Unfortunately Dreamworks still can't get the extras right, lacking the games or interactive puzzles that draw kids and, eventually, parents into the fray. A standard-fare "making of" featurette and clinical commentary are boring, the "Modern Monster Movie Making" spot is just the creators patting themselves on the back and a "Dreamworks Jukebox" is merely a series of minute-long ads for older titles. Only accompanying DVD B.O.B.'s Big Break, in which the gang, pre-Susan, attempt yet another feeble escape attempt from the government base, is of any redeeming value. Still, while Monsters Vs. Aliens is a bit kitschy, with the obligatory adult gags, heart-warming plot and healthy dose of cult influences, it's still incredibly weirder and more B-flick driven than anything a bunch of Disney understudies would concoct. (Dreakworks/Paramount)