Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

Monsters-vs-AliensA ridiculously talented cast leads what is easily one of the most underrated films of the last few years; “Monsters vs. Aliens” is a Mad Magazine style action adventure film that not only manages to pay tribute to the classic science fiction B movie tropes of the golden age of cinema, but also manages to create its own monster squad, that show they can save the world and not terrify it. “Monsters vs. Aliens” teams a blob, a gill man, a bug man (Hugh Laurie in his noticeable smug but likable demeanor), a giant grub, and a 50ft woman to take on archetypal alien menaces as they go on an exploration of themselves and their strengths as a team.

Part of a top secret government program, Susan Murphy is hit by a comet that radiates her and turns her in to a gigantic white haired woman. Before she can go on a rampage and attack, the government seizes her and brings her in to their base where she meets the oddities of the organization that captures and traps monsters to keep them away from the public. Now known as Ginormica (for reasons never quite explained ad giggles), duty comes calling when all else fails. And the Monsters have to confront the omnipotent aliens and show they can contribute to society and to their country. Among the alien terrorists are Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson is tough to make out, admittedly), a being who knows more than he’s letting on and has dire plans for the world. Especially when he chases away the commander in chief (Stephen Colbert is laugh out loud funny in a small role). “Monsters vs. Aliens” is one of the most self-aware animated movies and it gathers the conglomerate of pure comic talent and absolutely sharp screenwriting and teams it for a movie that will likely appeal to both adults and children.

The movie garners enough of an intellect to wink at the audience who may be familiar with the nods to B science fiction movies, all the while devising new icons for the kids who will enjoy the goofy brainless blob named B.O.B. (Seth Rogen was never more lovable). Or the adrenaline junky Missing Link (Will Arnett is downbeat but still so utterly hilarious) who leads the team with humility and a razzmatazz that’s hysterical and admirable. Though “Monsters vs. Aliens” dabbles a little in borrowing plays from “Monsters, Inc.” the writers (all… five of them) concoct a wonderful and clever little homage to the genre that channels Tim Burton’s “Mars Attacks!” and brings us along on a wild ride that feels like the love child of William Castle if paired with a competent computer animation team.

“Monsters vs. Aliens” is a clash of the titans and one that will definitely appeal to the cinema buff looking for nods to his favorite films that also pays homage to the under dog who may not be the smartest person around, but has something to prove. If William Castle, Dreamworks, and MAD Magazine teamed up to create an animated film, “Monsters vs. Aliens” would be the gloriously demented result. Hilarious, sharply written, and oozing with gobs of talent (Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Keifer Sutherland appear respectively), this is an animated film that both the adults and the kids can enjoy without feeling guilty once the credits have rolled.