Imagine my shock when I took my daughter to the IMAX to see Monsters Vs. Aliens in 3-D and was actually entertained. There are probably two films a year that I have to see that turn out to be good. Kids are an easy sell. Parents with nothing better to do with their kids are an even easier sell. No studio would need a focus group to tell that Monsters Vs. Aliens would an attraction, especially during Spring Break. This film, though, offered up truly funny jokes, lots of great references to cinema’s past, and a big, strong, powerful female heading up the action.Reese Witherspoon is sensational as the voice for Susan/Ginormica, a bride-to-be who is hit by an asteroid, then swollen to the size of a building. Ginormica is the 50-foot woman who doesn’t yet know her own strength. All she knows is that she can’t marry her fiance and is suddenly imprisoned by the US government for being a “monster.” There, she meets a group of other monsters – one looks like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, one is an enormous insect, another is the merging of a cockroach and a mad scientist, and the last is a gelatinous blob. The voices for this motley crew are Seth Rogan, Hugh Laurie, and Will Arnett.The rest of the voice over cast includes Paul Rudd, Keifer Sutherland and Stephen Colbert. Directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon, who also have story credit, Monsters Vs. Aliens is much funnier than it has any right to be, and is also, at times, thrilling to watch. While there isn’t much new here that wasn’t covered in Monsters, Inc., a much better movie in all respects, Monsters Versus Aliens doesn’t even attempt to take itself seriously. The lightness of it is what is so captivating, even if it isn’t particularly meaningful. What is different here is the gigantic girl wiping up the floor with the villains. even if she is straight out of the ‘50s. It’s hard not to appreciate this girl hero, especially since there seem to be so few of them lately. The 3D and the IMAX seemed a bit much for this kind of film, which doesn’t warrant it. 3D is not a comfortable way to watch a movie. You have to keep your head upright at all times or else the glasses don’t work. And even if you do everything right, is the payoff really worth it? Once you get past the gimmick, the story is really all that matters.The story here is really what counts, even if viewers are dazzled here and there by the way the images leap off the screen so close you can almost touch them. With so many filmmakers seeking the 3D experience, the gimmick doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon. The next step will be to create better 3D glasses because the ones they pass out now diminish the overall experience.
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