Monsters vs. Aliens (Ginormous Double DVD Pack)

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Reese Witherspoon as Susan Murphy / Ginormica (voice)
Seth Rogen as B.O.B. (voice)
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (voice)
Will Arnett as The Missing Link (voice)
Kiefer Sutherland as General W.R. Monger (voice)
Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar (voice)
Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway (voice)
Paul Rudd as Derek Dietl (voice)
Julie White as Wendy Murphy (voice)
Jeffrey Tambor as Carl Murphy (voice)
Amy Poehler as Computer (voice)
Ed Helms as News Reporter (voice)
Renée Zellweger as Katie (voice)
John Krasinski as Cuthbert (voice)
Sean Bishop as Private Bullhorn / Helicopter Pilot / Advisor Ortega (voice)

Special Features:
- Modern Monster Movie-Making
- Three Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scenes
- DreamWorks Animation Video Jukebox
- Filmmaker’s Commentary
- The Tech of Monsters Vs. Aliens
- Top Secret Sneak Peek Files:
The next 3D adventure from DreamWorks Animation
Shrek Broadway Musical Debut
Po’s Kung Fu Panada Virtual World

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish, French Sound
Spanish, French Subtitles
Running Time: 107 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“Mosters. vs. Aliens
The world’s most unlikely heroes are on a mission to save Earth in DreamWorks Animation’s ‘Monsters vs. Aliens.’ Ginormica, Dr. Cockroach Ph.D., The Missing Link, Insectosaurous and B.O.B. join forces to fight back when aliens attack.”

B.O.B.’s Big Break
Get ready for an eye-popping escapade in MONSTER 3D! In DreamWorks Animation’s ‘B.O.B.’s Big Break,’ B.O.B. and his monstrous crew are on a mission to bust out of Area 52, the government’s top-secret holding cell. Led by mad-scientist Dr. Cockroach and macho amphibian Missing Link, the trio outwits grizzled General W.R. Monger to make a triumphant escape…almost.

This pack also includes ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ in 2D format.”

“Monsters vs. Aliens” is rated PG for sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language.

The Movie:
Anyone that loves classic monster movies is going to enjoy “Monsters vs. Aliens.” I grew up watching “Godzilla,” “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” “The Blob,” “The Fly,” and other movies that this film uses for inspiration and parody. So every little tip of the hat to those films was greatly appreciated by me.

“Monsters vs. Aliens” is a great premise. It’s one of those films where the title alone tells you that you must see it. Fortunately, it mostly pays off. It takes a while to get going, but once it does it’s a fun ride. The point where the story really picks up is when the monsters start battling the alien robot about 20 to 30 minutes into the running time. At this point we’re treated to one of the most unique chase scenes ever to take place in San Francisco. And the fact that the combatants are impossibly huge is used to full effect as they throw around cars, tear apart the Golden Gate Bridge, and walk through buildings. It’s all a lot of fun and it gets progressively better as they face off directly with Gallaxhar for the climax.

Another thing that surprised me was the fact that this was Susan/Ginormica’s movie. The plot centers around her and is told from her perspective. So though the title is going to lure boys into theaters, girls are going to really identify with her character. And girl power is used to full effect when Ginormica unexpectedly turns the tables on Gallaxhar. She’s certainly no damsel in distress. Reese Witherspoon does a great job voicing her character.

The voice cast is quite strong. With actors like Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, and Kiefer Sutherland, you know you’re going to get good performances. They all feel constrained a little bit after having seen many of them improvise in other productions, but they do a good job with the material they have in front of them. It was a great idea to have Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway, but like the others, he didn’t cut loose quite as much as I would have hoped. If you’re a fan of “The Office” like me, you’ll get a kick out of hearing Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar, Ed Helms as a news reporter, and John Krasinski as Cuthbert.

I took my kids to this film and they really enjoyed it. Fortunately, I enjoyed it, too. Unfortunately, they’re begging me to take them to McDonalds to buy “Monsters vs. Aliens” Happy Meal toys. Consider yourself warned, parents.

As I mentioned before, the movie does take a while to get rolling. I understand the need to do the setup and introduce all the characters through the eyes of Susan, but it hurt the pacing of the film. It doesn’t help that the laugh out loud moments are far between. Yes, a lot of the movie is funny, but it’s more smirk-inducing funny rather than laugh out loud funny. (Does that make any sense?) I think letting the cast improvise more might have helped. It wouldn’t have hurt. I did love seeing B.O.B. flirt with a plate of Jello, an inexplicably easy fooling of a guard on the alien spaceship, and a few other great moments not shown in the commercials.

There’s also a weird scene where they make fun of the stereotypical moment when the two teens making out in the parked car run across the invading alien. They twist it around by switching the roles of the boy and girl i.e. the boy is the scared one and the girl is the one initiating the making out and investigating the strange alien light. The whole scene is funny on paper but ends up playing out a little weird on the screen, especially in a kid’s film. You’ll know what I mean when you see it.

This felt like a mix of “The Incredibles” and “Monsters, Inc.” mixed with a bit of “Chicken Little.” I enjoyed it, my kids enjoyed it, and it’s a world I’d love to visit again. If you’re a sci-fi fan, I recommend checking it out.

The Extras:
This two-disc set includes the short “B.O.B.’s Big Break”. In it, we see Dr. Cockroach and The Missing Link throwing a birthday party for B.O.B. In reality, it’s yet another escape attempt by the monsters. Unfortunately, things go wrong yet again when B.O.B. continues to believe that everything going on is part of the party. It is shown in 3-D (with the old red and blue glasses) and 2-D. The 3-D effect isn’t all that great and the blue color of B.O.B. kind of screws up the effect. Overall, though, it is funny and a nice little bookend to the movie.

This extra disc has its own set of bonus features. There’s a karaoke feature where all the characters sing a variety of songs. Then there’s a paddle ball game in 3-D where you attempt to his pictures of the monsters with the 3-D paddle ball. There are also a few brief games and an Activision game demo.

On the disc for the main movie, there’s a whole other batch of bonus features. You’ll find a “making of” featurette. While it shows all the voice cast recording their dialogue, a good portion of it shows them praising the 3-D effects in the movie. This is ironic since the DVD is not in 3-D and it wasn’t shown in a large number of theaters in 3-D. To rub it in a little more, there’s a featurette entitled “The Tech of Monsters vs. Aliens” that is mainly an ad for the computers and processors used in the making of the movie. It’s a bit redundant after seeing all the computer talk in the main ‘making of’ featurette. You’ll also find the DreamWorks jukebox, an audio commentary, and three deleted scenes. The first deleted scene shows the monsters fighting their way onto the alien ship. Another shows more of Colbert as the President. The final one shows Rogen improvising some dippy dialogue from B.O.B.. Rounding things out is a look at the “Shrek” musical on Broadway and a couple of other sneak previews.

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