Making the Grades
On the morning of her wedding, everything seems perfect in Susan Murphy’s (voice by Reese Witherspoon) life. Perfect that is until a meteorite from outer space lands on top of her. While the approach of the unidentified flying object sends scientists and military personnel scrambling from miles around, it doesn’t even appear to rattle the country chapel where Susan is about to marry a local anchorman (voice of Paul Rudd). The guests only begin to suspect something is out of the ordinary when Susan starts to outgrow her gown and pushes the bell out of the belfry with her now humungous head.
Rather than reciting her vows, Susan is taken down, tied up and hauled off by a swarm of soldiers to a secret location where she meets General W.R. Monger (voice by Keifer Sutherland) and a host of other “monsters” the army has under lock and key.
After being introduced to B.O.B (voice by Seth Rogan), Dr. Cockroach (voice by Hugh Laurie), and The Missing Link (voice by Will Arnett), Susan, now known as Ginormica, gets the feeling she is going to be confined for a very long time.
However when regular troops are unable to contain an alien robot that lands on Earth just a short time later, the U.S. president (voice by Stephen Colbert) agrees to let General Monger unleash the Monsters to fight the invaders. (Apparently the Commander-in-Chief’s attempt to welcome the extraterrestrial with the funky Axel F by Crazy Frog irritated the visitor, although it is entertaining for the audience.)
What follows is ramped up Saturday morning cartoon fare (albeit in amazing 3D animation). Under the direction of their evil leader Gallaxhar (voice by Rainn Wilson), thousands and thousands of clones prepare to descend from a hovering mother ship and take over the planet. The battles that ensue result in many moments of peril for the heroes and humans alike. Attacked by the alien robot on the Golden Gate Bridge, Susan is forced to fight off his advances while ensuring that stranded motorists make it safely to the other side.
Unfortunately many of these encounters, such as air strikes, explosions, and missiles and monsters under attack, may be too intense for young audience members. As well, the script contains unnecessary amounts of potty humor, a vulgar term for female anatomy and a security measure than requires the individual scans of various body parts including a thumbprint, iris and bare buttock.
While the transformation from regular human to supersized disrupts Susan’s nuptials, it also proves to be an empowering and revealing experience for the large lady. Given a new perspective on life, she gets a glimpse of what it is like to be an outsider in society. Yet she also experiences real friendship and learns the value of teamwork. It’s only too bad the story has to use so many negative stereotypes, crude jokes and typical cartoon-type characters to get that positive message across.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Monsters vs. Aliens.
If Earth were visited by extraterrestrials, how do you think they would respond to the kind of welcome the aliens receive in this movie? Why do most movies portray space visitors as being invaders?
In this film, how does the general public feel about monsters? How does our society often respond to individuals who appear to be different than the general norm?