Monsters and Aliens and 3-D, Oh My; Animated Feature Fully Exploits 3-D Tech

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On the one hand, Monsters vs. Aliens is a totally formulaic computer animated comedy, the sort of feature that has flooded the market since the success of Shrek. There are pop culture and political references for the grown-ups and silly/gross action for the kiddies that combine for a bland, forgettable evening at the cinema.

On the other hand, Monsters vs. Aliens is a genre-busting technical achievement akin to Toy Story or Snow White in its cinematic ambition. This movie must be seen in 3-D to truly appreciate the progress that Dreamworks has made with the 3-D format and understand the excitement within the industry with regard to the third dimension.

Monsters vs. Aliens opens at the wedding of Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) and Derek Dietel (Paul Rudd); Susan is a withering flower while Derek is a hard-charging, self-obsessed news anchor who treats his fiancee's concerns as secondary to his own. Their special day is ruined after Susan is struck by a meteorite that transforms her into a 50-foot woman.

Captured by the Army and rechristened Ginormica by Gen. W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland), Susan is imprisoned with a menagerie of other monsters held in a secret prison in order to keep the general public from freaking out.

There's B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), a gelatinous Blob lookalike who manages to operate without a brain, and Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), a mad scientist who combined his DNA with that of the bug in order to gain its survival skills. Half man, half lizard, the Missing Link (Will Arnett) and the Godzilla-esque Insectosaurus round out the team.

They must come together to repel an alien invasion by the maniacal Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), and in the process come to grips with their place in a world that fears and hates them. …