Last week I saw a preview of scenes from Monsters vs. Aliens in 3D. The film, which will release on March 27, 2009, also recently unveiled its trailer online.
Monsters vs. Aliens comes eight years after Pixar’s Monsters, Inc., and employs a similar monsters-are-our-friends take on the freakish creatures. Although I wish the two studios could stop their critter competition (rats in Ratatouille and Flushed Away; fish in Finding Nemo and Shark’s Tale; insects in A Bug’s Life and Antz), the latest offering looks like a worthy match to Pixar’s offering.
Conceptualized and animated entirely in 3D, the film forgoes using the popping effect to shock (a la my previous benchmark, Universal Studios’ theme park ride Terminator in 3D) but often makes something as simple as an over-the-shoulder shot pop out, bringing the 3D effect to the most quotidian of film compositions. The first set-piece, in which the United States president (Stephen Colbert) attempts to make contact with the alien spaceship, makes the most cinematic use of 3D–staircases jut out from the center of the screen, helicopters swoop in, and missiles (including one emblazoned with “E.T. Go Home”) fire to impressive 3D effect. The new wave of 3D glasses are clear and not meant to cause headaches, but it took me the greater part of one sequence for my eyes to adjust and the whisper of a headache to subside. The polarized glasses also have some unintended effects: the red EXIT sign multiplied by seven and cast itself into my left eyeline. Not the biggest deal, but if you’re paying the premium price ($15.00 for an adult 3D ticket in Manhattan, a $3.00, 25% markup), you want the image to look perfect.
From a storytelling perspective, there is much to commend: little details, like a series of preemptive comedic shrieks, temper the scare factor for youngsters. For adults, the voice casting plays on the star personas (roly-poly Seth Rogen plays a blob, “House, M.D.”‘s Hugh Laurie plays a mad scientist cockroach, Stephen Colbert as the President…). Along with a smattering of Shrek-like allusions to classic monster and alien films, the snappy dialogue, visual gags, and mild gross-out humor will please adults and kids alike. Watching the film, I knew exactly which moments would prompt eager kids to whisper to their parents with glee (“Daddy! That man just scanned his butt!”). The film also avoids one of my biggest pet peeves: when a marketing campaign gives away too many plot points, forcing the audience to spend half the film waiting to get to the moment you saw or predicted from a thirty-second commercial. Based on the introduction of the clips, it appears the monsters’ defeat of the aliens marks the turning point, not the climax, earning the film major points according to my rubric. Perhaps DreamWorks is taking a lesson from Pixar and its tantalizing teaser trailers. With most animation moving into 3D, and DreamWorks committed to making all of their films in 3D from this point onward, the relative success of Disney competitor Bolt 3D stands to foreshadow Monsters vs. Aliens‘ success this March.
CGI ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ first entry in DreamWorks’ all-3D plan have 512 words, post on www.filmjournal.com at 2008-11-18 12:06:58. This is cached page on Movie Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.