Monday, January 25, 2010

“Monsters vs. Aliens” – How to get kids to shut up.

Would you be okay with me shredding into a cartoon? Excuse me, animated feature film. Well, don’t worry. I liked this movie and I even had fairly high expectations for it. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to criticize some things related to this movie though. The experience itself made me realize a few things, but let’s talk about the movie first.

The film begins with a glowing meteor slamming into the hero of the story (Susan) at her wedding, causing her to grow like Alice after eating the mushroom. By the way, I love that cartoons have never bucked the idea that their characters cannot die. This is important because it keeps them from becoming too realistic, which would completely defeat the purpose of cartoons. Anyway, the military captures Susan and locks her up with a handful of other monsters that they captured in the past. Meanwhile, an evil alien is trying to recover the substance in the meteor that caused Susan to grow so he can take over the Earth. The military asks the monsters to fight the alien and promises them their freedom for helping. The rest of the film is the typical filler; goofy comedy, action sequences, and a love story.

It’s good that the writers and producers keep the plots of these cartoons simple and easy to understand. I know they have to do this for the children, but it’s refreshing as an adult not to have to worry about overly complex plots (or writers trying too hard), which is usually what kills movies for me.

Perhaps the best part of cartoons is the voices of the characters. When was the last time you watched one of these and thought one of the characters’ voices was bad (Cameron Diaz even pulls it off)? The advantage they have is that they can make the characters match the voice. Seth Rogen is the perfect example of this. He has arguably the worst laugh ever heard by human ears, but it fit his character perfectly. He voices B.O.B. who has no brain. His laugh sounds like it comes from someone with no brain, so it’s perfect.

You can also be reasonably assured that the dialogue will be witty and well-delivered for almost any cartoon these days. Why this seems to escape live-action films is still a mystery, but it’s nice to know a handful of them still care.

As I said, this was a very entertaining movie, but the experience was a little strange this time. I went to a 9:30am showing, which I do often on Fridays, expecting two things. The first was to pay six dollars for the movie. What the theaters fail to advertise is that they charge an extra three dollars for 3-D movies. When I asked the twenty-year-old virgin behind the window about this, he responded with “It costs extra because it’s a special movie.” For all of you theater owners and film studios, STOP SCREWING US OVER FOR YOUR MOVIES! It’s bad enough that you charge $48.00 for popcorn. At the very least, tell your moron employees to just tell us the truth; that you don’t give a fuck about the audience and that we’re charging you three dollars for a cheap piece of plastic that barely passes for 3-D glasses.

The second thing was that I expected to be one of only a handful of people in the audience. This was true until the third preview, when two busloads of children screamed their way into the theater. I know it was two because I saw them in the parking lot after the movie. My first thought was to kill myself with my 3-D glasses. This thought was followed by wondering why these kids weren’t in school (when I shared this with my wife she said they were probably on spring break. This is probably true, but it also might explain why our education system is turning out functional morons). Then, the most amazing thing happened…every kid shut their mouth when one of the chaperones yelled out “Voices off!” I have no idea how this was possible considering they aren’t allowed to beat children anymore. Bravo to that guy.

My final bit of advice to you is to avoid the 3-D showings of this film. It’s cool for about three minutes, at which point you don’t even notice it anymore. Kids will think it’s great, but they’ll love the movie anyway. It’s really not worth three dollars a person, especially since your eyes already see in 3-D. Your kids may now speak again.

Rating: It’s worth what you pay for it, except for the 3-D tax. Keep that money and use it to pay that guy to keep your kids quiet. He’s definitely worth it.

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