screenplay by Maya Forbes & Wallace Wolodarsky and Rob Letterman and Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger
directed by Rob Letterman & Conrad Vernon
by Walter Chaw As a joke, a pal and I once described the ideal movie as an epic, feature-length battle between robots and dinosaurs. DreamWorks, as a kind of joke, too, I think, have now released the animated Monsters Vs Aliens in a vaunted 3-D technique that enhanced a few scenes in Coraline last month but feels more the gimmicky affectation here. It feels, in fact, like the entire reason behind making a film that's content to trot out those old kid-flick stand-bys of accepting differences and learning to love who you are as the entire backbone for grand, city-destroying slapstick. The most interesting thing about it might be that a sequence buried in the middle of the closing credits posits a world-ending nuclear holocaust initiated in a war room set borrowed directly from Dr. Strangelove. It's a weird thing to have in a children's movie (odd, too, appearing so soon after Alex Proyas's own apocalyptic Knowing), and the zeitgeist sweepstakes are up and running in 2009 with the possibility that we're at the end of days infecting even this most optimistic, empty, popular of films. The rest is your run-of-the-mill kid's flick: noisy, senseless, and, save a couple of moments where Seth Rogen's voice made me giggle, not terribly entertaining. It has an ugly bad guy, Gallaxhar (voiced by Rainn Wilson), who clones himself, setting up the tension between individuation and the politics of mass hysteria, the unsubtle suggestion being that while good guys Bob (Rogan) and Link (Will Arnett) are stupid, they're not anywhere near as stupid as the enemy.