Saturday, April 11, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens 3D

Put me down as slow, but I hadn't actually seen a movie in 3D in the cinema until today. Okay, I admit it, I'm impressed - the technology works, the polarising glasses fit okay over my ordinary correcting pair, and the film-makers used it for some engaging effects. And to give these particular creators credit, they didn't over-use it; after a ball on an elastic string jumped out of the screen early on, just for show, there were few gratuitous attempts to get into the audience's face.

Monsters vs. Aliens, by the way, is fun in its own right. It's not the greatest movie of the decade - it's not even especially high in the CGI animated fantasy comedy field, although that's a tough field to compete in by now - but to me, this stuff is still breathtaking and astonishing on a purely technical level, while allowing a lot of smart, genre-savvy, doubtless rather geeky writers to create scripts of a degree of cleverness which, offered for a standard Hollywood live-action movie, would surely be dumbed down to idiocy by the third draft. There was at least one moment in this one where I was thinking "oh dear, this is the spinoff video game hook", not all the jokes were as clever as they should have been - the obligatory during-the-closing-credits bit was weak - and I guess that all the '50s monster movie references will just confuse the heck out of the kids who get towed along for an Easter holiday treat. But hey, giant robot vs. Japanese movie monster and 50' woman as they demolish the Golden Gate bridge and a cockroach-headed mad scientist with the voice of Hugh Laurie attempts sabotage in support. In 3D. You get your money's worth.

Later Thoughts: It's probably going to be far too easy to offer Freudian or/and feminist readings of this movie, you know. Female lead suffers shattering unexpected experience on her wedding day, and is left staggered and in need of wiping down; suddenly discovers that she has been transformed by this, but far more significantly, others' perceptions of her have been transformed for the worse; when she attempts to fight back against this problem, she is subdued by the male establishment using drugs and brute force, and trapped in a home environment not of her own design; finds herself as the voice of calm rationality to a group of smaller individuals who have even greater problems comprehending their social condition, but who offer her unconditional love...

Willful contentiousness aside, it really does seem to be the case that Susan is transformed by the plot of this movie from a bride to the mother-figure to a group of child-figures (the hungry one, the precociously bright one, the aggressive one, and the big quiet one) while neatly sidestepping any tiresome need for a marital relationship, given that the available husband is actually a jerk. Hmm. The critics kept saying that this was a film for kids, but even the overt heavy 1950s monster movie referencing made this debatable; if you start looking for
messages, things get worse.

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