Monsters vs. Aliens
Monsters vs. Aliens is a 2009 American computer-animated science fiction monster comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was DreamWorks Animation's first feature film to be directly produced in a stereoscopic 3-D format instead of being converted into 3-D after completion, which added $15 million to the film's budget. The film was directed by Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman, and features the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Stephen Colbert.
|Monsters vs. Aliens|
Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Lisa Stewart|
|Music by||Henry Jackman|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$381.5 million|
The film was released on March 27, 2009 in the United States, grossing over $381 million worldwide on a $175 million budget. Although not successful enough to be followed by a sequel, the film started a franchise consisting of a short film, B.O.B.'s Big Break, two television specials, Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and Night of the Living Carrots, and a television series with the same name.
Out beyond the far reaches of space, an unknown planet explodes sending a strange meteorite across the galaxy, heading towards Earth. Meanwhile, Susan Murphy of Modesto, California is going to be married to news weatherman Derek Dietl. Just before the ceremony, she is hit by the meteorite and its energy causes her to glow green and grow to an enormous size with her hair turned white. She is tranquilized by the military and awakens in a top secret government facility that houses monsters of which the public are ignorant. She meets General W.R. Monger, the Army officer in charge of the facility, and her fellow monster inmates: Dr. Cockroach PhD, a mad scientist who became half-human, half-cockroach after an experiment; B.O.B. (Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate), a brainless, living mass of blue goo as a result of a food flavoring mutation; Insectosaurus, a massive mutated bug standing 350 feet in height, and the Missing Link, a prehistoric 20,000 year old fish-ape hybrid who was thawed from deep ice by scientists. Susan herself has been renamed to Ginormica.
In a mysterious spaceship in deep space, an alien overlord named Gallaxhar is alerted to the presence of quantonium, a powerful energy source on Earth, and he sends a robotic probe to retrieve it. The probe later lands on Earth where the President of the United States attempts to make first contact with it. However, the attempt fails and the probe goes on a destructive rampage, headed straight for San Francisco. Monger convinces the President to grant the monsters their freedom if they can stop the probe. A single person objects to this arrangement and Monger responds by giving him a wedgie. In San Francisco, the robot detects the quantonium radiating through Susan's body and tries to take it from her, putting many lives at risk. At the Golden Gate Bridge, the monsters work together to defeat the probe.
Gallaxhar sets course for Earth to obtain the quantonium in person while the now-free Susan returns home with her new friends and reunites with her family. However, the monsters alienate themselves from the humans due to their inexperience with social situations. Derek breaks off his engagement with Susan, claiming that he cannot marry someone who would overshadow him and his career. Heartbroken, the monsters reunite, but Susan realizes that her life is better as a monster and promises not to sell herself short to anyone again. Suddenly, Susan is pulled into Gallaxhar's spaceship. Insectosaurus tries to save her, but he is shot down by the ship's plasma cannons, seemingly killing him.
On board the ship, Gallaxhar extracts the quantonium from Susan, shrinking her back to her normal size. Gallaxhar then uses the extracted quantonium to create clones of himself in order to launch a full-scale invasion of Earth. Monger manages to get the monsters on board the ship. They rescue Susan and make their way to the main power core where Dr. Cockroach sets the ship to self-destruct to prevent the invasion. All but Susan are trapped as the blast doors close and she personally confronts Gallaxhar on the bridge. With her time running out, she sends the ball of stored quantonium down on herself, restoring her monstrous size and strength. After rescuing her friends, they flee the ship and meet with Monger and Insectosaurus, who has morphed into a butterfly. The ship self-destructs, killing Gallaxhar and his army.
Returning to Modesto, Susan and the monsters receive a hero's welcome. Hoping to take advantage of Susan's fame for his own career, Derek tries to get back together with her, but she rejects him. Monger then arrives to tell the monsters about a new monstrous snail called Escargantua making its way (slowly) to Paris. The monsters take off to confront the new menace.
- Reese Witherspoon as Ginormica: Susan Murphy from Modesto, California who is hit by a radioactive meteor on her wedding day, causing her to mutate and grow to a height of 49 feet 11.5 inches (15.227 m). Somewhat meek and unassertive, she initially wants nothing more than to return to her old life, but gradually warms up to her new status as a monster. Due to her exposure with the meteorite's radiation, in addition to her size, she is amazingly strong and has a resistance to energy attacks, making Gallaxhar's weapons all useless against her.
- Seth Rogen as B.O.B.: An indestructible gelatinous mass created when a genetically-altered tomato was injected with a chemically-altered ranch dessert topping. His greatest strength lies in his ability to devour and digest any substance as well as being indestructible. His one weakness is that his mutation didn't give him a brain, making him incredibly dimwitted, such as sometimes mistaking the other monsters' goals in life for his own, although his plan to infiltrate Gallaxhar's clones proves surprisingly successful. His main goal in life is to digest things.
- Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach: A brilliant but mad scientist who, in an experiment to imbue himself with the resilience and abilities of a cockroach, ending up with a giant cockroach's head and some personality features of the cockroach, but gained the ability to climb up walls and high resistance to physical damage. He is charming and sophisticated in spite of his tendencies to eat garbage and laugh maniacally, working to help Susan learn more about her condition while in captivity.
- Will Arnett as The Missing Link: A 20,000-year-old fish-ape hybrid who was found frozen and thawed out by scientists, only to escape and wreak havoc at his old lagoon habitat. Usually referred to as Link, he behaves as a macho jock most of the time, but is rather out of shape. Despite this, he is an expert martial-artist and takes it upon himself to lead the team in attacks, even if his energetic attitude doesn't always work to their advantage.
- Conrad Vernon as Insectosaurus: Formerly a 1 inch (25 mm) grub transformed by nuclear radiation into a 350 feet (110 m) monster with the ability to shoot silk out of his nose. He is unable to speak clearly, and is mesmerized by bright lights (usually used to lead him to other locations); He also has a close bond with the Missing Link, who can understand what Insectosaurus is saying. In his butterfly form, he has wings and is able to fly and becomes the Monsters' mode of transportation.
- Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar: An evil alien overlord who hopes to take over Earth. He is served by gigantic robot probes and possesses a giant cloning machine. He claims to have suffered several traumas in his youth, driving him to destroy his own homeworld, and plans to make a new one on Earth - although viewers never hear most of the story. He aims to collect quantonium - the substance that transformed Susan - to give his cloning machine enough power to generate an army of clones of himself to conquer Earth, and is determined to extract it from Susan.
- Amy Poehler as Gallaxhar's Computer: A smooth-operating, user-friendly computer that follows his orders, albeit with a sarcastic tone.
- Kiefer Sutherland as General Warren R. Monger: A military leader who runs a top secret facility where monsters are kept, it is his plan to fight the invading aliens with the imprisoned monsters. With this, the monsters gain his respect, and he gains theirs. In a scene during the credits, he claims to be 90 years old, in spite of his youthful appearance. His name is a pun on the word warmonger. Despite imprisoning the "monsters", he never shows them any particular disrespect, and upholds his part of the bargain to set them free when they defeat the alien probe. Later on, having helped the team infiltrate the ship, he comes back for them on Insectosaurus, just as he promised.
- Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway: The impulsive and rather dimwitted President of the United States. Not wanting to be remembered as "the President in office when the world came to an end", he agrees with General Monger's "monsters vs aliens" plan. He is very tolerant of the use of weapons, firing repeatedly—and pointlessly—at the original alien probe. He even suggests using nuclear weapons to attack the aliens, only to be stopped every time by his more-reliable staff. The character himself seems to be based on the Stephen Colbert character portrayed on The Colbert Report, sharing various attributes with him such as being quick to act without consideration for consequences, being somewhat ignorant to particular issues that he is faced with, wanting to show off by acting as "presidential" as he can, and sometimes being prone to acts of cowardice.
- Paul Rudd as Derek Dietl: A local weatherman and Susan's ex-fiancé. He jumps at whatever opportunity he has to boost his career, which causes him to place his job (and himself) before his relationship with Susan (he cancels their plans to have a romantic honeymoon in Paris to land an anchorman job in Fresno, for example). After she sees him as the self-obsessed man he really is, she effectively turns him down by publicly humiliating him during his attempted interview with her.
- Jeffrey Tambor as Carl Murphy: Susan's over-emotional father.
- Julie White as Wendy Murphy: Susan's loving mother.
- Renée Zellweger as Katie: A typical human girl. Her date with her boyfriend Cuthbert is interrupted by the landing of Gallaxhar's robot.
- John Krasinski as Cuthbert: Katie's boyfriend.
- Ed Helms as News Reporter
- David Koch as News Reporter (Australian version of film)
The film started as an adaptation of a horror comic book, Rex Havoc, in which a monster hunter Rex and his team of experts called "Ass-Kickers of the Fantastic" fight against ghouls, ghosts and other creatures. The earliest development goes back to 2002, when DreamWorks first filed for a Rex Havoc trademark. In a plot synopsis revealed in 2005, Rex was to assemble a team of monsters, including Ick!, Dr. Cockroach, the 50,000 Pound Woman and Insectosaurus, to fight aliens for disrupting cable TV service. In the following years, the film's story diverged away from the original Rex Havoc, with directors Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman finally creating the storyline from scratch.
Production designer David James stated that the film is "a return to what made us nerds in the first place," getting classic movie monsters and relaunching them in a contemporary setting. Director Conrad Vernon added that he found it would be a great idea to take hideous monsters and giving them personalities and satirizing the archetypes. Each of the five monsters has traits traceable to sci-fi/horror B movies from the 1950s, '60s and '70s, although none is a mere copy of an older character. Susan, who grows to be 49 feet 11 inches tall, was inspired by Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Dr. Cockroach represents The Fly and The Curse of Frankenstein, while B.O.B. is an amalgam of slithering and slimy characters that were featured in the films, including The Blob and The Crawling Eye. Insectosaurus, a 350-foot-tall monster, is a nod to the 1961 Kaiju film Mothra. According to Vernon, the Missing Link has no direct inspiration. He "just represents anything prehistoric that comes back to life and terrorizes people." For the San Francisco sequence, the producers researched lots of films and photographs for an accurate depiction of the city, and filmed animator Line Andersen, who had a similar body type to Ginormica—tall, thin, and athletic-looking—walking alongside a scale model of San Francisco, to capture better how a person not comfortable with being too big with an environment would walk around it.
Ed Leonard, CTO of DreamWorks Animation, says it took approximately 45.6 million computing hours to make Monsters vs. Aliens, more than eight times as many as the original Shrek. Several hundred Hewlett-Packard xw8600 workstations were used, along with a 'render farm' of HP ProLiant blade servers with over 9,000 server processor cores, to process the animation sequence. Animators used 120 terabytes of data to complete the film. They used 6 TB for an explosion scene.
Ever since Monsters vs. Aliens was made, all feature films released by DreamWorks Animation were produced in a stereoscopic 3-D format, using Intel's InTru3D technology. IMAX 3D, RealD and 2D versions were released.
To promote the 3-D technology that is used in Monsters vs. Aliens, DreamWorks ran a 3-D trailer before halftime in the U.S. broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009. Due to the limitations of current television technology, ColorCode 3D glasses were distributed at SoBe stands at major national grocers. The Monsters, except Susan and Insectosaurus, also appeared in a 3-D SoBe commercial airing after the trailer. Bank of America gave away vouchers which covered the cost of an upgrade to a 3-D theatrical viewing of the film for its customers.
Monsters vs. Aliens was released to DVD and Blu-ray in the United States and Canada on September 29, 2009 and on October 26, 2009, in the United Kingdom. The home release for both the DVD and Blu-ray format only contain the 2D version of the movie. However, the release is packaged with a new short, B.O.B.'s Big Break, which is the more traditional 3D that required green and magenta glasses. Also included are four pairs of 3D glasses. On January 6, 2010, it was announced that a 3D version would be released on Blu-ray. On February 24, a tentative March release date was set for the United Kingdom, where anyone who buys a Samsung 3D TV or 3D Blu-ray player will get a copy. On March 8, it was reported that the 3D Blu-ray would be released in the United States, also with Samsung 3D products, on March 21. In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation from Paramount Pictures and transferred to 20th Century Fox; the rights are now owned by Universal Pictures.
Based on 213 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Monsters vs. Aliens has an overall approval rating from critics of 72% and an average score of 6.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages". Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 56/100 based on 35 reviews. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2.5/4 stars, saying, "I suppose kids will like this movie", though he "didn't find [it] rich with humor". Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote "WALL-E had more charm, more soul, more everything. But there's enough merry mischief here to satisfy, even if you’re way past puberty."
On its opening weekend, the film opened at no. 1, grossing $59.3 million in 4,104 theaters. Of that total, the film grossed an estimated $5.2 million in IMAX theaters, becoming the fifth-highest-grossing IMAX debut, behind Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Dark Knight, and Watchmen. The film grossed $198.4 million in the United States and Canada, making it the second-highest-grossing animated movie behind Up. Worldwide, it is the third-highest-grossing animated film of 2009 with a total of $381.5 million behind Up and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. It was the highest-grossing film worldwide in Witherspoon's career until Sing overtook it in 2017.
In 2009, the film was nominated for four Annie Awards, including Voice Acting in a Feature Production for Hugh Laurie. Reese Witherspoon and Seth Rogen were both nominated for best voice actor and actress at the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards for voicing Susan and B.O.B, but lost to Jim Carrey for Disney's A Christmas Carol. Monsters vs. Aliens was also nominated for Best Animated film but lost to Up. On June 24, 2009, the film won the Saturn Award for Best Animated Film.
|Annie Awards||Annie Award for Best Animated Effects in an Animated Production||Scott Cegielski||Nominated|
|Annie Award for Best Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production||Tom Owens||Won|
|Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production||Hugh Laurie||Nominated|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie||Seth Rogen||Nominated|
|Favorite Animated Movie||Rob Letterman
|Saturn Awards||Saturn Award for Best Animated Film||Rob Letterman
|Visual Effects Society||Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||Terran Boylan
|Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture||David P. Allen
Alain De Hoe
|Monsters vs. Aliens: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Film score by|
|Released||March 24, 2009|
All music composed by Henry Jackman, except as noted.
|1.||"A Giant Transformation"||3:05|
|2.||"When You See (Those Flying Saucers)"||The Buchanan Brothers||2:17|
|3.||"Tell Him"||The Exciters||2:35|
|4.||"A Wedding Interrupted"||2:09|
|5.||"Meet the Monsters"||2:29|
|6.||"Planet Claire"||The B-52's||4:37|
|7.||"Do Something Violent!"||2:07|
|8.||"The Grand Tour"||2:10|
|9.||"Oversized Tin Can"||3:38|
|10.||"The Battle at Golden Gate Bridge"||6:08|
|11.||"Didn't Mean to Crush You"||1:51|
|12.||"Reminiscing"||Little River Band||4:14|
|13.||"Imprisoned by a Strange Being"||5:28|
|14.||"Galaxar as a Squidling"||2:06|
|15.||"March of the Buffoons"||5:15|
|16.||"Wooly Bully"||Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs||2:21|
|17.||"Susan's Call to Arms"||3:02|
|18.||"The Ginormica Suite"||5:51|
|20.||"The Purple People Eater"||Sheb Wooley||2:15|
Despite its success in the United States market, DreamWorks Animation's CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg was quoted in the Los Angeles Times that a sequel would never be made because of the film's weak performance in some key international markets (most notably France and Japan). Katzenberg said that "There was enough of a consensus from our distribution and marketing folks in certain parts of the world that 'doing a sequel' would be pushing a boulder up a hill." In April 2011, Jeffrey Katzenberg commented that the studio did not have plans to produce future movie genre parodies, like Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens, and Megamind, saying that these films "all shared an approach and tone and idea of parody, and did not travel well internationally. We don't have anything like that coming on our schedule now."
Beside the main film, the Monsters vs. Aliens franchise also includes a video game, a short film B.O.B.'s Big Break, and two television specials, Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space and Night of the Living Carrots. A television series based on the film started airing on Nickelodeon on March 23, 2013, which was cancelled after one season due to low ratings and the network's plans to refocus on more "Nickish" shows.
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Don’t look for DreamWorks Animation to produce additional movie genre parodies similar to its send up of mob films in Shark Tale, monster movies in Monsters vs. Aliens, and superhero films in Megamind. "All shared an approach and tone and idea of parody, and did not travel well internationally," CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told analysts in a conference call after earnings were announced. "We don’t have anything like that coming on our schedule now."
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