“You must forgive my friend, but as you can see, he has no brain.”
Reese Witherspoon headlines this DreamWorks animated film, an entertaining one hour and 34 minute sci-fi romp. Adults will catch references from films like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Fly and The Blob, which also compromise each main character’s origin. Witherspoon voices Californian Susan Murphy who’s later known as Ginormica. Her role creates a memorable character arc of self empowerment as she learns how far her talents and kind heart can really take her in life. Susan is one of the strongest female characters in recent animated films, though filmmakers momentarily take a step backwards when one characters says, “you let a girl beat you”.
Will Arnett (Arrested Development television series) voices The Missing Link, an amphibious creature who’s itching for action. You’ll love Hugh Laurie’s comic turn as Dr. Cockroach Ph.D., but he’s largely confined to familiar character archetypes. It would have been great to see Laurie’s British comic experience let loose or even have him write part of the screenplay…maybe in the likely sequel. Seth Rogen voices the blue B.O.B. (a.k.a. Bicarbonate Ostylezene Benzoate). Insectosaurus doesn’t have any dialogue, but certainly makes a big impression and reference to the classic 1961 Mosura monster movie.
Elements from more modern sci-fi films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Independence Day are also inundated into the film. Rainn Wilson (The Office television series) voices the villainous Gallaxhar while comedian Amy Poehler, Arnett’s real life wife, gets laughs as the ship’s computer. Wilson’s fellow Office mates John Krasinski and Ed Helms have limited voice acting parts while star Renee Zellweger (Bee Movie) has an incredibly small voice role as Katie.
The plot really hits some high entertainment points in the second half when the crew gets into Gallaxhar’s alien ship. Dreamworks veterans Rob Letterman (Shark Tale) and Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) know how to entertain as their crew renders a set of memorable, rosy-cheeked human characters to compliment the monsters and aliens. Kiefer Sutherland provides the strong voice for General W.R. Monger while political comedian Stephen Colbert voices President Hathaway.
Paul Rudd plays Susan’s fiancé, a self-centered TV journalist named Derek Dietl who shows his true colors once her new form takes shape. This sci-fi animated comedy comes recommended with a few reservations (**1/2 out of four stars) and is rated PG for sci-fi action, references (largely missed by young viewers), some crude humor and mild language. Watch the ending credits for a fairly amusing bonus scene with the President and General.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler