On a day when I really should have been doing yardwork, I instead motored on over to our local stadium-seating multiplex and plunked down nine bucks for a pair of 3-D glasses and a ticket to Monsters vs. Aliens.
The 3-D effects were amazing; I haven't been to a 3-D movie in a real long time. I'd read an article in Slate by Daniel Engber warning that it might be an unpleasant experience. In all honesty, it wasn't! Modern 3-D glasses work off left/right differences in light polarization, instead of the old color difference. The results (I thought) were sharp and easy on the eyes. The 3-D "gags" themselves were clever, and in some cases jaw-dropping.
But the movie itself was good too. The main hero is Susan, about to get married to an idiot TV weatherman; instead, she's irradiated by one of those nasty radioactive meterorites. This turns her into a very, very, tall woman. It turns out that, unbeknownst to all of us, the US military snatches up monsters like Susan and imprisons them in a vast underground complex; Susan makes quick friends with four other creatures there. All well and good, except for them.
But then—you may have guessed from the title—there's an attempted alien invasion, and the military's weapons are ineffective. So Susan (now dubbed "Ginormica") and her buddies must work as a team to take out the alien menace.
Here's what I really liked: the general running the show is named "W. R. Monger": get it? I was prepared for one of the most tiresome of clichés: the aliens are really just misunderstood, but the path to peaceful reconcilation is blocked by the military man gone amuck.
Sorry for this minor spoiler, but the big surprise is: General Monger is actually a good guy, and the monsters really do need to kick alien ass to save humanity from destruction. Whoa, two thumbs up from this right-wing extremist!
There was also a pile of previews. Gut reactions to some of them:
Up, the new Pixar movie, looks as if it will be the usual
Pixar masterpiece. It will also be coming out in a 3-D version.
On the other hand, Battle for Terra looks preachy and awful.
There was also Where the Wild Things Are, live-action
based on a beloved Maurice Sendak book. Max in his wolf suit: right.
Everything else: wrong, wrong, wrong. I could be mistaken, but it
- OK, you probably know how I feel about Star Trek, but
this is the first time I saw a preview on the big screen. And, whoa
nellie, it's even more awesome. Eighteen days and counting.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is based on another favorite
book from my kids' childhood. It's another 3-D animation (the preview
was also in 3-D), and it looks great.
Imagine That is a Eddie Murphy movie from Nickelodeon, and
so help me, it looks good. Mawkishly sentimental and predictable,
but, jeez, Eddie Murphy is a funny guy, and it might be fun to watch.
Unless all the funny bits were in the preview; that's happened before.
Land of the Lost has Will Ferrell playing a scientist sucked into
some sort of time-space vortex thingy, winding up in a land filled with
peril, and also dinosaurs. This also, so help me, looks good.