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post #1 of 13 Old 10-03-09, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Monsters vs. Aliens
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Keifer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd
Directors: Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
Studio: Dreamworks
Runtime: 94 minutes
Rating: PG
Blu-ray Release Date: September 29, 2009

Movie

On the day of Susan Murphy’s (Witherspoon) wedding in quiet little Modesto, California a mysterious radioactive meteorite falls to earth and smothers her. Susan absorbs the substance within, recovering instantly. Unscathed she proceeds to marry local weatherman, Derek Dietl (Rudd), but before the ceremony can even proceed, the effects of the meteorite become apparent as she starts to grow at an astronomical rate. As this occurs a highly secret military agency, led by General W.R. Monger (Sutherland), arrive to trap, sedate, and capture her. Monger takes her back to their classified facility that has been housing monsters for several decades.

Upon Susan’s awakening in the facility, she is introduced to an eclectic set of monsters, B.O.B. (Rogen), a gelatinous blob, Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (Laurie), a mad scientist who accidently transformed himself into a half-man/half-cockroach being, The Missing Link (Arnett), a fish-like man from thousands of a years ago, and Insectosaurus, a mutant larva the size of a skysraper. Each one had been captured and held in the same compound with no chance of getting out.

All the while, an alien, Gallaxhar (Wilson), receives word that the meteorite with the substance, called quantonium, he’s been looking for fell to Earth. Gallaxhar sends a sentient robot to earth to retrieve it and when the robot arrives widespread panic breaks out. That’s when the monsters are called into action. Susan, who is trying to come to grips with her situation must fight along with the rest of the misfit monsters and must stop the evil Gallaxhor before he annihilates of the world.

Rating

Monsters vs. Aliens is rated PG for sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language. I found it relatively tame on all accounts, so it should be safe for nearly all ages.

Video

It comes as no surprise that another computer animated movie gets a stellar video transfer. I had a very hard time finding fault in the transfer while I was watching. Continuously throughout the length of the film I kept thinking, “This movie pretty much has it all, video transfer-wise.” The detail and clarity is top notch and the depth of the image was stunning. The skin imperfections on the human characters as well as the unique textures of each of the different monsters and aliens were surprising and to notice it all so easily is an accolade to stunning resolution. I was even more impressed with the colors, too. As examples, B.O.B.’s translucent blue body, Missing Link’s slimy green skin, and Gallaxhar’s purple-ish alien skin are individual examples of how lush the colors can be.

The only slight complaint that I have is with the black level in one scene. At the beginning of the movie we follow the camera through Susan’s unlit home and throughout that whole sequences the black levels are grey. It’s artistic choice, no doubt, but it is about the only nit pick that I could find about the video. The rest of the time, space sequences, shadows and dark scenes retain very rich black levels. Contrast levels always remain dynamic, as well. Even in dimly lit scenes contrast and depth remains intact.

Audio

Monsters Vs. Aliens has a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track that is as nearly as lively and dynamically ranged as the video. I was almost equally impressed with the audio portion, but there was one issue that I had, which I’ll detail in just a moment. First, let’s begin with the good - as I said, this audio track is lively! With every action sequence the viewer is bombarded with surround sound activity to match. Discrete channel usage was abundant throughout the film even outside of the action scenes. Whether it was a Paddleball being bounced back and forth, particles from a crumbling building or a character talking off in the distance, the sound designer spared no expense in the surround department. Subtle nuances are also quite noticeable. More importantly, the dialog remains clear at all times, even during the action sequences.

Now, let me explain my one nit pick. It might be expectations or genuine disappointment, but I was somewhat perplexed in the lack infrasonic activity in the sound mix. Don’t get me wrong, there is a hefty amount of subwoofer material, but there was only one instance in the movie that actually shook the house, which was when the robot sent by Gallaxhar crashes to Earth. There were also several instances that I thought there ought to be more low frequency activity, like when the meteor hits at the beginning of the movie. Like I said, it wasn’t as if it were missing entirely, I just expected more. I guess I was spoiled with Dreamworks hit, Kung Fu Panda, and can only imagine it’s hard to follow up after that one.

Extras

The movie and extras are all packed on a single disc. The features are as follows:

-‘B.O.B.’s Big Break’ that is in either 2D or 3D (Red and Green glasses provided in the case)
-A ‘Paddle Ball Game’ in 3D
-Three deleted scenes
-Feature length filmmaker commentary
-‘The Tech of MvA’ featurette
-‘Top Secret Sneak Peek Files’, which are short videos mostly on upcoming Dreamworks projects - How To Train Your Dragon, Shrek The Musical, Kung Fu Panda World, The Penguins of Madagascar, Shrek The Halls, Secrets of the Furious Five, and MonsterS Vs. Aliens video game trailer.
-Karaoke Music Party


Overall

I enjoyed Monsters Vs. Aliens a decent amount and I will even say that it is a movie I will watch again, but it’s not without its faults. My main complaint is with Reese Witherspoon’s voice; she seem slightly miscast to me. Ms. Witherspoon has a higher, bouncy voice, but when I envision Susan Murphy, especially as Ginormica, I wanted to hear a slightly deeper female voice. Also, the flow of the movie lacked a certain polish that would’ve made each of the sequences mesh together a bit more smoothly. Aside from that, the movie did make me chuckle and laugh out loud on several occasions and overall I did have a lot of fun. On top of that, the immaculate resolution and the beautiful color spectrum displayed was certainly an addition to my level of enjoyment. The Dolby TrueHD track was also very pleasing, except for slight lack of infrasonic slam. While Monsters Vs. Aliens isn’t as good as, say, Kung Fu Panda I don’t have any reservations on recommending everyone to check this movie out.


Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-03-09, 04:46 AM
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Great review Jon I do love these animation movies and they look all the more glorious in HD, I think this one will need to be added to my collection !
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-03-09, 09:13 AM
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

I am looking forward to this one too.

Excellent review indeed...

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post #4 of 13 Old 10-22-09, 01:13 PM
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Watched this movie on BluRay this past weekend and enjoyed it. Lots of fun to watch and the video and audio quality was very good. I dont know why but the caricature of the mutant larva just didn't do anything for me and seem more of an annoyance than anything else.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #5 of 13 Old 10-22-09, 01:49 PM
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Good Review.

I just watched this movie within the last two days and agree with tonyvdb regarding the larva. Animations have come a long way and I normally enjoy them enough to watch them multiple times but this one didn't seem to quite flow smoothly and I can't put my finger on it. It may be that in some spots it seems like they were trying too hard to be funny. Or maybe that larva creature just didn't fit in; I don't know.

In any case, I still enjoyed it but I don't know that I would be in a hurry to watch it again which is my measure of how much I like a movie.

Bob

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post #6 of 13 Old 10-22-09, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
this one didn't seem to quite flow smoothly and I can't put my finger on it.
I agree! I even said that in my concluding paragraph:

Quote:
Also, the flow of the movie lacked a certain polish that would’ve made each of the sequences mesh together a bit more smoothly.
Even still, I find myself chuckling about the movie on occasion. B.O.B. just makes me laugh every time I think of him.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-22-09, 02:20 PM
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Quote:
I agree! I even said that in my concluding paragraph:
You did. My apology for missing that. At least the perception regarding the movie was not just me.

Thanks.

Bob

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post #8 of 13 Old 10-23-09, 11:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

lol, no apologies necessary, Bob!

It's weird, I still find myself quoting parts of that movie, even though it didn't strike me as quite as good as Kung-Fu Panda.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-27-09, 08:28 AM
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for another excellent review Jon!

This was another $2 date night feature for my wife and I, and I was pleasantly surprised by the movie as the ad campaign left me sure that I would not like it.

I don't think this is an "owner" for me, but it was enjoyable enough to watch again when it shows up on tv.
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-15-09, 01:08 PM
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Re: Monsters Vs. Aliens - Blu-ray Review

This was an excellent movie. For a kids movie, Monsters vs. Aliens is laden with inconspicuous adult humor. In addition, the audio is the movie is also very good. It's a real sub workout.
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