There is a way to produce quality animated films that appeal to both children and more sophisticated audiences.
Monsters Vs. Aliens is not one of those films.
The positives are a given: beautiful animation, especially on Blu-Ray; a fun voice cast (including Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen); Hans Zimmer score-- that's about it.
Some would disagree, but MVA is Dreamworks' (incredibly late, pun intended) attempt at their own version of Pixar's much more satisfying The Incredibles minus clever storytelling and believable characterizations. Let's look at the facts:
1. A team of super-powered individuals (in this case, "monsters") battle other super-powered individuals (in this case, "aliens") to avert certain disaster.
2. Public outcry against and eventual acceptance of said individuals once said disaster is averted.
3. Physical strength and teamwork winning out over the manipulation of technology by a singular entity.
Other than that, this is standard kiddie fare with very little to stimulate adults in the audience. The monsters themselves are cliches (we have the dopey one, the strong one, the smart one, the incredibly-big-mute one, and the newcomer/outsider), and the action is just kinetic enough to keep young eyes bouncing around the screen while simultaneously triggering seizures in the older set. The laughs, when they actually do occur, are mainly thanks to Rogen's lovable BOB, with the rest of the talented cast (Will Arnett, Rudd) being wasted with sub-par writing.
Audiences expect a lot from animated movies nowadays, and the promise of explosions and REAL-D 3-D just isn't enough.
Magnus says: 2/5