Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

Standard issue poster, nothing exciting here.

Standard issue poster, nothing exciting here.

Directed by: Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon (between the two of them, they are responsible for some truly atrocious films, so this is easily their best one)

Written by: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Rob Letterman, Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger wrote the screenplay based off of Letterman and Vernon’s story.

Starring: the vocal talents of Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Paul Rudd, Kiefer Sutherland and Stephen Colbert among many others.

What it’s about: a group of monsters are released by the American government to combat an alien invasion

B-Movie Alternate Title: It IS a B-Movie title

Movie Mash Up: The Monster Squad + oh I dunno, any Alien movie minus all the disturbing imagery

What I liked: For the most part I love the vocal cast, I mean look at them all!  There’s a huge “Office” presence, the former awesome real-life couple of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler, Seth Rogen and I guess Reese Witherspoon can be okay sometimes.  The monsters are wonderful, particularly the moronic B.O.B.  Paul Rudd gets to play an asshole for once, and while the role isn’t great, it is decent comedy.  Honestly speaking, I would rather this entire cast were reunited for an R-rated animated version of this exact film.

What I disliked: Well, I didn’t even realise it until the beginning of the film, but with the Russian meteor event of the past week, the entire meteorite sequence at the building was totally unrealistic.  And yes, that is only because of all those Russian YouTube videos that I knew that.  It put me off for the whole film.  I thought it was decent, but it wasn’t on a Pixar level by any means.  Enjoyable, but unless you’re a kid, repeat viewings will probably make it less enjoyable each time around.

Would I recommend it to anyone?: Sure, it is not an offensively stupid animated film, and it is decently entertaining for both kids and adults.

Rating: 3 / 5

Probably the most entertaining bit of animation in the entire movie.

Probably the most entertaining bit of animation in the entire movie.

Hop (2011)

Holiday-themed family movies are generally a mixed bag.  You hope it’s going to be something timeless that becomes part of a yearly tradition, something magical that brings pleasant memories to you of holidays past.  Most of the time though, it’s an easy cash-in flick for families that want to do something with the kids on their days off, at least when the movie is in theatres.  These movies feature almost nothing memorable about them at all, and only become yearly traditions because TV stations buy the rights to broadcast them and fabricate showings as event viewings.  Maybe I’m jaded, but the only thing memorable about Hop was the terrifically racist chick character, Carlos (Hank Azaria), and the traumatizing image of a CGI rabbit pooping jelly beans.

E.B. (Russell Brand) is next in line to become the Easter Bunny, since his father, Mr. Bunny (Hugh Laurie), is getting on in years.  E.B. wants to be a drummer though, and if you have already suspended disbelief enough to buy into a Santa Claus-esque Easter Bunny Operation, why not go all the way and believe that a bunny can drum.  Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) is a shiftless layabout disappointment, and his father (Gary Cole) demands Fred get a job and do something with his life.  When E.B. runs away to Hollywood, he meets Fred and yes, you can probably fill in the blanks from there.

Hop isn’t a terrible movie, but it’s nothing great either.  There’s some charm in Brand’s performance, and Marsden can be great at times (see Enchanted or the underrated Sex Drive), and there’s some decent supporting actors as well.  Namely Kaley Cuoco, who should be in everything.  There’s really no excuse for having Azaria voice Carlos when you could have gotten someone else much less talented (like George Lopez) and have it be authentically Hispanic.  Unless of course, they tried to do that and the Hispanic actors were all “THAT’S RACIST!”  I don’t even want to get into how little the story makes sense (a chick that stays a chick for at least 20 years does not make sense) because it’s family fare and supposedly that’s an excuse for making dumb story decisions.  Something I’ll never watch again.

2.5 / 5