Saturday, March 28, 2009

By Hawking's Chair!

The great thing about being a geek, and about movies such as this is that you can take your kids along, and still get something out of it! Well Andy and I took our collective brood to go see MvA on this rainy afternoon. Funny thing, we saw our other buddy, Ray, while we were there in the row in front of us with his brood! I'm a school teacher, and I also saw no less than five students, in fact, for a 3 o'clock show, the movie theater was absolutely packed with sell out crowds.

This movie was great; a boat load of fun. We opted at the last minute to see the 3D version and I'm glad we did, it was visually amazing. It wasn't just 3D for the sake of it, it was rendered as a 3D movie from the ground up, and the shots, especially the ones of outer space were, well, breathtaking for lack of a better word. The movie, as the title Monsters versus Aliens, was a well written hybrid between science fiction and pulpy camp. Dreamworks animated pictures always have a bit more of a rougher edge to them than say, Pixar, especially in terms of borderline crude humor, and MvA was packed full of those inside jokes that only the adults in the theater would get, ala my favorite Bullwinkle and Rocky Show. Not only did it do a great job of capturing both a 1950's and modern feel at the same time, it also paid heavy homage to another all-time fave, Dr. Strangelove, with its scenes of the president in his war room.

Here's our team of government-sanctioned monsters:

The Missing Link: A frozen fish-ape hybrid from the Ice Age thawed out by scientists and subsequently captured in 1961.

Bob: Spontaneously created by mixing a genetically altered tomato and ranch-flavored dessert topping. He was captured in 1958. This is the year that the movie, The Blob, came out, I'm sure it's not coincidental.

Ginormica: Just before her wedding, she was hit by a meteor filled with a strange substance that mutated her DNA, causing her to grow at the altar into a 49 foot 11 inch woman. Captured in 2008.

Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D: When his teleportation device backfired, he ended up with the head of a cockroach, and the world domination plans of a maniacal genius. Captured in 1952.

Insectosaurus: Transformed by nuclear radiation from a one-inch grub to a 350 foot monster with a taste for Japanese cities. He's (she's?) also got a cocoon full of surprise!

The visuals, as I've said, are stunning, and it really is a beautiful movie with every attention to detail imaginable. It had a unique style to it with it's characters being cartoony and its tech being realistic. The 3D version was like watching the entire flick through a Viewmaster, and the effects didn't just consist of objects popping out at the viewer. Surprisingly, it was fairly dialog heavy, fleshing out the characters nicely. In the end, this is a fun romp with plenty of laugh out loud moments, two-fisted action, and overall geeky goodness. I don't really do ratings, but I'd give it two short thumbs up!

"You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!"


  1. Gotta agree, it was pretty darn good.

  2. Yeah, it was a blast! Did you get my message?

  3. Just saw it this PM and thought it was very funny - with quite a few jokes aimed directly at grown-ups with a reasonable background knowledge of films of the SciFi and Horror genre of the 60s and later. The 3d was fun without using the effect to the detriment of the plot.
    I must admit that I didn't particularly want to go and see it because it sounded like a single idea that the studio would be determined to extend to a film-length episode. I just think that the romance story was somewhat weak and could do with rewriting.

  4. You're right about the romance story, it was largely forgettable.

  5. Hi,

    I saw this movie this morning.
    It's fun and entertaining.
    However, there's something bothering me is that what does
    "by hawking's chair" means?
    I googled and linked to your website.
    Hope you don't mind explaining this to me.
    (i'm from Taiwan.)

  6. @Anon: Not a problem, thanks for stopping by.

    "By Hawking's Chair!" is an exclamation used by Dr. Cockroach in the movie, referring to real life super-genius Stephen Hawking (who is confined to a wheelchair). It's kind of like saying, "Holy crap!" or something like that...

  7. Sorry to comment on something so old, but I saw it on a google search and thought I might share... "Hawking Chair" probably was a bit of a pun. Besides the chair he sits, in, Hawking also held the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics
    at Cambridge University, the same "chair" the Sir Isaac Newton held.

    1. Ha, I took it as the literal chair, but the double pun is even better! Thanks for stopping by.