Monsters vs. Aliens

  • Review Date: March 26, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Homage to '50s alien flicks too intense for youngest kids.
  • Review Date: March 26, 2009
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Teamwork and determination save the day here, but there's also a disrespect of authority figures who are shown as stupid and thoughtless.

Positive role models

Main character is a self-reliant and confident girl. The monsters save the humans even though humans are at first scared and disgusted by them.

Violence & scariness

Lots of gunfire and big explosions, including some alien deaths (one via accidental ray-gun shooting). A "good guy" character is attacked and thought to be dead. The alien robot shoots at and nearly destroys the Golden Gate Bridge, along with everyone on it; the monsters' fight against him is fairly intense. Buildings are crushed. The president instructs the military to "do something violent" when his negotiations with the alien robot fail.

Sexy stuff

A couple is in a parked car about to make out when an alien ship interrupts them. The general makes a gesture referring to Susan's breasts (but it will probably go over kids' head). BOB flirts with a Jell-o mold.

Language

Some insults and mild language like "jerk," "stupid," "boobies," "jerk," and "idiot." One exclamation of "Sweet Lord!" during a chaotic moment and an "oh my God" (as well as one use of "OMG!").

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, like The Incredibles, this movie is too violent and intense for the youngest viewers. There's gunfire, explosions, widespread destruction, crowds panicking, and some deaths -- including one in which a good guy picks up a gun and accidentally shoots a bad guy, with no real consequences. Much of this is played for laughs, but it could be quite scary for young kids. One of the good guys is briefly presumed dead, which could also be upsetting. On the other hand, language is mild ("jerk," "stupid," etc.), and sexuality is mostly just flirting and discussing love/marriage, though there's one scene in which a couple is about to make out in a parked car. The movie is being released in both 2-D and 3-D versions; the 3-D one could be scarier for kids due to the finer line between fantasy and reality.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Susan Murphy (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) is about to marry one of Modesto, Calif.'s, biggest catches -- egotistical local weatherman Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd). But right before she walks down the aisle, a meteorite mysteriously endows her with intergalactic superpowers, and she suddenly shoots up to nearly 50 feet tall. The military immediately ensconces her in a secret prison; there, Susan (now known as "Ginormica") meets fellow internees BOB (Seth Rogen), a sentient blob-like mass; Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), a mad scientist who morphed into a roach; The Missing Link (Will Arnett), a half-man, half-fish show off; and a humongous grub called Insectosaurus. When an evil alien (Rainn Wilson) unleashes a destructive robot on San Francisco, the government releases the monsters to take down the massive threat to humanity.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

DreamWorks Animation often takes a backseat to the computer-animation masters at Pixar, but MONSTERS VS. ALIENS is practically Pixar worthy -- which is to say it's the kind of animated adventure that even child-free audiences can enjoy. Resurrecting the campy, old-school villains of '50s B movies as modern-day heroes is brilliant, even if the target audience won't get most of the references. Directors Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon should also be applauded for the 3-D action scenes that are thrilling enough for adults without being too intense for tweens.

The voice talent is stellar -- from sweet-sounding Witherspoon to Dr. House as Dr. Roach to friendly shlub Rogen as a brainless blob to Kiefer Sutherland channeling Dale Dye as General W.R. Monger (get it?). And more than a few moviegoers will hoot for joy at the casting of Stephen Colbert as a doltish president who's first seen trying to communicate with the alien robot by playing both the tune from Close Encounters and "Axel F" on keyboard. The president also keeps accidentally almost pushing a big red button that releases nuclear weapons ... which is identical to the one that releases a latte. It's gags like that one that make Monsters vs. Aliens a real blast.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of using violence -- even animated fantasy violence -- to elicit laughs. Why is it funny to see a character get shot? Would it have been as funny if it was a human (or monster) getting shot instead of a generic alien clone? What are the consequences of violence in real life?

  • Families can also discuss how Susan's character evolves in the movie. How does she change, both physically and emotionally? Is she a good role model for girls? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 27, 2009
DVD release date:September 29, 2009
Cast:Hugh Laurie, Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen
Directors:Conrad Vernon, Rob Letterman
Studio:DreamWorks
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Space and aliens
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language

This review of Monsters vs. Aliens was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byJadenp February 17, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
Good movie, but some sensuality and violence and language.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bymasonlackey January 15, 2011
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

love it!

oh my goodness for a kids movie i wasnt expecting much but now i am proud to declare this as one of my favorite movies my little bro's new all time fav and a great movie thats worth checking out!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old April 4, 2011
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Awesome!

Great movie! But some scary 3D scenes for little kids and the word "boobies" is a very bad word.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models

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