Monsters vs. Aliens

(i)

 

Lightweight movie spin-off with comic violence.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

Teamwork isn't always easy when the players are so drastically different, but it's an essential skill for the characters. There's a lot of bickering between the monsters and their alien compatriot, who has ulterior motives for his involvement in the program. Body humor like belching is played up for laughs.

Positive role models

Each character has positive traits like self-confidence and loyalty that they bring to the group. Even the show's villain proves indispensable in a pinch, but when the others aren't looking, he's secretly plotting against the world. Some humans (especially authority figures like military personnel) come off as incompetent and gruff.

Violence & scariness

Mostly comic hitting, slapping, and other mayhem. Ray guns blast holes in walls and are used to put monsters to sleep. Machine gun-style weapons and grenades cause explosions that destroy rooms and the objects in them but cause little harm to bystanders. Verbal threats like "You'll get it!"

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The series is inspired by a full-length movie and linked to video games, a website, other short films, and some merchandise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Monsters vs. Aliens is a TV series inspired by the popular DreamWorks movie of the same name. Like the movie, there's a good deal of violence in this animated show -- including grenade explosions, death rays (though no casualties are shown), machine gun rounds, and some physical exchanges that are more comical than worrisome -- but it's overall lighter fare than what the movie offered. A main character uses manipulation and trickery to push his nefarious agenda while feigning cooperation with the rest of his team, and typically he gets away with it. Humans aren't shown in a favorable light, there's more bickering than cooperation among some teammates, and you'll hear some body noises like loud belching. On the upside, these are characters who thrive on what makes them different, and each one's unique qualities play a positive role in the group at some point.

What's the story?

MONSTERS VS. ALIENS is the continuing story of an elite team of monsters training in a secret government facility called Area Fifty-Something. There's Ginormica (voiced by Riki Lindhome), a.k.a. Susan, a human with super-growing powers; Dr. Cockroach (Chris O'Dowd), the brilliant scientist; The Missing Link (Diedrich Bader), a cocky fish/ape hybrid; and B.O.B. (Eric Edelstein), the jovial mass of goo with a heart (figuratively speaking) of gold. Joining the monsters in their bunker is a team of aliens led by the cunning Coverton (Jeff Bennett), who has ulterior plans for world domination he's keeping hidden from the monsters and from the program's supervisor, General Monger (Kevin Michael Richardson). If only these bunkmates can learn to get along, they might stand a chance protecting Earth from possible invaders.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

DreamWorks and Nickelodeon team up on this spinoff of the 2009 movie that revives its core cast of popular characters (though all with different voice actors) and introduces some newbies who shake up the status quo. The interplay between Coverton and the well-meaning monsters takes a leading role in the stories' plot, which leads to a lot of bickering and some questionable examples of resolving conflict. Despite his habitually ill-meaning behavior that often places his monster counterparts in harm's way, all is forgiven by story's end, and any repercussions are lost to the show's humor.

Ultimately Monsters vs. Aliens suffers most at the hands of a cartoon series' timeframe, which allows a minimal window for developing plots worthy of these comical characters. It's entertaining, to be sure, and the animation lives up to the furthering standards of DreamWorks productions, but it falls a little short of what viewers might expect from the sequel to a popular movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the nature of movie sequels and spinoffs. Do you think these characters warranted a second project? What role might the marketing of products (games, accessories, toys) play in planning a sequel?

  • Kids: Are any of the characters good role models? What about as a group? How is diversity reflected in this cast? Is it a positive or a negative attribute to the whole?

  • How does the level of violence in a show impact its message? What did you think of this show's violence? Was it ever scary? Funny? Would you have felt the same way if the characters were live-action people instead of cartoons? 

This review of Monsters vs. Aliens was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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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Adult Written byJEDI micah May 1, 2013

Common Sense, I'm totally with you on this one.

Nick and DreamWorks should get a "divorce" cause what started out as a good "marriage" (The Penguins of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness) turned out they needed "counseling". I don't know who in the right mind thought that this show would be a good idea. What's next, a show of Donkey from Shrek?! Here's a tip for you, DreamWorks: FOCUS ON MAKING MOVIES!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 17 years old Written byndrwcd May 13, 2013

great another good movie turned into another crappy childish tv show

I hated the tv series cause of the childish lowbrow humor,cheap animation and also a hated the way the characters were portrayed(particularly ginormica who is my favorite character from the movie which I gave 4 out of 5 stars)
Adult Written byTimTheTVGuy May 10, 2013

Are you kidding me?

This is total crap. I was really looking foward to watching it. It was just a big fat letdown on all levels. The acting is so crappy it's comical. Yeah, and I thought Robot & Monster was the worst show on Nick. Now it's in the 2nd place. Do you know who took the #1 spot? Yeah, that's right! This crapfest of a show. If someone asked me if I prefer the film or the show, i'd say the movie in a heartbeat.

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