Monsters vs. Aliens is strictly playbook material for DreamWorks, makers of kidult-friendly pop-culture mash-ups: alien-invasion camp commingled with Dr. Strangelove paranoia parody. But it has one thing going for it that its predecessors did not: It will heretofore be known as the first 3-D movie to render all previous comers headache-inducing charlatans, rinky-dink pretenders. For the first time in the medium's history, you are there—from the president's war room (yet more shades of Dr. Strangelove) to a prison facility where the government's been storing assorted mutants and monsters collected since the 1950s. Children who see the movie on DVD in a few months will wonder what happened to their roller coaster as it morphs into little more than a bumper-car ride, because the chasm between the movie's technical accomplishment and artistic achievement is vast: The story's familiar, and as good as the performers are—from Seth Rogen as a blue blob to Reese Witherspoon as a 50-foot woman—they're still doing their trademark shtick (though Stephen Colbert as the President is a stroke of casting brilliance). But the grandeur of the effects—the honest-to-God spectacle of the thing—elevates Monsters vs. Aliens to something approaching art. It's not a masterpiece, but it's most certainly a milestone.
Director: Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
Writer: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Glenn Berger, Scott Rosenberg and Jonathan Aibel
Producer: Lisa Stewart
Cast: Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Hugh Lauries, Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson, Kiefer Sutherland and Stephen Colbert