Monsters vs. Aliens is not The Incredibles. And it certainly isn't Coraline, Ratatouille, or Wall-E. Let's get that out of the way, right off the bat: Those are amazing, wonderful animated films that are just as magical for adults as they are for children, if not more so.
Monsters vs. Aliens belongs to that other sort of animated movie: the fun, family-friendly flick. This doesn't have to mean "terrible," and based on the number of celebs that lend their voices to this thing—including Stephen Colbert, Paul Rudd, Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, Jeffrey Tambor, John Krasinski, Ed Helms, Rainn Wilson, and Kiefer Sutherland—it would be easy to assume that this must be the BEST MOVIE EVER. But don't fall for it! Monsters vs. Aliens is all mediocrity, all the time, but still, the film does what it's supposed to do: delight kids while keeping adults from wanting to die a painful death.
The titular battle kicks off when Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is hit by a meteor on her wedding day and grows into 49-foot-tall Ginormica. Soon, Ginormica's teamed up with a gelatinous blob, B.O.B (Seth Rogen); a mad scientist, Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie); a fish/monkey, the Missing Link (Arnett); and a giant, nonverbal bug named Insectosaurus. Together, they use their monster powers to make pop cultural references and moderately funny jokes to take down alien invader Gallaxhar (Wilson) and his army.
The story, script, and jokes here are solidly average, and Arnett, Rogen, and Colbert (who voices the president) provide some laughs, but nowhere near as many as they should. And as for the visuals? Well, it's 3D, and 3D is cool—but I'd take an old-school 2D Pixar flick over this any day. If DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is right (and let's face it, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is probably right), 3D is the new frontier of movies. There will be lots of 3D films to come, and some of them will probably be fantastic. Too bad this one isn't.