What About B.O.B.?
by Betty Jo Tucker
Sometimes one performance in a film almost saves it. For example, a gelatinous blue creature, voiced to amusing perfectionВ by Seth Rogen, manages to perk things up whenever it appears in Monsters Vs. Aliens. Unfortunately, the rest of this animated movie feels like a been-there-done-that experience, one the Bard might describe as вЂњfull of sound and fury, yet signifying nothing.вЂќ
I know what youвЂ™re thinking: at least the children will enjoy Monsters Vs. Aliens. Sorry to disappoint you, but the youngsters at the screening I attended seemed quite restless, plus I heard only a few laughs during the filmвЂ™s entire running time. And those laughs were evoked by RogenвЂ™s character, B.O.B.
So letвЂ™s talk about B.O.B. He belongs to a formerly secret group of monsters who are called upon by the U.S. Government for help in defeating an alien plan to take over our planet. His colleagues are Ginormica (voiced by Reese Witherspoon), Dr. Cockroach (voiced by Hugh Laurie), The Missing Link (voiced by Will Arnet), and a huge insect. B.O.B. may not be the smartest monster here, but heвЂ™s definitely the most interesting. В HeвЂ™s at hisВ best during conflict with a giant robot. вЂњIвЂ™ve got him!вЂќ he shouts while stuck to the bottom of the robotвЂ™s foot before being trampled on. Or when he falls for a quivering bowl of jello. B.O.B. sports just one eye in the middle of his upper body, but he makes up for that with the ability to absorb almost everything and everyone in his way. No doubt about it, B.O.B. is an original character, and he deserves a movie of his own.
For me, the other characters in Monsters Vs. Aliens fail to measure up to B.O.B. Ginormica, an ordinary woman who has been changed into a giant version of herself, looks fantastic —В but her sequences are too repetitive. Dr. Cockroach and The Missing Link also lack B.O.B.вЂ™s appeal. The villainous alien Galaxhar (voiced by Rainn Wilson) and his clones may be intriguing to watch, but they pale in significance to similar presentations in the Star Wars franchise. Surprisingly, the usually hilarious Stephen Colbert comes across as rather dull in his voicing of a stupid U.S. President. However, Kiefer Sutherland offers a fine voice turn —В one in which heвЂ™s barely recognizable —В as the gung-ho army man supervising our monsters.
After seeing Monsters Vs. Aliens, I can hardly wait to view my favorite animated monster movie again. Can you guess which one it is? If you picked Monsters, Inc. — youвЂ™re absolutely right!В
DISCLAIMER:В I saw the 2-D version of this movie.
(Released by DreamWorks and rated “PG” for sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language.)
Betty Jo Tucker is a member of the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS). She teaches an online class, вЂњThe Reel Deal: Writing about MoviesвЂќ for the LSS School of Writing and has published three movie-related books including CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, an amusing memoir about her life at the movies. Betty Jo serves as the editor/lead film critic for ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosts a weekly radio show, вЂњMovie Addict Headquarters,вЂќ for BlogTalkRadio. She also writes monthly film commentary for the Colorado Senior Beacon. For more information, please go to www.BettyJoTucker.com