As the film's posters say, it's Wholesome entertainment for family audience. Add Entertainment in large doses to that, if you happen to watch it on 3-D, as I did. Coming from Dreamworks, obviously the animation quality and 3-D effects is great. Here, showcasing 3-D is not the main objective, the script and the characters are important. So, you will not find objects thrown at you, just to give you the 3-D experience. Actually with the glasses on, sometimes...you don't realize it's 3-D, though, you do feel, that things are happening around you.
Susan Murphy (Resee Witherspoon) gets hit by a meteorite on her wedding day, and as she was taking oath, gets transformed into a monster. Instead of waking up in her honeymoon suite alongside her fiance, She wakes up in high secret detention center, where she realizes, that she has become a monster. Not willing to accept her new state of reality, Susan wants to go back to her fiance and restart her life, which she left behind. The other Monsters are Dr. Cockroach, The Missing Link and B.O.B. all of whom have been created by some accident and put into the special cell by Government. They welcome their new mate with open arms and Dr. Cockroach even makes attempts to change her state back to normal.
On the other side, Gallaxhar is an alien leader, whose own world has been destroyed (who else, but by himself). He sends a robot to retrieve the Quantonium, that will give him super power, that has been traced to earth by a meteor strike. The President of USA (Stephen Colbert) is of course all courage, as he goes up a series of steps to "talk" to the new found UFO. He starts with the famous note from "Close Encounters of a third kind". However, when he fails to make much headway in communication, he has to run and orders the troops to do something violent. Obviously, any caricature on American President is bound to invite strong memories of Bush. Jr and you can't help laughing at the gaffes he makes. Like, he can't distinguish between the button for coffee and nuclear button, which are identical. Or, when he says, the new security code is brown (with reference to his need to change pants) takes you with surprise by irreverence. Also, our obsession with security is shows in a humorous way, when employees have to scan their different body parts, including their bare-buttom to get access.
Gen W.R.Monger advises the President to use the Monsters in captivity to counter the aliens, which even the President was not aware of. ;-) While the Monsters fumble on the Golden Gate bridge, as Susan tries to save the citizens trying to flee the city from falling off the bridge. While running away from the alien, through the city sky scrapers using cars as roller skates, she discovers her power and potential and transformation from someone who was not strong enough to open cans. A small dose of gyan on how, we can realize our true potential, when we test the limits. What follows thereafter is a sequence of scenes, where Susan / Genormica along with the Monsters fight Gallaxhar and free the world from getting taken over by the clones. In between Genormica loses all her powers as she is drained out of the magic Quantonium, but she manages to fight back with little help from the other Monsters, who risk their lives to be together. While Susan harbors the dream of getting back to her old life and her boyfriend, he dumps her as she is not anymore the same person, he knew. So, all thoughts of team and us becomes I, me, myself! In the end, self-obsessed Derek (Paul Rudd) wants to come back to her, to get the lucrative assignment by getting her interview. All parts of humanizing the animated characters with emotions.
There are numerous hilarious one-liners which keep you engaged. Like, when the people at the Observation center first spot the UFO, they are filled with utter disbelief, as one guys says, that they are not supposed to be there and they took this job, precisely because, they don't have to work! Also, when Susan's fiance tells her at the altar, that she is glowing and she has this blush, he says, no...you are really glowing and then begins her transformation to the monster. Then, when the Monsters are brought out after years in open air, one of them spurts out, the world seems much warmer and then, with obvious reference to the Al Gore movie, another says, yeah...a convenient truth. All put a smile on your face.
For me, the best dialogue of the movie was, when in the Executive Council meeting, people are discussing about the steps to take to counter this alien threat, someone says...we must get the best scientific minds on this. And quick comes the response, "Get India on the line". That really takes the cake for me, and bound to draw good applause in the theaters.
You note small things, like E.T. go away written on the rockets with the army and it's almost like a tribute to past animation movies and Hollywood's fascination with E.T.. I believe, all the Monsters' characters are also inspired by some characters from old movies.
Overall a great watch for family, kids and young people, who understand and appreciate real comedy with some message, too in an engaging one and half hour film.