Aliens attack! Monsters respond! Hilarity ensues! Well, maybe not the last part so much in Monsters vs. Aliens, the latest animated movie from DreamWorks.

Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is getting married when a meteor crashes on her and turns her into a 50-foot-woman (every bride's nightmare). She's almost immediately captures and held in a secret prison facility run by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland). Her fellow prisoners are fellow monsters: Dr. Cockroach (Hugh Laurie), a mad scientist in a human-cockroach body; B.O.B. (Seth Rogan), a hungry, happy, stupid blue blob; the Missing Link (Will Arnett), a fish-man who's got quite an ego but is in terrible shape; and Insectosaurus, a skyscraper-sized mutant larvae that bellows a lot and is easily distracted by bright light. And Susan is isolated from her family and her fiance Derek (Paul Rudd) -- plus she's told her new name is Ginormica.

More trouble is coming, though: the alien Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) wants the Quantonium that was in the meteor that hit Susan, and he sends a giant robot to capture it. With traditional military forces powerless to stop it, the hapless President Hathaway (Stephen Colbert) authorizes the release of the monsters, promising them their freedom if they stop the giant robot.

While Monsters vs. Aliens manages to reference a few other sci-fi and monster movies, including Independence Day, E.T. and Godzilla flicks, at its heart the movie is a tale of a bunch of outcasts and losers coming together to save the day. Unfortunately, it's done very predictably. You'll know within minutes what will happen between Susan and her self-centered fiancee, or whether or not the Missing Link will make good. The movie also put its most exciting scene in the middle of the movie instead of the climax.

This movie's terrifically talented vocal talent feels underused as well. Seth Rogan is fun as he continues his series of roles as the lovable dope, Will Arnett once again plays an arrogant jerk, Reese Witherspoon does well as the terrified woman who, er, grows into her new abilities, and Stephen Colbert finally gets to be president! But the other voices sound generic, not really adding anything to their characters.

Monsters vs. Aliens does have some impressive 3-d effects, and the battle with the giant robot is pretty exciting. But while so many children's movies are made for adults as well, this one only aims for the simplest level possible.

Overall grade: C+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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