Friendly invasion

Monsters vs. Aliens
Starring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen and Hugh Laurie. Directed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon. Feather River Cinemas, Paradise Cinema 7 and Tinseltown. Rated PG.
Rated 3.0

Just how much were kids looking forward to Monsters vs. Aliens? If my 9-year-old niece—and the $58 million opening weekend—provide any indication, a whole lot. Abijah did a host of chores Friday evening just so her mom would let her go with me to the first matinee Saturday. Over lunch, she giddily talked about the characters and what she’d learned about them from the previews she’d seen.

The title pretty much explains the 94 minutes of DreamWorks animation. When an alien (plurality coming from his clones) sets his sights on an extraterrestrial energy source that fell to Earth in a meteor, the government turns to a quintet of monsters to save the day.

The newest member is the most unlikely: Susan Murphy (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) is about to marry TV weatherman Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd) when the meteoric wedding crasher transforms her into a giantess that her caretaker, General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland), dubs Ginormica. She finds herself sequestered with a buggin’ scientist, Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie); a not-too-brainy blob, B.O.B. (Seth Rogen); a semi-suave creature, the Missing Link (Will Arnett), and the nonverbal, super-ginormous Insectosaurus.

You can figure out what happens from here. Question is, is all that worth seeing? Both kid and grown-up say yes.

Heading home, Abijah gave it four stars; she called the movie “really, really, really good” and ranked it just below her five favorites, No. 1 being the live-action drama The Secret Life of Bees. (She’s a very sharp kid.)

Uncle Evan liked it, too, even if not quite as much. I appreciated the visuals, which looked striking in 2D and probably would be more so in 3D (not available for our screening). There were enough surprises to keep my brain engaged. I chuckled a lot, many times right along with Abijah. We both had a good ol’ time.

Bottom line: Monsters vs. Aliens is fun for creatures of all ages.