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Western Animation: Monsters vs. Aliens aka: Monstersvs Aliens
They are ALL monsters, trust us.
Monsters vs. Aliens is a 2009 All-CGI Cartoon movie made by DreamWorks Animation. The movie is a Sci-Fi comedy that pays homage to the monster movies of the 1950s, and uses Rule of Cool and Refuge in Audacity to hilarious effect in an almost MAD type of way.The movie was shown in 3D format in some theaters; a special promotion ran during the Super Bowl that could be watched using 3D specs sold along Sobe soft drinks.The story features an alien villain, the four-eyed Gallaxhar, attacking the United States with a giant robot. After conventional weaponry proves ineffective, a high-ranking general, W.R. Monger, suggests using the monsters that the government has been capturing for 50 years and keeping in "Area 52" against them.Oh, yeah, and The President of the United States of America playing a kickass keyboard solo...ofAxel F.Technically there's only one alien in the movie (except the clones) but "Monsters vs. an Alien" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.It was later followed up by a Halloween Special, entitled Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space. The monsters head out to investigate a UFO sighting in Susan's hometown on Halloween, and discover that an entire patch of pumpkins has been mutated by waste dumped on them by said UFO. These vicious vegetablesnote Technically they're fruit rampage through the town and gobble up every piece of candy in sight, and it's up to the monsters to stop them before they turn the world into a giant pumpkin patch.A TV seriesof the same name aired on Nickelodeon in March 2013.The monsters include:
Ginormica, the most recent addition, a normal woman named Susan Murphy who has been turned into a 49 foot, 11 1/2 inch giant after being hit by a radioactive meteor — on her wedding day!
Amusing Injuries: B.O.B., Ginormica, Link, Dr. Cockroach, Derek and Gallaxhar at various points in the film receive such injuries. B.O.B. especially — he gets stuck to the sole of the robot probe's foot and gets stomped on so many times.
B.O.B. enthusiastically hugs Susan's mom, and since he's The Blob, accidentally absorbs her. Susan orders him to spit her out before she suffocates, then apologizes for him. "He's just a hugger."
Later, Susan herself goes to her fiancé Derek, and as she is ten times taller than he isnote Assuming Derek is 6 feet tall, she is approx. 8.32 times taller than he is., she very nearly crushes him and almost snaps his head off with a kiss.
Backstory: Messed around beautifully with Gallaxhar, as he tells his tale while in his cloning machine... which slams him down multiple times during the process (think copy machine) and blocks out most of what he says.
Insectosaurus during the fight on the Golden Gate Bridge, though this is soon subverted when he gets distracted by the robot's bright eye beam.
Susan/Ginormica pulls off one later when saving her friends in Gallaxhar's ship.
Big Little Man: Susan Murphy is captured by the government after growing to a height of 49 feet 11 ½ inches and wakes up in a large, empty room with furniture the same scale as her. At first she (and the audience) is unsure whether she is normal size or not, until she steps on a normal-sized chair and crushes it.
Break the Cutie: Susan goes through a long and torturous process for the first part of the film. When she transforms, she's just crying for help and worried about her fiancé before the military sedate her and rope her down. As a result of a chance encounter with a Magic Meteor, she is ripped from her beloved life, labelled a monster, and put in prison to be essentially life-sentenced for being unlucky. To cap it all, she then has to face a Nigh Invulnerable killer robot to secure her freedom and then she finds out that her fiancé didn't love her nearly as much as she deluded herself into believing. That set the stage for her reconstruction.
Ginormica — Attack of the 50-Foot Woman. Also, when she first transforms and the military comes to secure her, they fire a comically giant syringe into her leg. She pulls it out, and throws it at a soldier — it appears to go through his foot. However, one can argue he did better than his presumed inspiration in The Amazing Colossal Man. That soldier got impaled through the chest.
Missing Link — Creature from the Black Lagoon. His meal of fish could be a nod to Columbia Tristar's Godzilla (1998). He's also incredibly simian in behavior (runs on all fours, for instance), and can probably be considered a mini King Kong. He also happens to closely resemble the monsters from the Rampage video games.
The Centerpiece Spectacular: The battle between the five monsters and the alien robot probe on the Golden Gate bridge. Partly thanks to its prominence in the trailers, partly because it's the turning point of Susan's characterization, and partly because there's a long build-up to it (a build-up including several crowning moments, such as the introduction of the President, the War Room scene, and the monsters getting a chance to do what they do best for the first time), it's probably better known and more popular than the actual climax.
Chekhov's Gun: General Monger could have given Ginormica her orientation driving in a jeep. The fact that he has jetpacks lying around ready for use turns out to be important.
Chekhov's Skill: We find out Susan's really good at "roller skating" when she uses a pair of cars as skates in San Francisco. Then, when separated from her team on Gallaxhar's ship, all she has is the remains of the hoverbike...
Clone Army: Gallaxhar considers himself to be a perfect being so he clones an army of himself.
In the TV series, Coverton is asked by his master to clone one of the monsters for this purpose. Unfortunately, the chosen subject is B.O.B., a choice even Coverton finds dubious.
Clothing Damage: Somehow 90% averted with Susan's growth. Makes you wonder what exactly this wedding dress is made of though, since whoever tailored that dress must also be the one behind the Hulk'sMagic Pants. The general fan theory is that it absorbed enough quantonium not to tear off completely.
There is a meteor crash, and the guys sent to investigate it carry a missile-sized syringe full of enough sedative to send a giant person to sleep in under twenty seconds, a lot of rope, and a trampoline. They just outdid Batman for this trope.
There is also W. R. Monger, who always has a parachute on.
Lampshaded with extreme prejudice by the newscaster with the line:
"Once again a UFO has landed in America. The only country UFOs ever seem to land in."
The Modesto, California TV station is shown as having call letters starting with "W". (West coast stations all start with "K".) Considering how often writers make the opposite mistake due to this trope, this could practically count as an inversion.
Creature Hunter Organization: General Monger leads a covert ops team that captures monsters and confines them in a secret base to keep the populace safe. Later, the monsters themselves become one such team, sent to battle an Alien Invasion.
Cultural Stereotypes: California's Central Valley. It's more of an in-joke than anything else. Guess where Dreamworks' HQ is located?
Cyber Cyclops: The alien robot has one huge eye which swivels and focuses on the humans around it. It can also scan things with its eye beam.
Cyborg: Susan briefly thinks General Monger is one.
Cyclops: B.O.B. His eye is detachable, and indestructible.
Dark Is Not Evil: The film shows that, altought the monsters may look scary and ugly, they could actually be funny and nice guys.
David Versus Goliath: Ginormica versus the robot. The 49'11 ½" woman is the David in this scenario. There's another scene later in which she has to face a whole hangar full of them, having been shrunk down to normal size.
Exact Time to Failure: Subverted when Galaxar's ship is set to self destruct (the one time you would expect to know exactly when you're going to blow up), the AI hits 0 long enough before exploding that it wonders aloud if its count was wrong, only to be Killed Mid-Sentence
After the party, Dr. Cockroach tries this while in a friendly spirit, but Link is less reassuring.
Link: Yeah, great party, the best one I've been to since I... got out of prison.
B.O.B. subverts it; he says he must've been at a different party, because his recollection varies from theirs:
B.O.B.: I don't think your parents liked me, and I think that Jell-O gave me a fake phone number.
False Soulmate: Derek to Susan. He is a vain weatherman who is more interested in furthering his career than in his fiancée's needs, and after Susan spends the first half trying to win her freedom and return to him, he rejects her because he isn't interested in having a wife who overshadows him, in more waysthan one. And at the end it's obvious he only wants to get back with her to leech off her fame and publicity.
Five Rounds Rapid: Subverted. At first it looks like the US military is trying to attack the enormous alien robot with just a few infantrymen with small arms. Then the camera pulls back and you see them throwing everything they've got at it. Tanks, attack helicopters, jet fighters, the works. It doesn't work, but at least they tried.
Flippant Forgiveness: After dumping her earlier, Derek returns to Susan to forgive her, because "it wasn't your fault you got hit by a meteor and ruined everything."
Freudian Excuse: The Big Bad claims to have one of these — the problem is that he delivers his backstory while being cloned, meaning we only hear tiny snippets of it.
Funny Background Event: There were probably many, but at least one is worth noting as such. When Ginormica is given her tour of the prison, B.O.B. is bouncing a ball against the wall of his cell, catching it in his ooze, spitting it out into his hand and throwing it again. At least once he fits the ball into his eye socket instead apparently by accident, pops the eye out, throws that into the wall, and continues as if nothing had happened.
General Ripper: General Monger is a complete subversion. At first, he does have the look of your typical General Ripper. However, after The Masquerade is snapped in two by a giant alien robot, he mobilizes the monsters he's captured, but he also makes sure that they are set free afterwards. Adding to that he proves to be a surprisingly caring and nice guy when he gives a call to Susan's parents, telling them she was going back home, and then he gives another call, to the local police, so that they don't try to shoot Susan at sight. Plus there's his reaction when the president launches all the nukes: "My God, Man. What have you done?!" Nicest General Ripper Ever.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: When the general describes Ginormica's "enormous strength and size", he seemingly cups his hands in front of him. After finishing his sentence he notices his hands and quickly put them behind his back.
Later, there's this line from Gallaxhar, which doubles as a Shout-Out:
Idiot Ball: The alien clones. To elaborate, when they're given the order "destroy all monsters", every single one of the aliens, who outnumber monsters 100 to 1, charge blindly at the monsters whilst holding ray guns.
If I Do Not Return: Parodied. Monger tells the monsters that if doesn't come back to pick them up on time, it means he's dead... or late.
Ink-Suit Actor: General Monger and the President both slightly resemble their respective voice actors, as well as seeming to have similar personalities to their most famousworks. The original form of Dr. Cockroach also looks like Hugh Laurie. Susan bears a resemblance to her voice actor, too. Except that she starts as a brunette, and her size (the producers said it's ironic to see a 5'1½" actress play a giantess).
B.O.B. has Seth Rogen's mouth and eye shape. He's a blob, and could look like anyone, but his loose resemblance to Rogen is uncanny.
Juggling Loaded Guns: B.O.B. is given a plasma gun by a clone, and the gun goes off in his hands and hits said clone. Later, Dr. Cockroach grabs the gun away, claiming that it should be in the hands of someone capable... and then the gun goes off in his hands and shoots another clone.
B.O.B. fills this trope's requirements as wonderfully as one would expect to see from Seth Rogen. Even better, the movie lampshades the fact by having him swallow Susan's mother, who remarks upon being spit out: "I taste ham." It's a pun, it's a lampshade, it's the ham trope, all in one burst. (It's even in character: B.O.B. had eaten an entire ham in the previous scene, so it makes sense that he'd actually taste like ham.)
Gallaxhar also hams it up quite a bit, as does Stephen Colbert as the President.
MacGyvering: Exaggerated so much. Apparently, Dr. Cockroach can build a super-computer out of a pizza box, two cans of hairspray, and a paperclip. On screen, he manages to build what appears to be a nuclear bomb out of legos (he asks Susan if she has Uranium) in his spare time, and a rocket-powered, wheel-steered tram car in less than ten minutes.
Magic Meteor: Gives Susan her powers, and ultimately sets off the whole plot.
Magic Pants: Susan's wedding dress. It could be Hand Waved by the dress absorbing some of the Quantonium, but obviously the real reason is that the movie couldn't have kept its PG rating otherwise. Another example is the alien cat suit she wears after Gallaxhar abducts her, which shrinks along with her as he drains the Quantonium from her body.
Never Trust a Trailer: The promo trailers were edited to showcase all the Monsters equally and tended to show Ginormica in the middle or the end of the line. This was an effort to disguise the fact that Susan is the protagonist.
Nobody Here But Us Birds: Subverted humorously when B.O.B. tries imitating birds on an alien spaceship, only for Dr. Cockroach to ask him who he's signalling to.
Not Helping Your Case: Susan has a moment in the Area when, after saying she's not a threat to anyone or anything, she accidentally backhands an escorting helicopter, causing it to crash. Also, although it comes before his objections are voiced, Susan's affectionate manhandling of her fiancé certainly helped convince him he was doing the right thing when he dumped her.
Nothing Personal: Said by Gallaxhar after announcing his plans to invade Earth, slaughter most of the population, and enslave the rest. It's just business.
Nuclear Option: Subverted by General Monger. Toyed with by the President.
Offscreen Teleportation: The robot probe moves slowly onscreen, but look away for a few seconds and it has covered far more ground than expected. The most obvious example can be seen when Susan goes back to help the overturned truck on the bridge.
Also, most of the monsters have been imprisoned since The Fifties. Though its hard to tell the age of a cockroach-man and a gelatinous blob, Link at least showed signs of having let himself go with age.
Paddleball Shot: There are many instances of stuff being shoved toward the camera, starting with an actual paddleball.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Zig Zagged Trope. Link, B.O.B., and Dr. Cockroach are all mistaken for cloned mooks just by wearing the same shirt they do. Then Link claims that he's Gallaxhar to try and get past a confrontational mook. The mook promptly declares him to be defective, but then orders B.O.B. and Dr. Cockroach to take him to the incinerator. He even helpfully gives B.O.B. his gun. An I Just Shot Marvin in the Face moment later puts an end to their disguises.
The Missing Link: It's been an honor knowing you, Doc. Dr. Cockroach: The feeling's mutual, my friend. B.O.B.: I'll see you guys tomorrow... for lunch. The Missing Link: That's right, B.O.B. Dr. Cockroach: There'll be candy and cake... balloons. B.O.B.: CAKE AND BALLOONS FOR LUNCH? IT'S GONNA BE THE BEST DAY EVER! I LOVE YOU GUYS!
Plot Tailored to the Party: Ginormica is basically the Superman to her team's Justice League until the end of the movie when she's depowered for just long enough to give the rest of her team a chance to do something useful.
The Power of Friendship: When the only people who accepted Susan while she was a monster are trapped and doomed, she sets aside her fear and starts defying death. Several times.
Power Trio: Despite the Five-Man Band vibe of the eponymous Monster Mash, the three all male monsters have so many scenes together, that they form this with Link as Id, Dr. Cockroach as Superego, and B.O.B. as Ego, if only because he's the happiest-go-lucky monster.
Reality Subtext: Stephen Colbert, famous for launching a failed presidential campaign that was shut down before it started (but was nevertheless very popular), voices the President of the United States in this film. And the prez looks like him with a bigger chin and a more stylish hairdo.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Susan starts banging on the walls of her prison, the other monsters warn her not to do that, whereupon a huge door opens to reveal a dark interior with two glowing red eyes within... which merely turn out to be the navigation lights on General Monger's Jet Pack.
Refuge in Audacity: This movie would not be nearly as funny if they didn't make it as screwball as possible. Seriously, a supercomputer that has a security system beatable only through Dance Dance Revolution? And a security checkpoint that for severe security includes tongue, both elbows, and bare ass?
When B.O.B. is in his cell throwing the rubber ball against the wall to pass time, that is an homage to a scene with Steve McQueen in the movie, The Great Escape.
When the military attempts to defeat the robot probe, there is a shot of a missile with the words "E.T. Go Home!" Not only that, if you listen carefully, the theme from the movie ET The Extra Terrestrial is actually played for a second.
A Gallaxhar clone getting thrown off the side of the walkway lets out the Wilhelm Scream.
At the beginning of the movie, we see a guy playing with a paddle-ball, as the ball is sent flying toward the audience before springing back. This is a riff on the paddle-ball scene from House of Wax (1953), one of the classic 3D movies.
The shot of B.O.B.'s blue mass flowing out the doors of laboratory he was created in (in Monger's video of his origins) is exactly the same as shot of the Blob coming out of the front doors of the theater from the 1958 version of The Blob.
Similarly, the shot of Susan's hand reaching into the news station to get Derek calls to mind a similar shot in Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958).
One of the trucks that nearly falls off the Golden Gate bridge has the letters "SKG" on its grill, in reference to Spielberg-Katzenburg-Geffen, the founders of DreamWorks.
The scene of the millitary attacking the alien robot with jets and artillery is a perfect copy of the scene in the remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, in which the US millitary attacks the automaton GORT.
Small Name, Big Ego: Derek, made briefly apparent when he shouts the typical "don't you know who I am" line to the military personnel. Keep in mind he's a local news anchor, and not even in a primetime slot.
The Smurfette Principle: Susan/Ginormica is the only woman in the main cast ("We are in the presence of the rare female monster."). However, she is the main character and has the most Character Development of anyone else, going from The Chick to Action Girl. The rest of the female characters are in small, stereotypical roles, with the exception of the girl making out in a car, which reverses the usual role by being more assertive than her milquetoast boyfriend.
The jury is still out on whether Insectosaurus is female or not, since he/she has eyelashes in his/her final form as a butterfly. Even so, the ratio of female monsters to male would still be 2:5.
Smug Snake: Gallaxhar gloats at every opportunity, and has an obnoxiously big ego, but seems to be new to the business of being an evil invader. One of the more satisfying scenes in the film is watching him flee in panic from an enraged Ginormica onboard his own ship, having twice tempted fate by smugly claiming that she can't break past his security defences.
Square/Cube Law: Ginormica, Insectosaurus and the robot probes. This movie doesn't so much ignore the trope as shred it to mulch. Then again, it's too fun of a movie to really matter. Also, Monger and Gallaxhar handwave the trope in Ginormica's case by mentioning that her strength and size were both increased separately as a result of exposure to the Applied Phlebotinum.
Starship Luxurious: Really, it's a plot necessity if you're going to have a 49 foot, 11 1/2 inch woman rampaging through it.
Stuck On Bandaid Brand: In the video game version, The Missing Link is always referred to as such, whereas in the movie he's known more often as "Link". Presumably, this was to prevent confusion/copyright issues from that other Link.
Too Dumb to Live: It's excusable for Susan to misjudge the path of the meteor as potentially heading toward the gazebo she's in. It's not excusable when she decides to run in the same direction as it's falling, when literally any other direction would have prevented her from getting hit. Any other film and we would have had one squashed bride.
Took a Level in Badass: Susan takes several levels of badass throughout the film, the biggest leap occurring when she meets Gallaxhar for the first time.
The Unseen: There was a sixth monster in the movie, The Invisible Man, but he had died 25 years before. The others told the childlike B.O.B. that he had escaped. It appears briefly in the prequel short, B.O.B.'s Big Break.
Valley Girl: Unexpectedly, Gallaxhar briefly talks like one while telling his life-story:
Gallaxhar: ...and then I was all "NO WAY!", and she was all "YES WAY!", and I was like...
Villainous Breakdown: Gallaxhar twice — once when he realises Ginormica can burst through his allegedly impenetrable shield, and again when Susan holds him at gun point.
The War Room: The so-crazy-it'll-never-happen command center where you need your bare ass scanned to get in, showing the cut version of the Earth across 3 or 4 monitors, with a giant button to launch every Nuclear Missile in the U.S.
Wedding Smashers: Susan does this to her own wedding when she suddenly transforms into a giant in mid ceremony. She is then captured by government agents, who were there investigating the meteor that caused her growth spurt in the first place.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted. At first it seems Gallaxhar wants to rebuild his species on Earth, but he just wants a new army composed of him, and thus wiped out the rest of his species and set out to find a planet to populate with his clones.
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zig Zagged Trope. At first, the monsters are considered a danger (and a distraction) and are kept out of the public eye in Area 52. The monsters themselves are indeed mostly too destructive to be let out, but later in the film they seem upset about the fact that they can't get out, and are enthusiastic when they are given a chance to earn their freedom. Once they are out, the trope is played straight and the monsters don't enjoy it. They later earn respect by Saving the World. Link is a good indicator of how this trope is faring at any point in the film.
What the Hell, Hero?: Monger, when the President accidentally presses the "fire all nukes" button, instead of the "get me a latte'" button, during the end credits scene.
Window Pain: The preacher who was about to marry Derek and Susan jumps out the church window while waiting to be put through to The Government. Susan also accidentally puts a hand through in the process of having a sudden, extreme growth spurt.
Four Philosophy Ensemble: In B.O.B.'s Big Break, Dr. Cockroach is the realist, the Missing Link is the cynic, B.O.B. is the optimist, and the Invisible Man is apathetic. In the Halloween Special, Ginormica is the realist, Dr. Cockroach starts as the cynic and Link starts off as the optimist (they swap roles later), and B.O.B. is frankly well out of it.
Freudian Excuse: Dr. Cockroach hates Halloween because of one of these. He quickly gets into the spirit of things when an old lady gives him a swirly pop.
Going to Give It More Energy: In Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space, the cast battles living jack o'lanterns that feed on candy. When the pumpkins join together to form a giant monster, they bombard it with candy until it explodes.