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Monsters vs. Aliens is a 2009 computer-animated 3-D feature film from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount Pictures. The movie was the first computer animated movie to be directly produced in a stereoscopic 3-D format instead of being converted into 3-D after completion, which added $15 million to the film's budget.

The film was scheduled for a May 2009 release, but the release date was moved to March 27, 2009, to prevent competition with James Cameron's upcoming Avatar, which has since moved its release to December 2009. It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray September 29, 2009 in North America. Monsters vs. Aliens features the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Rainn Wilson, Kiefer Sutherland, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Rudd.


Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) is hit by a meteorite on the day of her wedding to weatherman Derek Dietl (Paul Rudd), absorbing a substance called quantonium and growing into a giantess. Alerted to the meteorite crash, the military arrive and capture Susan. She is labeled a monster, renamed "Ginormica" by the government, and sent to a top-secret prison facility headed by General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) and containing other monsters: B.O.B. (Seth Rogen), a brainless, indestructible gelatinous blob; Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), a mad scientist with the head and abilities of a cockroach; the Missing Link (Will Arnett), an amphibious fish-ape hybrid; and Insectosaurus, a colossal grub that is larger than Susan. The monsters are forbidden to have any contact with the outside world; while the other monsters have been living contentedly with this lifestyle for the past 50 years, Susan feels incredibly isolated and wishes to return to her old life.

An alien named Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson) detects the quantonium radiation emanating from Earth and deploys a gigantic robotic probe to find it and extract it from its source, Susan. After a botched attempt by the President of the United States (Stephen Colbert) to make first contact with the robot, it begins destroying everything in sight, resisting all conventional military force used against it. General Monger convinces the President to use the monsters to fight the robot instead. The monsters accept the mission with the promise of freedom if they succeed. Arriving in San Franciscomarker, Susan is chased by the robot across the city to the Golden Gate Bridgemarker, where the monsters are able to defeat the robot.

Now free, Susan returns to her hometown and introduces her family and friends to the monsters, who are quickly rejected after innocently causing a panicked ruckus in the neighborhood. Derek, meanwhile, breaks up with Susan, claiming that he can't be married to someone who could overshadow his career. Initially devastated, Susan realizes that becoming a monster has improved her life, and fully embraces her new friends and lifestyle. Suddenly, she is abducted by Gallaxhar, who apparently kills Insectosaurus when he tries to save her. On Gallaxhar's spaceship, Susan breaks loose and chases Gallaxhar down, only to enter a machine that extracts the quantonium from her body, shrinking her to her normal size. Gallaxhar proceeds to use the quantonium to power a machine which clones him into an army so he can invade Earth.

With assistance from General Monger, B.O.B., Dr. Cockroach, and the Missing Link infiltrate Gallaxhar's spaceship, rescue Susan, and hot-wire the spaceship's power core, activating the spaceship's self-destruct sequence. However, during their escape attempt, Susan is cut off from her friends, who are trapped in the power core and tell her to save herself. Instead, Susan confronts Gallaxhar, who tries to escape with the quantonium, and attempts to force him into releasing her friends. When Gallaxhar says he cannot reverse the sequence, Susan takes the quantonium back and absorbs it, restoring her to her gargantuan size and allowing her to save her friends. The monsters leap out of the exploding spaceship and are rescued by General Monger on the back of the revived Insectosaurus, who transformed into a giant butterfly.

The monsters receive a hero's welcome upon their return. Derek attempts to get back with Susan for the sake of interviewing her, which could benefit his career; instead, Susan rejects him and forces him to endure the humiliation of being thrown into the air and caught, swallowed and spit out by B.O.B. on camera. At that moment, the monsters are alerted to a monster attack near Parismarker and fly off to face the new menace.

Cast and characters


  • Reese Witherspoon as Susan Murphy, aka Ginormica: A young woman from Modesto, Californiamarker who is hit by a radioactive meteor on her wedding day, causing her to mutate and grow to a height of . Somewhat meek and unassertive, she initially wants nothing more than to return to her old life, but gradually warms up to her new status as a monster. Due to her exposure with the meteorite's radiation, in addition to her size, she is amazingly strong and has a resistance to energy attacks, making Gallaxhar's weapons all useless against her.
  • Seth Rogen as B.O.B. (Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate): An indestructible gelatinous mass created when a genetically-altered tomato was injected with a chemically-altered ranch dessert topping. His greatest strength lies in his ability to devour and digest any substance as well as being indestructible. His one weakness is that his mutation didn't give him a brain, making him incredibly dimwitted, such as sometimes mistaking the other monsters' goals in life for his own, although his plan to infiltrate Gallaxhar's clones proves surprisingly successful. His main goal in life is to digest things.
  • Hugh Laurie as Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D: A brilliant but mad scientist who, in an experiment to imbue himself with the resilience and abilities of a cockroach, ending up with a giant cockroach's head and some personality features of the cockroach, but gained the ability to climb up walls and high resistance to physical damage. He is charming and sophisticated in spite of his tendencies to eat garbage and laugh maniacally, working to help Susan learn more about her condition while in captivity.
  • Will Arnett as The Missing Link: A 20,000-year-old fish-ape hybrid who was found frozen and thawed out by scientists, only to escape and wreak havoc at his old lagoon habitat. Usually referred to as Link, he behaves as a macho jock most of the time, but is rather out of shape. Despite this, he is an expert martial-artist and takes it upon himself to lead the team in attacks, even if his energetic attitude doesn't always work to their advantage.
  • Conrad Vernon as Insectosaurus: Formerly a grub transformed by nuclear radiation into a monster with the ability to shoot silk out of her nose. She is unable to speak clearly, and is mesmerized by bright lights (usually used to lead her to other locations); she also has a close bond with the Missing Link, who can understand what Insectosaurus is saying. In her butterfly form, she has wings and is able to fly and becomes the Monsters' mode of transportation.


  • Rainn Wilson as Gallaxhar: An evil alien overlord who hopes to take over Earth. He is served by gigantic robot probes and possesses a giant cloning machine. He claims to have suffered several traumas in his youth, driving him to destroy his own homeworld, and plans to make a new one on Earth - although viewers never hear most of the story. He aims to collect quantonium - the substance that transformed Susan - to give his cloning machine enough power to generate an army of clones of himself to conquer Earth, and is determined to extract it from Susan. Gallaxhar serves as the main antagonist of the film.
  • Amy Poehler as Gallaxhar's Computer, a smooth-operating, user-friendly computer that follows his orders, albeit with a sarcastic tone.


  • Kiefer Sutherland as General Warren. R. Monger: A military leader who runs a top secret facility where monsters are kept. It is his plan to fight the invading aliens with the imprisoned monsters. With this, the monsters gain his respect, and he gains theirs. In a scene during the credits, he claims to be 90 years old, in spite of his youthful appearance. His name is a pun on the word warmonger. Despite imprisoning the "monsters", he never shows them any particular disrespect, and upholds his part of the bargain to set them free when they defeat the alien probe. Later on, having helped the team infiltrate the ship, he comes back for them on Insectosaurus, just as he promised.
  • Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway: The impulsive and rather dimwitted President of the United States. Not wanting to be remembered as "the President in office when the world came to an end", he agrees with General Monger's "monsters vs aliens" plan. He is very tolerant of the use of weapons, firing repeatedly—and pointlessly—at the original alien probe. He even suggests using nuclear weapons to attack the aliens, only to be stopped every time by his more-reliable staff. The character himself seems to be based on the Stephen Colbert character portrayed on The Colbert Report, sharing various attributes with him such as being quick to act without consideration for consequences, being somewhat ignorant to particular issues that he is faced with, wanting to show off by acting as "presidential" as he can, and sometimes being prone to acts of cowardice.
  • Paul Rudd as Derek Dietl: A local weatherman and Susan's ex-fiancé. He jumps at whatever opportunity he has to boost his career, which causes him to place his job (and himself) before his relationship with Susan (he cancels their plans to have a romantic honeymoon in Paris to land an anchorman job in Fresnomarker, for example). After she sees him as the self-obsessed man he really is, she effectively turns him down by publicly humiliating him during his attempted interview with her.
  • Jeffrey Tambor as Carl Murphy: Susan's over-emotional father.
  • Julie White as Wendy Murphy: Susan's loving mother.
  • Renée Zellweger as Katie: A typical human girl. Her date with her boyfriend Cuthbert is interrupted by the landing of Gallaxhar's robot.
  • John Krasinski as Cuthbert: Katie's boyfriend.
  • Ed Helms as News Reporter who speaks in a tone closely resembling the voice of Tom Brokaw.
  • David Koch as Australian newsreader: A newsreader in Australia who comically notes how aliens only ever seem to appear in America.


Ed Leonard, CTO of DreamWorks Animation, says it took approximately 45.6 million computing hours to make Monsters vs. Aliens, more than eight times as many as the original Shrek. Several hundred Hewlett-Packard xw8600 workstations were used, along with a large and powerful 'render farm' of HP ProLiant blade servers with over 9,000 server processor cores, to process the animation sequence. The movie demanded 120 terabytes of data to complete, with one explosion scene alone requiring 6 TB.

Since Monsters vs. Aliens, all feature films released by DreamWorks Animation will be produced in a stereoscopic 3-D format, using Intelmarker's InTru3D technology. IMAX 3D, Real D and 2-D versions were released.


The teaser trailer had two versions that show General W.R. Monger's plan to use the monsters to defeat the aliens. The first version was seen on the Kung Fu Panda DVD and the other version was shown with Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. A full-length trailer was launched on the Internet on December 23, 2008.

To promote the 3-D technology that is used in Monsters vs. Aliens, DreamWorks ran a 3-D trailer before halftime in the U.S. broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009. Due to the limitations of current television technology, ColorCode 3-D glasses were distributed at SoBe stands at major national grocers. The Monsters, except Susan and Insectosaurus, also appeared in a 3-D SoBe commercial airing after the trailer. Bank of America is giving away vouchers which cover the cost of an upgrade to a 3-D theatrical viewing of the film for its customers.


Critical reception

Based on 199 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Monsters vs. Aliens has an overall approval rating from critics of 72%, with an average score of 6.4/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop, which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television, and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 56% based on 32 reviews. By comparison, on Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 56, based on 33 reviews.

Box office

On its opening weekend, the film opened at #1, grossing $59.3 million in 4,104 theaters. Of that total, the film grossed an estimated $5.2 million in IMAX theaters, becoming the 5th highest-grossing IMAX debut, behind Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Dark Knight and Watchmen. Worldwide, it is the third highest grossing animated film of 2009 with a total of $379,882,019.

Home media

Monsters vs. Aliens was released to DVD and Blu-ray in the US and Canada on September 29, 2009 and on October 26, 2009 in the UK. The home release for both the DVD and Blu-ray format only contain the 2D version of the movie. However, the release is packaged with a new short, B.O.B.'s Big Break, which is 3D. Also included are four pairs of 3D glasses. As of November 1, 2009 the DVD has sold 3,552,904 million copies generating $61.96 million in sales so far.

Video game

A video game was released on March 24, 2009 on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, and Wii. The game, developed by Beenox and Amaze Entertainment, allows users to play through scenes from the movie as Ginormica, B.O.B., and The Missing Link, and features drop-in/out co-op. Players can play as Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D in multiplayer co-op, as well as Insectosaurus on the Nintendo DS version of the game. The music was composed by Jim Dooley, with live brass recorded at the Warner Brothers Eastwood Scoring Stage.

Television series

Jeffrey Katzenberg announced that Nickelodeon has ordered a pilot for a Monsters vs. Aliens cartoon series. This would be Nickelodeon's third DreamWorks deal, first being The Penguins of Madagascar and a second being an upcoming show, Kung Fu Panda: The Series.


Despite its success Jeffrey Katzenberg was quoted in the Los Angeles Times that a sequel would not be made because of the film's weak performance in some key international markets.


B.O.B.'s Big Break

B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and his monstrous crew are on a mission to bust out of Area 52, the government's top-secret holding cell. Led by mad-scientist Dr. Cockroach P.H.D. (Hugh Laurie) and macho amphibian the Missing Link (Will Arnett), the trio outwits grizzled General W.R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) to make a triumphant escape after Cockroach's latest escape attempt—by feeding B.O.B. a chemical mixture to turn him into a bomb—results in B.O.B. temporarily acquiring the ability to read minds, allowing them to find out about a secret exit from Area 52. Unfortunately, the plan fails when B.O.B. smashes the jet they were using to escape—believing it to be a piñata,—the resulting explosion apparently erasing B.O.B.'s new power.

The short premiered on Nickelodeon in 2D on September 26th, 2009.

Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space

A Halloween special entitled "Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space" premiered on RTÉ One on October 26, 2009. It is premiered on NBC in the United States of America on October 28, 2009. In Australia on the Seven Network on November 14 2009 and Hong Kong on the TVB Pearl on October 31 2009.Susan and the fellow monsters go back to Susan's home just in time for Halloween celebrations. Susan spends time with her parents, while the other monsters join in trick-or-treating and collect a large amount of candies. Later, it is revealed that the monsters came to destroy mutant pumpkins hidden in the halloween decorations. When the pumpkins begin to eat children's candies to grow larger, the monsters and children defeat them by throwing excessive candies to bloat them up and explode them.



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