First Look

Monsters vs. Aliens is a throwback to those B-movie glory days of the '50s when Martians invaded our backyards and rubber monsters stalked the Earth.


But the DreamsWorks sci-fi spoof, landing March 27, 2009, also transforms a once-tacky Ike-era gimmick into an eye-popping 21st-century experience as the first computer-animated feature to be shot in 3-D.


Studios such as Disney have dimensionalized CGI films, but only after a non-3-D version was made.


DreamWorks, which will preview Monsters for ShoWest exhibitors in Las Vegas today, is commit- ted to doing all its animated releases directly in 3-D from now on. "This isn't our father's 3-D," says the studio's animation chief, Jeffrey Katzenberg. Though it still relies on funny glasses, "the digital projection puts a perfect image on the screen. There is no ghosting, no eye strain or nausea."


To avoid confusion, since computer animation is already called 3-D, he calls it "the Ultimate 3-D."

FIND MORE STORIES IN: California | Las Vegas | Earth | Disney | Century Fox | Ph.D | Reese Witherspoon | Stephen Colbert | Pixar | Toy Story | Ice Age | B-movie | Jeffrey Katzenberg | Attack | Roger Corman | A Christmas Carol | Rainn Wilson | Martians | 50-Foot Woman | Missing Link | Susan Murphy


Others are joining in the trend: 20th Century Fox's Ice Age 3, due in July 2009; Disney's motion-capture A Christmas Carol, November 2009; and Pixar's Toy Story 3, 2010. Why the switch? The number of theaters with digital 3-D capability has grown rapidly.


Monsters tickets will cost more because the process adds about $15 million to a film's budget, but Katzenberg believes audiences will pay for "a premium experience."


That includes hearing Reese Witherspoon as Susan Murphy, a modern-day California girl who has the bad luck to be hit by a meteor on her wedding day and grows to be 49 feet, 11½ inches tall (a wink at 1958's The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman). Captured by the military, she's renamed Ginormica.


"I got very inspired when the studio showed me storyboards," says the 5-foot-2 actress. "Playing a larger-than-life woman has given me my own opportunity to make tall jokes." She also is no stranger to cinematic cheese. "My father was a fan of Roger Corman movies," she says. "I watched a lot of those on late-night TV."


Joining her giantess to fend off Rainn Wilson's evil alien Gallaxhar are Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (Hugh Laurie), the jellylike B.O.B. (Seth Rogen) and the half-ape, half-fish Missing Link (Will Arnett). Kiefer Sutherland speaks for Gen. W.R. Monger (get it?), and Stephen Colbert is the president.


"He plays it on steroids," Katzenberg assures.

Comments

Want to comment on this? First, you must log in to your SideReel account!