"Dreamworks have judged this perfectly: a well animated, engrossing and exciting tale populated by colourful characters"

In the 50s we were treated to B-movie delights such as Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, The Blob and The Creature from the Black Lagoon which developed and popularised the supernatural, alien invasion and a fear of the unknown. Dreamworks’ latest animated feature plays on all these genre conventions to create a light-hearted, colourful spectacle that’s engaging and fun for all the family.

Susan (Reese Witherspoon) is an average Californian woman about to be married to a self-obsessed TV weatherman when she’s hit by a meteorite and grows to a formidable 49ft 11 inches.   Captured by the US government and renamed Ginormica, she’s locked up with other monsters that have been rounded up over the years: B.O.B., a living blob of gelatinous blue slime with brains to match (Seth Rogan), Dr. Cockroach, an un-crushable scientific genius (Hugh Laurie), The Missing Link, a reptilian prehistoric fish man (Will Arnett) and Insectosaurus, a lumbering but silent 350ft bug.

Just when it seems that Susan may never see the outside world again, the earth comes under attack from Gallaxhar (Rainn Wilson), an octopus-like alien searching for the lost meteorite and the assembled monsters are released by General W. R. Monger (Kiefer Sutherland) to fight him.

The animation is jaw-droppingly good, which is something you should really expect from the production behemoth that is Dreamworks. What sets the animation apart this time is that sections are rendered in 3D and things have come a long way since the old green and red specs of yore.  Wisely, the 3D effects are used to enhance the animation and storytelling rather than dominating the film (George Lucas please take note).

The voice acting throughout is superb:  Reese Witherspoon is wonderfully sweet and lovable; Kiefer Sutherland’s booming W.R. Monger has shades of R. Lee Emery’s Gunnery Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket, Seth Rogan’s B.O.B. is delightfully dim-witted, Hugh Laurie’s Dr. Cockroach lends just the right amount of mad scientist arrogance and the brilliant casting of Stephen Colbert as the President is a bit of satirical genius.

The action is intense and engaging, the 3D being used to great effect at points - whole buildings and monuments are destroyed; cars are tossed aside like toys (and used as roller skates).   The story’s aimed at children but there are enough jokes and references to other movies both alien and monster, including ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and the aforementioned Attack of the 50 Foot Woman to be satisfying for adults as well.

Dreamworks have judged this perfectly: a well animated, engrossing and exciting tale populated by colourful characters and great voice-acting that’s suitable for both children and adults alike.