Monday, March 23, 2009

Monsters Vs. Aliens Review!

Hi everyone, Michael here.  I had the privilege of attending Dreamworks' crew screening of Monsters Vs. Aliens yesterday at the 3000+ seat Gibson Ampitheatre at Universal Studios, and my first impression soon after the film started was that I had never before seen 3D this immersive and effectively woven into the fabric of a movie.

As many of you know, Monsters Vs. Aliens is the first 3D Dreamworks release, as well as the first major animated movie to be designed with 3D in mind from story conception through final rendering.  The result of this design philosophy is evident on-screen: watching Monsters Vs. Aliens is often a dazzling experience.  At one point, a wave of debris particles from an explosion engulfs you.  At another, a character on a floating platform seems to enter the theater, buzzing in front of your face, but in a way that makes you believe that you and he are sharing the same space--you are transported into the world of Monsters Vs. Aliens, and at the same time that world is brought into yours.

A huge amount of credit goes to Phil "Captain 3D" McNally, stereoscopic supervisor on MvA, and his team.  Not only is the 3D technically perfect (there is never a moment where I was taken out of the experience by a jarring 3D cut or awkward shot), but the use of stereo space to aid in the storytelling is incredibly artful.  Whether it is an emotional, dramatic scene involving the main character, Susan, or an action sequence in the villain's spaceship, the 3D serves to heighten the emotional reaction of the viewer.  I could tell that the filmmakers put a ton of thought into the stereospace of every shot.

The story was a pleasant surprise, too.  The trailers don't really do justice to the human element in the film.  Case in point: The character Susan (aka Ginormica) is the central character, and gives the film its emotional and narrative anchor.  The supporting monsters are all hilarious, especially Bob, the indestructible gelatinous mass, who somehow bears an uncanny resemblance to his voice actor, Seth Rogan.

Before the screening Jeffrey Katzenberg came out and thanked the audience of crew members, telling them that they, through their work on the film, are trailblazers in their own right, having helped push modern 3D into existence.

And with Monsters Vs. Aliens, it is clear:  3D is HERE!

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