In this animated adventure, bride-to-be Susan Murphy (voice of Reece Witherspoon) is struck by a falling meteorite containing ‘quantonium’. This substance transforms her into a giant before she can be married to her fiancé Derek (voice of Paul Rudd). Captured and locked away in a secret government compound, Susan befriends other monsters also detained there. Among them are B.O.B. (voice of Seth Rogen), the Missing Link (voice of Will Arnett) and Dr Cockroach (voice of Hugh Laurie).
Elsewhere in the universe, Galaxar (Rainn Wilson), a tyrannical alien leader on the trail of quantonium, discovers a deposit on Earth and wants it for himself. This causes a conflict between aliens and earthlings. The government decides to send the monsters in to destroy the aliens and save the planet once and for all. Now Susan has to choose whether to lead the rag-tag group of misfits to glory or return to her former life when given the chance.
Destruction of earth; separation from family; aliens
There is some violence in this movie. For example:
- Susan is roped, felled and tranquilised by the military shortly after becoming a giant. She manages to throw the offending tranquiliser dart at a soldier, piercing his foot.
- Susan beats Dr Cockroach with her spoon.
- B.O.B. is thrown by Susan.
- The President says, ‘Do something violent’, so the military fire on the alien robot probe.
- The President fires his pistol at the probe.
- A dart is fired from off camera at a presidential aide, hitting him in the neck.
- Dr Cockroach performs experiments on Susan and electrocutes her.
- B.O.B. is repeatedly stood on by the alien probe.
- The probe pursues Susan through the city by smashing its way through buildings, scattering cars and debris as it goes. Susan and the probe fight on the Golden Arch Bridge. There is a lot of physical contact between them, and people in cars (as well as the other monsters) get caught up in the battle. The bridge is eventually destroyed, and the probe’s head is severed.
- Another alien probe attacks Susan and Insectosaurus (a monster). The audience is led to believe that Insectosaurus dies as a result.
- Susan is caught and trapped in a glass unit where quantonium is extracted from her, causing her to shrink back to her previous size.
- Galaxar grabs Susan by her neck and throws her onto the floor.
- Galaxar’s ship shoots down the Airforce One aeroplane.
- A cloned version of Galaxar detains Susan and forces her to the incinerator at gun point.
- The group of monsters come to the notice of the clones, and a battle begins with gunfire and physical fighting.
- A clone trying to surface through a manhole cover is hit back down with it and squashed.
- An alien probe tries to destroy Susan by stomping on her.
- Susan flicks her ex-fiancé, Derek, into the air in anger and annoyance. He is caught and swallowed by B.O.B., who spits him back out.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five. For example:
- There are frequent loud explosions and screaming, which might be frightening to watch and hear.
- After a meteorite lands on top of her, Susan glows toxic green, transforms into a giant and crashes through a church roof.
- Susan’s skeleton is exposed during an electrocution experiment.
- Insectosaurus is very tall, frightening and unpredictable.
- Susan’s first experiences at the government facility are unnerving – for example, the elevator ride, meeting the monsters, and seeing red lights in the dark that could be eyes.
- B.O.B. transfigures himself in various ways, including swallowing or popping his eye out on several occasions.
- The alien probes are large and threatening, and the aliens themselves have large heads, four eyes and six tentacle-like legs.
- The probe releases menacing robotic limbs and proceeds to destroy everything it can walk through.
- B.O.B. threatens to throw an occupied car off the bridge into the water below. Some cars have fallen into the water already.
- B.O.B. swallows Susan’s mother and fiancé before spitting them back out.
- Galaxar’s head appears as a hologram in earth’s night skies to convey his message of impending destruction.
- Susan breaks the window of Derek’s top-storey television studio and reaches through it to grab him.
- Galaxar is seemingly crushed several times in a cloning machine before he is cloned into several hundred armed and marching versions of himself.
- A bust of Galaxar expands and opens to reveal the quantonium.
- Insectosaurus morphs into a giant butterfly that flies over the streets.
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight. For example:
- There are several scenes involving natural disasters – for example, explosion of planets or stars and asteroid attack.
- The film is based on the concept of alien abductions and invasions.
- Susan’s friends sneak up on her while she is sleeping and scare her awake in the format of a horror movie.
- As Susan starts to increase in size, the onlookers panic and jump through windows or stampede out of the church to escape.
- Susan is removed from society and imprisoned by herself in a stark metallic windowless cell, and is not permitted to return home to her family and fiancé.
- Susan accidentally swipes at a helicopter and knocks it to the ground.
- Derek breaks his ankle and we see his foot twisted with a crunching sound.
Some children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.
There are some sexual references in this movie. For example:
- ‘It’s a boy. Look at its boobies.’
- The General holds up his hands while describing Susan, to represent her breast size.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is some use of substances in this movie. For example, Dr Cockroach makes a cocktail drink that explodes.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie. For example:
- One of the government officials needs to scan several parts of his body, including his naked bottom, to gain access to the command centre.
- Susan and Derek kiss. On one occasion, the giant version of Susan almost sucks Derek into her mouth.
- One of the aides in the command centre has his underpants pulled up out of his trousers and is given a ‘wedgie’.
None of concern
This movie contains some mild coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Monsters vs. Aliens is an animated action/science-fiction movie, which is not suitable for very young children.
The main messages from this movie are:
- Believe in yourself and stand by your morals.
- Good will conquer evil.
Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include:
- courage and persistence
- friendship and acceptance of differences
- the desire to do what’s right.
This movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children the following issues:
- natural disaster
- sviolence and the use of weapons
- self-centred or egotistical pursuits
- dominance and bullying behaviour.