Doug reviews 4 movies in 8 paragraphs: Monsters vs. Aliens, Star Trek (2009), Up, and Blood: the Last Vampire (2009, Live Action)

[Contact Me]] | [FAQ]

[Some "Dougisms" Defined]

[About Dickens of a Blog]

Summary: I watched four movies this weekend and all four of them I can review fairly quickly, for better or worse. Here are my [two-paragraphs-each] nutshell reviews for Monsters vs. Aliens, Star Trek (2009), Up, and Blood: the Last Vampire (2009).

Monday, 30 November 2009

(02:05:38 CST)

Doug reviews 4 movies in 8 paragraphs: Monsters vs. Aliens, Star Trek (2009), Up, and Blood: the Last Vampire (2009, Live Action)

Ok, two paragraphs each for four movies, making eight paragraphs total. Without further build-up, the first movie is:

Monsters vs. Aliens

Susan is a bit too mild-mannered. In fact, her one dream (going to Paris) is readily set aside because her aspiring anchorman husband-to-be has a job interview that would conflict with their honeymoon. On their wedding day, a meteor strike causes Susan to absorb alien energy, and she transforms into a fifty-foot-tall woman. Captured by the government, she meets other "monsters" (all tend to the SF-on-Earth style of horror, with shout-outs to Mothra, The Fly, The Blob, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon) who become her friends. When an alien attacks the Earth (due to the aforementioned meteor-energy), the monsters are brought out to protect the planet from invasion.

A more enjoyable than not movie, Monsters vs. Aliens mostly suffers from a tendency to dog-tail rather than stay on track. A fair amount of screen-time is dedicated to Susan being torn between wanting to return to her boring, unimportant life and wanting to continue to be a strong, independent woman. Lots of little throw-away jokes dot the margins (in order to make Susan's cell more psychologically appealing, they simply put one of those "Hang in There" posters on the wall), and some are better than the main jokes (the President of the United States spending several minutes playing "Axel F"). In the end, this is a movie about accepting yourself and all that jazz, with a couple of slices of potty humor, SF shout-outs, and slapstick. Not really a "must own" movie, but a fair rental to waste the time.

Star Trek (2009)

George Kirk dies saving his wife and son, who, being James T. Kirk, grows up to be a reluctant (at first) Starfleet Cadet. The mainstays from the originals 1960s series come together in an alternate time-line from the canon involving black holes, planet destroyers, rampaging rogue Romulans, and an ice planet not Hoth. Despite throwing in a few new surprises (Spock is with Uhura? Bam!); the overall gist of the movie is to show that the original team was meant to be who they are; as they try to stop a nefarious plot that eventually threatens the Earth itself.

Entertaining, fast-paced movie with a lot of hero moments and tongue-in-cheek (and tounge-out-of-cheek) references to the original series. In fact, one of the first complaints could be the sheer number of random quotes, red-shirts, green-skins, and catch-phrases that dot the landscape of this movie: making it almost more of an homage than an independent storyline. The second complaint is the unobtanium-laced weapon that makes up the major threat, whose results, much like a mallet in the old Woody Woodpecker cartoons, vary greatly from use to use. Pushing these aside, there are plenty of nail-biting moments, an unexpected but believable romance, and interesting interpretations of the "younger" crew. Old fans might be put off by the sheer amount changed, but most everyone should find something admirable about this movie.


After living a life with the woman he loved, Carl finds himself a widower and his long-suffering house is threatened by a nearby development. Fed up with it all, he enacts a life-long promise to live near Paradise Falls in South America, and sets up enough balloons to float away. He picks up a stow-a-away in an impressionable and talkative boy scout named Russel (and later a couple of animal companions). Upon getting to South America, though, he finds himself caught up in a Captain Ahab like obsession from another old man while he tries to finishing moving the house to the spot his wife wnated it to be.

The first twenty-minutes of this movie, maybe even the first forty, are some of the most heart-breaking yet life-affirming moments ever animated. In many ways, it is almost a shame that the more convoluted plot involving old explorers and elusive game (and talking dogs) had to show up like a slightly false action graft. Where else the movie could have gone, I don't know, but part of me would like to see a take-two with the journey itself being the focus, rather than the realization that destinations are not always what they are cracked up to be. Still, tons of heart and lots of love in this movie, and it is highly recommended.

Blood: The Last Vampire (2009, Live Action)

Something shaped like a Japanese (or, I guess, Korean) schoolgirl carries a sword and fights vampires. Yep, it's that old standby of the half-vampire vampire killer. In this outing, Saya goes unto an American military base in 1970 to track down some messy killers, which triggers a fight between the military and a shadow organization (i.e. The Council, led by The Elder). In the midst of that showdown, Saya kills a lot of bloodsuckers (they are never actually stated as vampires, I do not think) and tries to find Onigen, an improbably named main baddy who is the "oldest and vilest of them all".

Here's a pro-tip: if you make a movie with the word "blood" in the title, and you spend several minutes displaying the eponymous fluid; make sure you do not render it like cheap chocolate sauce CGed on the set of a Saturday Morning Kid's Show. By the end, you find yourself somewhat tired of seeing brown, poorly lit globs flying out of many, many cuts. You find yourself even tireder of all the political and interpersonal conflicts that get overacted and underexplained over the course of this film. This movie needs fight scenes that are longer (and fuller), and talking scenes that are shorter (since they don't help anyhow). It's a stinker. Those with yellow-fever and an enjoyment of a mild hint of Yuri (there is some hand-holding and blood sharing moments between the two lead females) might enjoy themselves greatly, almost everyone else will stick around just to see where it is going, only to be thoroughly repulsed by the craptastic CG culminating in a "truck falling down a canyon" scene that would look bad in a decade old videogame. By the time the final few scenes play out, you will likely not be satisfied. Might as well have had the girls make out. That could have passed a few minutes of time.

The Final verdicts

  • Monsters vs. Aliens: Fair
  • Star Trek: Good
  • Up: Great
  • Blood: Blech

Si Vales, Valeo


If you wish to comment, please use the form below or contact me in some other way and I'll add it as soon as possible. Thanks!

Where did the comment box go?

Due to most of my friends using alternate means to contact me, and mostly SPAM bots using the comment box method, I have removed it. If you wish to contact me, please feel free to use any human-friendly contact method you wish. Thanks!

Written by Doug Bolden

For those wishing to get in touch, you can contact me in a number of ways

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The longer, fuller version of this text can be found on my FAQ: "Can I Use Something I Found on the Site?".

"The hidden is greater than the seen."