I know this is going to sound familiar, but I absolutely adore feature-length animation. It bugs me that the medium is STILL -- a mere 900 years after Snow White came out -- considered "kids only" by a large portion of the population. Even my mom, who was moved to tears by Beauty and the Beast, absolutely adores Toy Story, and cites Sleeping Beauty as an all-time fave, turns her nose up when I offer her a DVD like Flushed Away or The Iron Giant. (Or Fear(s) of the Dark.) "Meh," she says, "that's kiddy stuff." But I know that if she actually sat down and focused on, say, The Incredibles -- she'd start to see what I see: An eye-tickling landscape of endless cinematic opportunities.
And here's where I kick the chair out from under you by saying that Monsters vs. Aliens is NOT one of those transcendent animated features, the sort that bridges the gap between kid stuff and grown-up art with no discernible effort whatsoever. No, Monsters vs. Aliens is a loud, rushed, choppy, silly, colorful Nintendo game of a movie, and if you're judging an 88-minute family flick by those specific criteria, then odds are you'll have a diverting time with DreamWorks' new production. But if you're looking for the artistry, the warmth, or the extra dimensions of a Pixar production, I'd say you wait for Up, or just lower expectations where Monsters vs. Aliens is concerned.