Monsters vs. Aliens is an All CGI Cartoon movie made by DreamWorks. The movie is a Sci Fi comedy that pays homage to the monster movies of the 1950s, and uses Rule of Cool and Refuge in Audacity to hilarious effect in an almost Mad Magazine type of way.
The story features an alien villain, the four-eyed Gallaxhar, attacking the United States with a giant robot. After conventional weaponry proves ineffective, a high-ranking general, W.R. Monger, suggests using the monsters that the government has been capturing for 50 years and keeping in "Area 52" against them.
Technically there's only one alien in the movie but "Monsters vs. an Alien" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.
It was later followed up by a Halloween Special, entitled Mutant Pumpkins From Outer Space. The monsters head out to investigate a UFO sighting in Susan's hometown on Halloween, and discover that an entire patch of pumpkins has been mutated by waste dumped on them by said UFO. These vicious vegetables rampage through the town and gobble up every piece of candy in sight, and its up to the monsters to stop them before they turn the world into a giant pumpkin patch.
The monsters include:
- Ginormica, the most recent addition, a normal woman named Susan who has been turned into a giant after being hit by a meteor - on her wedding day!
- B.O.B., a one-eyed, talking blue blob created by a chemical accident involving a tomato and ranch dressing;
- Dr. Cockroach, a scientist transformed into a humanoid roach;
- Missing Link, a 20,000 year old fish-man;
- Insectosaurus, a Godzilla-sized bug with the personality of a puppy.
- 3D Movie
- Achievements in Ignorance: B.O.B. somehow managed to get a fake phone number from some gelatin he thought was alive and was hitting on. The line about the fake phone number was the voice actor's Ad Lib.
- Action Girl: Susan, starting near the end of the fight against the giant robot. Also, possibly Katie (the girl who was on a date with a jock when the alien probe landed) - both of them completely inverted the usual gender roles.
- Actor Allusion: Stephen Colbert as President Hathaway is virtually indistinguishable from the Strawman Political caricature of himself he portrays on The Colbert Report.
- Affably Evil: The Gallaxhar clones when the monsters fool them with Paper Thin Disguises. Once they blow their cover, though, the trope wears off pretty quickly.
- Affectionate Parody
- Alien Invasion
- Aliens and Monsters: The movie features this, as the name implies.
- Aliens in Cardiff: Or, in this case, Modesto, CA.
- Aliens Speaking English: As does the rest of the planet, apparently, because they all understand Gallaxhar's giant holographic message whether they're in Paris, Egypt, or Tokyo.
- The Video Game version plays with this. Each country gets its own version of Gallaxhar's message, which amounts to Gallaxhar butchering the language while wearing a stereotypical outfit.
- All Animals Are Dogs: Insectosaurus. He even thumps his leg when his belly is scratched.
- Amplified Animal Aptitude: Insectosaurus, once the Link translates his roars. He once helps the Link cheat at cards.
- Amusing Injuries: B.O.B., Ginormica, Link, Dr. Cockroach, Derek and Gallaxhar at various points in the film receive such injuries. B.O.B. especially - he gets stuck to the sole of the robot probe's foot and gets stomped on so many times.
- And Call Him George: B.O.B. enthusiastically hugs Susan's mom, and since he's The Blob, accidentally absorbs her. Susan orders him to spit her out before she suffocates, then apologizes for him. "He's just a hugger." Later, Susan herself goes to her fiance Derek, and as she is ten times taller than he is, she very nearly crushes him and almost snaps his head off with a kiss.
- And the Adventure Continues...: Paris, Ho!
- Area 52
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The Missing Link recalls fighting off the National Guard, the Coast Guard and...the life guard.
- Artistic License: Biology: B.O.B. fails biology forever: "She? It's a boy! Look at his boobies." And, of course, most of the monsters are physically impossible.
- Art Major Biology
- Art Major Physics
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Ginormica (although she's only 49'11½") and Insectosaurus.
- Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny: Insectosaurus is easily mesmerized by bright lights, even at the worst possible moment.
- Backstory: Messed around beautifully with Gallaxhar, as he tells his tale while in his cloning machine... which slams him down multiple times during the process (think copy machine) and blocks out most of what he says.
- Badass Adorable: Susan, B.O.B., Insectosaurus, and arguably Dr. Cockroach.
- Badass Crew
- Badass Grandpa: Monger, considering he's 89 years old.
- Badass Normal: Susan, when not ginormous.
Gallaxhar: Are you crazy? You could have killed me!
- Berserk Button: Gallaxhar killing Insectosaurus results in Susan/Ginormica going on a rampage in his ship. It also touches a nerve with Link.
- Big Damn Heroes: Insectosaurus during the fight on the Golden Gate Bridge, though this is soon subverted when he gets distracted by the robot's bright eye beam. Susan/Ginormica pulls off one later when saving her friends in Gallaxhar's ship.
- Big Little Man: Inverted. Susan Murphy is captured by the government after growing to a height of 49 feet 11 inches and wakes up in a large, empty room with furniture the same scale as her. At first she (and the audience) is unsure whether she is normal size or not, until she steps on a small chair and crushes it.
- Big Red Button: Two in the War Room: one to launch all nukes, and one to make coffee. They are placed right next to each other and are unlabelled.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Gallaxhar drinks with his ear, but spits it out of his mouth. He later mentions his ear nubs, which are presumably the antennae on his head.
- Blob Monster: B.O.B.
- Bloodbath Villain Origin: Implied for Gallaxhar.
- Break the Cutie: Susan goes through a long and torturous process for the first part of the film. When she transforms, she's just crying for help and worried about her fiance before the military sedate her and rope her down. As a result of a chance encounter with a Magic Meteor, she is ripped from her beloved life, labelled a monster, and put in prison to be essentially life-sentenced for being unlucky. To cap it all, she then has to face a Nigh Invulnerable killer robot to secure her freedom and then she finds out that her fiance didn't love her nearly as much as she deluded herself into believing. That set the stage for her reconstruction.
- Brick Joke: The nuke button.
- Bridal Carry: Spoofed by having the girl carry her boyfriend this way.
- Bring My Brown Pants: The President after Gallaxhar's speech.
"Update the terror level to brown, 'cause I need a new pair of pants."
- Brought Down to Normal: Gallaxhar drains the Applied Phlebotinum from Susan to power his cloning device, which shrinks her to her original size.
- Buffy-Speak: Susan trying to describe a cyborg. The President agreeing to Monger's plan, complete with a Title Drop. Gallaxhar's attempt to rename Earth.
- Can't Stay Normal: Susan.
- Captain Ersatz / Shout-Out: To old monster movies:
- Ginormica - Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Also, when she first transforms and the military comes to secure her, they fire a comically giant syringe into her leg. She pulls it out, and throws it at a soldier--it appears to go through his foot. However, one can argue he did better than his presumed inspiration in The Amazing Colossal Man. That soldier got impaled through the chest.
- B.O.B. - The Blob
- Dr. Cockroach - The Fly
- Missing Link - Creature from the Black Lagoon. His meal of fish could be a nod to Columbia Tristar's Godzilla. He's also incredibly simian in behavior (runs on all fours, for instance), and can probably be considered a mini King Kong. He also happens to closely resemble the monsters from the Rampage video games.
- Insectosaurus - Starts as Godzilla, ends as Mothra.
- The Giant Robot might be an homage to the one in the movie Kronos.
- (From the Halloween Special) The Pumpkins - Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
- Casting Gag: Reese Witherspoon, one of the most petite actresses in the A-list, plays the tallest woman in the world.
- The Centerpiece Spectacular: The battle between the five monsters and the alien robot probe on the Golden Gate bridge. Partly thanks to its prominence in the trailers, partly because it's the turning point of Susan's characterisation, and partly because there's a long build-up to it (a build-up including several crowning moments, such as the introduction of the President, the War Room scene, and the monsters getting a chance to do what they do best for the first time), it's probably better known and more popular than the actual climax.
- Chekhov's Skill: We find out Susan's really good at 'roller skating' when she uses a pair of cars as skates in San Francisco. Then, when separated from her team on Gallaxhar's ship, all she has is the remains of the hoverbike...
- Cloning Blues: People keep accidentally shooting the Gallaxhar clones. Acceptable, because it's really damned funny.
- Clothing Damage: Somehow 90% averted with Susan's growth. Makes you wonder what exactly this wedding dress is made of though, since whoever tailored that dress must also be the one behind the Hulk's Magic Pants. The general fan theory is that it absorbed enough quantonium not to tear off completely.
- Cloudcuckoolander: B.O.B. He has no brain. And the President.
- Cool Versus Awesome
- Crazy Prepared: There is a meteor crash, and the guys sent to investigate it carry a missile-sized syringe full of enough sedative to send a giant person to sleep in under twenty seconds, a lot of rope, and a trampoline. They just outdid Batman for this trope. There is also W. R. Monger, who always has a parachute on.
- Creator Provincialism: Lampshaded with extreme prejudice by the newscaster with the line:
"Once again a UFO has landed in America. The only country UFOs ever seem to land in."
- The Modesto, California TV station is shown as having call letters starting with "W". (West coast stations all start with "K".) Considering how often writers make the opposite mistake due to this trope, this could practically count as an inversion.
- Cultural Stereotypes: California's Central Valley.
- It's more of an in-joke than anything else. Guess where Dreamworks' HQ is located?
- Cute Giants: Ginormica and Insectosaurus.
- Cute Monster Girl: Susan, who has been described as a smoking hot monster girl.
- Cyber Cyclops: The alien robot has one huge eye which swivels and focuses on the humans around it. It can also scan things with its eye beam.
- Cyborg: Susan briefly thinks General Monger is one.
- Cyclops: B.O.B. His eye is detachable, and indestructible.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The film shows that, altought the monsters may look scary and ugly, they could actually be funny and nice guys.
- David Versus Goliath: Ginormica versus the robot. The 49'11½" woman is the David in this scenario. There's another scene later in which she has to face a whole hangar full of them, having been shrunk down to normal size.
- Delayed Explosion: Parodied. "Hm, nothing happened. Maybe my countdown wa--" BOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM.
- Did Not Do the Research: No local television station would have a number in the hundreds, though the idea of a small station being that far out of the normal channel spectrum is somewhat humorous. Also its call letters start with "W" instead of "K" despite being a west-coast station.
- Disney Death: Insectosaurus.
- Disposable Fiance: Derek, thank God.
- The Ditz: B.O.B. Justified because he literally has no brain.
- Dressing as the Enemy: B.O.B. comes up with the idea of him, Dr. Cockroach, and Missing Link dressing up like alien clones during their attempt to rescue a recently de-powered Susan.
- Efficient Displacement: Susan chasing Galaxar.
- Everything's Better with Bob: See also Ensemble Darkhorse on the YMMV page.
- Evil Laugh: Dr. Cockroach tends to break out in one whenever he's having a Mad Scientist moment. Susan asks him to knock it off while trying to help her, as she finds it creepy.
- Evilly Affable: Gallaxhar.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: With a Title Drop in case you don't get it.
- Extra Eyes: Gallaxhar.
- Extreme Omnivore: B.O.B. and Dr. Cockroach.
- Eye Lights Out: The probes.
- Eye Poke: Susan does this to Gallaxhar. He attempts to block, but that is complicated by the fact that he has four eyes.
- False Reassurance: After the party, Dr. Cockroach tries this while in a friendly spirit, but Link is less reassuring.
Link: Yeah, great party, the best one I've been to since I...got out of prison.
- B.O.B. subverts it; he says he must've been at a different party, because his recollection varies from theirs:
B.O.B.: I don't think your parents liked me, and I think that Jell-O gave me a fake phone number.
- False Soulmate: Derek to Susan. He is a vain weatherman who is more interested in furthering his career than in his fiancée's needs, and after Susan spends the first half trying to win her freedom and return to him, he rejects her because he isn't interested in having a wife who overshadows him, in more ways than one.
- And at the end it's obvious he only wants to get back with her to leech off her fame and publicity.
- Fish Person: The Missing Link.
- Five-Man Band / True Companions:
- Five Rounds Rapid: Subverted. At first it looks like the US military is trying to attack the enormous alien robot with just a few infantrymen with small arms. Then the camera pulls back and you see them throwing everything they've got at it. Tanks, attack helicopters, jet fighters, the works. It doesn't work, but at least they tried.
- Flippant Forgiveness: After dumping her earlier, Derek returns to Susan to forgive her, because "it wasn't your fault you got hit by a meteor and ruined everything."
- For Science!: The core of Dr. Cockroach's character, including why he is a cockroach in the first place.
- Force Field Cage
- Four-Star Badass: General Monger
- Freudian Excuse: The Big Bad claims to have one of these--the problem is that he delivers his backstory while being cloned, meaning we only hear tiny snippets of it.
- Funny Background Event: There were probably many, but at least one is worth noting as such. When Ginormica is given her tour of the prison, B.O.B. is bouncing a ball against the wall of his cell, catching it in his ooze, spitting it out into his hand and throwing it again. At least once he fits the ball into his eye socket instead apparently by accident, pops the eye out, throws that into the wall, and continues as if nothing had happened.
- Fun with Acronyms: B.O.B. stands for "Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate".
- General Ripper: General Monger is a complete subversion. At first, he does have the look of your typical General Ripper. However, after The Masquerade is snapped in two by a giant alien robot, he mobilizes the monsters he's captured, but he also makes sure that they are set free afterwards. Adding to that he proves to be a surprisingly caring and nice guy when he gives a call to Susan's parents, telling them she was going back home, and then he gives another call, to the local police, so that they don't try to shoot Susan at sight. Plus there's his reaction when the president launches all the nukes: "My God, Man. What have you done?!. Nicest General Ripper Ever.
- Gentle Giant: Susan and Insectosaurus.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar / Gender-Inverted Trope: The couple who first witnesses the robot's arrival.
- Go-Go Enslavement: See above.
- Go Through Me: Said by the one character one can go through.
- Hachimaki: General Monger wears one for the climax.
- Harmless Freezing: The Missing Link's backstory shows that this happened to him.
- Helicopter Flyswatter: Ginormica does it by accident, while trying to explain how she's not dangerous at all.
- He Who Fights Monsters: W.R. Monger. He's as nice as the monsters themselves. See also Fridge Brilliance: If the logic of He Who Fights Monsters is to be trusted, then he's become just as kindhearted as they are.
- Hey, It's That Voice!:
- Elle Woods is Ginormica and her fiance is Brian Fantana.
- Dr. House is Dr. Cockroach.
- Seth Rogen is B.O.B.
- Stephen Colbert is the President.
- Jack Bauer is General W.R. Monger.
- Jim is a jock while Dwight is the movie's Big Bad. The jock's girlfriend is Bridget Jones.
- Gob plays Link.
- His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Meta example--the man in charge of the 3D animation for this movie has the legally recognized name of Phil Captain 3D McNally.
- Huge Holographic Head
- Humans Are Ugly: Gallaxhar finds Susan's body "grotesque".
- Hyperventilation Bag: Referenced when Ginormica sees the first monster they have to fight.
- Idiot Ball: The alien clones. To elaborate, when they're given the order "destroy all monsters", every single one of the aliens, who outnumber monsters 100 to 1, charge blindly at the monsters whilst holding ray guns.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: B.O.B. does this to one of the clones upon being handed a gun. Dr. Cockroach later takes the gun, saying that it belongs in the hands of someone responsible, only to do the exact same thing.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Susan really doesn't want to be a nearly 50-foot woman, at least until she notices how much of a jerk her fiancé is, and realizes she can kick ass and take names.
- Immune to Bullets:
The President: Eat lead, alien robot!
- Impairment Shot: Every time we see Susan lose or regain consciousness.
- Impending Doom POV: Subverted for laughs.
- Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Quantonium.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: "A convenient truth".
- Inferred Holocaust: In a post-credits scene, the President accidentally launches all of the nukes.
- Ink Suit Actor: General Monger and the President both slightly resemble their respective voice actors, as well as seeming to have similar personalities to their most famous works. The original form of Dr. Cockroach also looks like Hugh Laurie. Susan bears a resemblance to her voice actor, too. Except that she starts as a brunette, and her size (The producers said it's ironic to see a 5' 1½" actress play a giantess.)
- Instant Sedation
- It Has Been an Honor: General Monger to the monsters before the rescue. The monsters (sans Susan and Insectosaurus) do this when they're trapped on the alien ship. Subverted in that B.O.B., lacking a brain and being indestructible, simply says "I'll see you guys tomorrow." The other two decide not to tell him the truth.
- It's All About Me: Derek.
- I Was Beaten by a Girl: Indirectly. The Missing Link isn't too happy that Susan beat the giant robot practically all by herself while he lay unconscious the whole time.
Dr. Cockroach: Poor Link. After all that tough talk, you were out-monstered by a girl. No wonder you're depressed.
- Jerkass: Derek.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: General Monger.
- Jet Pack: Designed to avoid butt burn, even.
- Juggling Loaded Guns:B.O.B. is given a plasma gun by a clone, and the gun goes off in his hands and hits said clone. Later, Dr. Cockroach grabs the gun away, claiming that it should be in the hands of someone capable... and then the gun goes off in his hands and shoots another clone.
- Kid Appeal Character: B.O.B.
- Lampshade Hanging: Mercilessly, continuously, and with a great deal of flair.
- Large Ham: B.O.B. fills this trope's requirements as wonderfully as one would expect to see from Seth Rogen.  Gallaxhar also hams it up quite a bit, as does Stephen Colbert as the President.
- Larynx Dissonance: Derek's mother is played by director Conrad Vernon.
- Last-Second Word Swap: Dr Cockroach on Gallaxhar's ship:
- Literal Cliff Hanger: Susan, but considering she's not that much shorter than what's she's hanging onto...
- Load-Bearing Hero: Ginormica holding back the robot's claw. She plays this trope again inside the self-destructing spaceship.
- Locked Into Strangeness: Susan as she turns into a White-Haired Pretty Girl.
- Lost in Translation: The aforementioned Backstory Gallaxar is telling while being dropped into the cloning machine. We have no idea what he says in full.
- MacGuffin Girl: Susan is a minor example. Her body absorbs the Imported Alien Phlebotinum that brings Gallaxhar to Earth in the first place.
- MacGyvering: Exaggerated so much. Apparently, Dr. Cockroach can build a super-computer out of a pizza box, two cans of hairspray, and a paperclip. On screen, he manages to build what appears to be a nuclear bomb out of legos (he asks Susan if she has Uranium) in his spare time, and a rocket-powered, wheel-steered tram car in less than ten minutes.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Cockroach. With a little bit of Gadgeteer Genius, since he can make a supercomputer from a pizza box, radio antennas, and other garbage. Though he isn't truly evil, he'd prefer you call him an Evil Genius.
- Magic Meteor: Gives Susan her powers, and ultimately sets off the whole plot.
- Magic Pants: Susan's wedding dress. It could be Handwaved by the dress absorbing some of the Quantonium, but obviously the real reason is that the movie couldn't have kept its PG rating otherwise. Another example is the alien cat suit she wears after Gallaxhar abducts her, which shrinks along with her as he drains the Quantonium from her body.
- Mars Needs Women: For the Missing Link, abducting cuties is a top priority.
- Meaningful Name: If anyone could get hit by a meteorite, have her church wrecked, and wind up imprisoned by the military on her wedding day... it would be someone named Susan Murphy.
- Misfit Mobilization Moment: The attack on Gallaxhar's ship.
- Monster Mash: Kind of the whole point.
- Monumental Battle/Damage: Let's just say the Golden Gate bridge will never be the same.
- Mook Chivalry: The Gallaxhar clones are nearly all armed, and yet the heroes fire more shots than they do.
- Most Writers Are Human: The major reason our viewpoint character is just a really tall human instead of, say, the blob or the fishman.
- Freudian Trio: Despite the Five-Man Band vibe of the titular Monster Mash, the three all male monsters have so many scenes together, that they form this with Link as Id, Dr. Cockroach as Superego, and B.O.B. as Ego, if only because he's the happiest-go-lucky monster.
- Never Trust a Trailer: The promo trailers were edited to showcase all the Monsters equally and tended to show Ginormica in the middle or the end of the line. This was an effort to disguise the fact that Susan is the protagonist.
- Nobody Here But Us Birds: Subverted humorously when B.O.B. tries imitating birds on an alien spaceship, only for Dr. Cockroach to ask him who he's signalling to.
- Not Helping Your Case: Susan has a moment in the Area when, after saying she's not a threat to anyone or anything, she accidentally backhands an escorting helicopter, causing it to crash. Also, although it comes before his objections are voiced, Susan's affectionate manhandling of her fiance certainly helped convince him he was doing the right thing when he dumped her.
- Nothing Personal: Said by Gallaxhar after announcing his plans to invade Earth, slaughter most of the population, and enslave the rest. It's just business.
- Nuclear Option: Subverted by General Monger. Toyed with by the President.
- Offscreen Teleportation: The robot probe moves slowly onscreen, but look away for a few seconds and it has covered far more ground than expected. The most obvious example can be seen when Susan goes back to help the overturned truck on the bridge.
- Older Than They Look: WR Monger is apparently 90 years old. Also, most of the monsters have been imprisoned since The Fifties. Though its hard to tell the age of a cockroach-man and a gelatinous blob, Link at least showed signs of having let himself go with age.
- Omnicidal Maniac / Where I Was Born and Razed: Gallaxhar committed genocide on his own race because he wanted a planet filled only with him and his clones. He's far more than willing to do that to humanity, too. He may or may not have a Freudian Excuse, see Backstory, along with a dozen or so other issues.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Dr. Cockroach. He got his PHD in Dance.
- Our Monsters Are Different: They're nice, in fact.
- Our Presidents Are Different: And they're also voiced by Stephen Colbert.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Zig Zagged Trope. Link, B.O.B., and Dr. Cockroach are all mistaken for cloned mooks just by wearing the same shirt they do. Then Link claims that he's Gallaxhar to try and get past a confrontational mook. The mook promptly declares him to be defective, but then orders B.O.B. and Dr. Cockroach to take him to the incinerator. He even helpfully gives B.O.B. his gun. An I Just Shot Marvin in the Face moment later puts an end to their disguises.
- Parental Bonus: Most of the shoutouts and the scene with the Journey song, plus the pun on An Inconvenient Truth.
- The streetcar Dr. Cockroach commandeers has the destination "Castro" on it. The Castro is the famous all-gay district of San Francisco.
- Pet the Dog: W.R. Monger has a little poster set up in Susan's room to cheer her up. Doesn't help much, but the thought still counts.
- Planning for The Future Before The End: Subverted. After The Missing Link and Dr. Cockroach are telling each other It Has Been an Honor, B.O.B. tells them he'll see them tomorrow for lunch. They agree, although B.O.B. was totally serious...
The Missing Link: It's been an honor knowing you, Doc.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: Ginormica is basically the Superman to her team's Justice League until the end of the movie when she's depowered for just long enough to give the rest of her team a chance to do something useful.
B.O.B.: Whoa, you're doing good!
- There is a subtle hint of Deconstruction, however, as Link gets rather depressed when he has to face the fact he isn't as powerful or useful as he used to be.
- Power Loss Makes You Strong: Ginormica after Gallaxhar strips her of her Applied Phlebotinum.
- Professor Guinea Pig: Dr. Cockroach's backstory.
- Punny Name: W.R. Monger. His government also has a tendency to name monsters this way.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
- Reality Subtext: Stephen Colbert, famous for launching a failed presidential campaign that was shut down before it started (but was nevertheless very popular), voices the President of the United States in this film. And the prez looks like him with a bigger chin and a more stylish hairdo.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: General Monger, in a subversion of General Ripper.
- Reckless Gun Usage: see Juggling Loaded Guns.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Susan starts banging on the walls of her prison, the other monsters warn her not to do that, whereupon a huge door opens to reveal a dark interior with two glowing red eyes within... which merely turn out to be the navigation lights on General Monger's Jet Pack.
- Reference Overdosed
- Refuge in Audacity: This movie would not be nearly as funny if they didn't make it as screwball as possible. Seriously, a supercomputer that has a security system beatable only through Dance Dance Revolution? And a security checkpoint that for severe security includes tongue, both elbows, and bare ass?
- Reluctant Monster: Susan.
- A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma: General Monger refers to the top-secret prison Susan is taken to as "an X-File, wrapped in a cover-up, and deep-fried in paranoid conspiracy."
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Susan tears her way through Gallaxhar's ship to get revenge for Insectosaurus, literally roaring most of the time.
- Roof Hopping: Ginormica does this in San Francisco to escape the alien robot. (Don't ask how the roofs don't crumble under her feet.) She jumps to one tilted roof that's too far for her, scrambles to hold on as she slips down, loses her grip... and safely lands on the ground, since she's almost as tall as the building.
- Rule of Funny / Rule of Cool: The science of this is nonexistent, one-dimensional characters outnumber the fleshed-out ones, and several characters show Plot Induced Stupidity. However, it's a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of 1950s horror movies, in 3-D, with Stephen Colbert as president and Hey, It's That Guy! for almost every other named character as well, so who the hell cares about all that other stuff?
- Running Gag: Link getting his head smacked by, in succession, a manhole cover, a falling piece of the Golden Gate bridge, a diving board and the entrance to the power core on Gallaxhar's ship.
- Samus Is a Girl: Insectosaurus.
- Schmuck Bait: The Big Red Button that launches every single nuke in the US at once. That is right next to an identical big red button that makes lattes.
- Screams Like a Little Girl: The President. Especially amusing since the previous four exactly identical girly screams were from an actual girl.
- Send in the Clones
- Shout-Out: General Monger's pin with the clouds on it, on his upper left side, is Shrek wearing an eyepatch. Look for it.
- There is also a Shout-Out to Close Encounters of the Third Kind when the president attempts to communicate with the robot probe musically. (and he ends up playing Axel F, the Beverly Hills Cop theme song) Plus he gives the Vulcan salute from Star Trek.
- Link mentions that finding out that the Earth had gotten warmer in his absence would be a "very convenient truth", a reference to the film An Inconvenient Truth.
- Modesto, CA, Susan's hometown in the movie, was the hometown of George Lucas.
- Plus: "This place is an X-File! Wrapped in cover-up and deep-fried in paranoid conspiracy."
- Gallaxhar's line, "Destroy all monsters!" is a reference to the Godzilla movie of the same name.
- The eventual fate of Insectosaurus is much like that of Mothra. If you're familiar with that particular monster, the supposed death of Insectosaurus isn't quite as traumatic.
- Also, "Oh, Spaceballs."
- That one convertible belonging to the jock that had racing stripes and a radio that shifted frequencies on its own.
- Interestingly, the capture of Susan and Bumblebee both involve helicopters and some similar equipment. They even start with roping one arm.
- The scene where Susan tosses the giant hypodermic needle, only to have it impale some poor soldier's foot, is a reference to The Amazing Colossal Man, where the results are a bit more lethal.
- Gallaxhar's speech to all of Earth sounds a lot like the Vogon's speech before they destroy Earth in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Not only is the president an Expy of Stephen Colbert, but his code name ("Papa Bear") is a Shout-Out to Colbert's nickname for Bill O'Reilly (One of the main inspirations for his over-the-top alter-ego.)
- The Robots' shields use the same effect as the aliens' in Independence Day.
- They got two in the space about three seconds: "Supernova. This is Red Dwarf! We actually have one! Code Nimoy!"
- When B.O.B. is in his cell throwing the rubber ball against the wall to pass time, that is an homage to a scene with Steve McQueen in the movie, The Great Escape.
- When the military attempts to defeat the robot probe, there is a shot of a missile with the words "E.T. Go Home!" Not only that, if you listen carefully, the theme from the movie "E.T." is actually played for a second.
- A Gallaxhar clone getting thrown off the side of the walkway lets out the Wilhelm Scream.
- In a deleted scene, B.O.B. charges into battle yelling "LEEEEEEROOOOOOOOOOOOOY JEEEEEEEEEEEEENKIIIIIIIIIIINS!!!!" The lines surrounding that are even roughly the same as the Leeroy Jenkins video, namely the request for a "number crunch", the absurdedly low odds of survival being "better than usual", and the like.
- At the beginning of the movie, we see a guy playing with a paddle-ball, as the ball is sent flying toward the audience before springing back. This is a riff on the paddle-ball scene from House of Wax, one of the classic 3D movies.
- The shot of B.O.B.'s blue mass flowing out the doors of laboratory he was created in (in Monger's video of his origins) is exactly the same as shot of the Blob coming out of the front doors of the theater from the 1958 version of The Blob.
- Similarly, the shot of Susan's hand reaching into the news station to get Derek calls to mind a similar shot in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958).
- One of the trucks that nearly falls off the Golden Gate bridge has the letters "SKG" on its grill, in reference to Spielberg-Katzenburg-Geffen, the founders of DreamWorks.
- Lastly, there's a shout out to Dr. Strangelove during The Stinger.
- Smart People Speak the Queen's English: Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D.
- Smug Snake: Gallaxhar gloats at every opportunity, and has an obnoxiously big ego, but seems to be new to the business of being an evil invader. One of the more satisfying scenes in the film is watching him flee in panic from an enraged Ginormica onboard his own ship, having twice tempted fate by smugly claiming that she can't break past his security defences.
- Songs in the Key of Lock: Dance Dance Revolution-style. See Crowning Moment of Funny.
- Square-Cube Law: Ginormica, Insectosaurus and the robot probes. This movie doesn't so much ignore the trope as shred it to mulch. Then again, it's too fun of a movie to really matter. Also, Monger and Gallaxhar handwave the trope in Ginormica's case by mentioning that her strength and size were both increased separately as a result of exposure to the Applied Phlebotinum.
- Starship Luxurious: Really, it's a plot necessity if you're going to have a 49 foot, 11½ inch woman rampaging through it.
- Stuck on Band-Aid Brand: In the video game version, The Missing Link is always referred to as such, whereas in the movie he's known more often as "Link". Presumably, this was to prevent confusion/copyright issues from that other Link.
- Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish: On the Halloween Special, B.O.B. tries to reason with the evil pumpkins because, since he's part tomato, he's fluent in produce.
Dr. Cockroach: Well, what did he say?
- Take Over the World: With clones. After killing everyone, to be precise.
- Terror at Make-Out Point: A couple making out in their car are the first to see the giant robot probe.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Insectosaurus as a butterfly has prominent eyelashes and lipstick-like markings. Never would've guessed "he" was actually a girl, huh?
- That Poor Car: Averted when Susan uses those cars as roller skates, but played straight with the deep bass roar of Insectosaurus at the first Modesto party.
- That Woman Is Dead: When Gallaxhar reveals he can't free the others, we get this exchange:
Gallaxhar: Now we're all gonna die! And there's nothing you can do about it, Suuusan!
- They Called Me Mad: Played straight with Dr. Cockroach.
- Throw It In: What you get when you hire an improv comedian. "Evidently they eat lead" was one of them.
- Title Drop: By the President:
"I propose we go forward with your "monsters vs. aliens" idea... thingy."
- Token Romance: Averted in Susan's case, which seems kinda refreshing in this movie. Also made fun of with B.O.B. and his girl, the plate of green jello.
- Took a Level in Badass: Susan takes several levels of badass throughout the film, the biggest leap occurring when she meets Gallaxhar for the first time.
- Totally Radical: Dr. Cockroach with his PhD in dance. At least he has the grace to realize how absurd he is (at times).
Dr. Cockroach: What my associate is trying to say is we all think the new Susan is the cat's me-wow. (awkward silence from everyone) I'm sorry.
- B.O.B.: These disguises are da bomb!
- Touch of the Monster: Parodied with the date couple.
- Unnecessarily Large Interior: Every part of the alien ship, even those parts not made for giant robots.
- Unobtainium: The Quantonium.
- The Un-Reveal: Gallaxhar's explanation of his backstory, constantly interrupted by his cloning machine.
- The Unseen: There was a sixth monster in the movie (The Invisible Man, but he had died 25 years before. The others told the childlike B.O.B. that he had escaped. It appears briefly in the prequel short, B.O.B.'s Big Break.
- Unusual Euphemism: "What the flagnar?!"
- Valley Girl: Unexpectedly, Gallaxhar briefly talks like one while telling his life-story:
"... and then I was all "NO WAY!", and she was all "YES WAY!", and I was like..."
- Versus Title
- Villainous Breakdown: Gallaxhar twice - once when he realises Ginormica can burst through his allegedly impenetrable shield, and again when Susan holds him at gun point.
- Viral Marketing: A rather believable (read: amusing) conspiracy nut website has teasers for the movie amid the alien coinage and mind control candy.
- Nickelodeon created an ad which started out as a True Jackson, VP promo before abruptly going to static and then shifting to an announcement warning people of the arriving monsters.
- The War Room: The so-crazy-it'll-never-happen command center where you need your bare ass scanned to get in, showing the cut version of the Earth across 3 or 4 monitors, with a giant button to launch every Nuclear Missile in the U.S.
- We Come in Peace, Shoot to Kill: Gallaxhar's broadcast has him say he comes in peace... then immediately declare his intent to destroy humanity.
Gallaxhar: To recap: We come in peace. We mean you no harm. And you all will die.
- Wedding Smashers: Susan does this to her own wedding when she suddenly transforms into a giant in mid ceremony. She is then captured by government agents, who were there investigating the meteor that caused her growth spurt in the first place.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Subverted. At first it seems Gallaxhar wants to rebuild his species on Earth, but he just wants a new army composed of him, and thus wiped out the rest of his species and set out to find a planet to populate with his clones.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Monger ordering coffee during The Stinger.
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Zig Zagged Trope. At first, the monsters are considered a danger (and a distraction) and are kept out of the public eye in Area 52. The monsters themselves are indeed mostly too destructive to be let out, but later in the film they seem upset about the fact that they can't get out, and are enthusiastic when they are given a chance to earn their freedom. Once they are out, the trope is played straight and the monsters don't enjoy it. They later earn respect by Saving the World. Link is a good indicator of how this trope is faring at any point in the film.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Monger, when the President accidentally presses the "fire all nukes" button, instead of the "get me a latte'" button, during the end credits scene.
- Where I Was Born and Razed: Gallaxhar destroyed his own home planet, though we never know why.
- White-Haired Pretty Girl: Ginormica (Susan).
- Window Pain: The preacher who was about to marry Derek and Susan jumps out the church window while waiting to be put through to The Government. Susan also accidentally puts a hand through in the process of having a sudden, extreme growth spurt.
- Wing Pull: Insectosaurus at the end.
- You Do NOT Want to Know: Most of Gallaxhar's life-story is never heard by Susan (or the audience). But whatever it was, it drove him crazy enough to destroy his planet and develop a lifelong obsession with Quantonium. It also apparently involved some terrible secret his parents kept from him ("No child should ever have to go through anything like that!") and his marriage going sour.
The shorts feature the following tropes:
- Cannot Spit It Out: B.O.B.'s attempt at trick-or-treat.
- Captain Ersatz / Shout-Out: (From the Halloween Special) The Pumpkins - Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
- Evil Laugh: Dr. Cockroach.
- For Halloween I Am Going as Myself
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: In B.O.B.'s Big Break, Dr. Cockroach is the realist, the Missing Link is the cynic, B.O.B. is the optimist, and the Invisible Man is apathetic. In the Halloween Special, Ginormica is the realist, Dr. Cockroach starts as the cynic and Link starts off as the optimist (they swap roles later), and B.O.B. is frankly well out of it.
- Freudian Excuse: Dr. Cockroach hates Halloween because of one of these. He quickly gets into the spirit of things when an old lady gives him a swirly pop.
- Going to Give It More Energy: In Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space, the cast battles living jack o'lanterns that feed on candy. When the pumpkins join together to form a giant monster, they bombard it with candy until it explodes.
- Halloween Special: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space.
- Hurricane of Puns: During the battle against the giant mutated pumpkin.
- In Soviet Russia, Trope Mocks You: Ginormica tries to squash the main pumpkin. When they pull a One-Winged Angel, they try to squash her.
- Married to the Job: Ginormica in the Halloween Special. Her parents are so glad to see her that she doesn't want to ruin it by revealing that she's actually still working, and is not on holiday.
- My Grandma Can Do Better Than You: Variant in the B.O.B.'s Big Break supplemental short on the DVD:
General Monger: You throw like my nine-year-old niece... that I may or may not have.
- Shout-Out : At the beginning of Mutant Pumpkins, the theme tune to John Carpenter's Halloween plays...and turns out to be a cell phone ring tone.
- Telepath: Dr. Cockroach accidentally grants B.O.B. the ability to read minds during a failed escape attempt, which leads to him quickly coming up with a new plan of escape.
- They Fight Crime: This is how the monsters work by the time of the second short, the Halloween Special.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Played for Laughs: B.O.B. in the B.O.B.'s Big Break short hinders as often as he helps the others.
- Unwitting Pawn: Dr. Cockroach tries to manipulate B.O.B. in order to break out of their prison, but B.O.B. turns out to be a Spanner in the Works and it comes back to bite him later.
- What Could Have Been: Susan's "Zombie Cheerleader" costume from the Halloween Special.
- Your Costume Needs Work: Parodied, at the Missing Link's expense, at Halloween.
- Except the clones
- Technically they're fruit
- Assuming Derek is 6 feet tall, she is approx. 8.32 times taller than he is.
- Even better, the movie lampshades the fact by having him swallow Susan's mother, who remarks upon being spit out: "I taste ham." It's a pun, it's a lampshade, it's the ham trope, all in one burst. (It's even in character: B.O.B. had eaten an entire ham in the previous scene, so it makes sense that he'd actually taste like ham.)