Friday, 30 December 2016

Review: Monster Trucks





Monster Trucks
Cert: PG / 105 mins / Dir. Chris Wedge / Trailer



Stuck in that weird hinterland between wholly animated kids' comedy and more message-driven Young Adult™ cinematic fare is Nickelodeon's new live-action adventure/comedy, Monster Trucks. Aimed squarely at the younger end of the audience, we're almost back in Rydell High territory as the two 'senior year' leads are played by the 26yr old Lucas Till and 27yr old Jane Levy. And okay, they look young; but not that young.

Surrounded by a pantomime ensemble of sketched in archetypes and vague environmental themes, the film comprises an overly-simplistic screenplay, one-dimensional characters, sloppy slapstick plugging the gaps where scripted humour should be, an adult-cast who look faintly embarrassed to be there and Deus Ex Machina playing such a large part that it should get a mention on the poster. Monster Trucks can't quite work out whether it wants to be E.T. or Pete's Dragon, ends up aiming for both and achieving neither. And during the scene in Brett-out-of-Pulp-Fiction's trailer home, the repeated continuity gaffe around the placement of that scotch bottle was driving me up the wall. Fairly sure I'm not supposed to notice things like that the first time I watch a movie…

But for all that, the stunt/chase sequences entertain and the creature effects are absolutely outstanding*1. And that's what the film is for, after all…



So, watch this if you enjoyed?
It's a sort of half-way house between Pete's Dragon and Transformers.


Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
Only if you like 'em big and loud.


Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
With a paucity of ambition such as this, it probably does.


Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Cast, no. Director, no.


Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
I shouldn't think so, no.


Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is.
It's fairly artlessly inserted, but fair play to the sound editor for being like "Nope, it's going in there"
.


Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: This film's got that Lucas Till in it, and he was in that X-Men: Apocalypse along with Rose 'Dormé' Byrne and Oscar 'Dameron' Isaac.


And if I HAD to put a number on it…


*1 Weirdly, the practical stunts with the trucks look awesome, the CGI for the monsters is great, and then there are shots with CGI'd trucks that look like they've been put together by the intern. It doesn't spoil the film but it breaks what little flow there is.

DISCLAIMERS:
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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