Director: Chris Wedge
Cast: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Holt McCallany, Barry Pepper, Tucker Albrizzi, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan, Rob Lowe, Frank Whaley, Thomas Lennon
Runtime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: UIP
Official Website: http://www.monstertrucksmovie.com
Opening Day: 12 January 2017
Synopsis: Looking for any way to get away from the life and town he was born into, Tripp (Lucas Till), a high school senior, builds a Monster Truck from bits and pieces of scrapped cars. After an accident at a nearby oil-drilling site displaces a strange and subterranean creature with a taste and a talent for speed, Tripp may have just found the key to getting out of town and a most unlikely friend. Melding cutting edge visual effects and state-of-the-art CGI, Monster Trucks is an action filled adventure for the whole family that will keep you on the edge of your seat and ultimately touch your heart.
Some fun facts about Monster Trucks before we begin the review proper. The movie has long been shot and sitting on the shelf for two long years. Then Paramount who produced it famously takes a US$115 million write-down four months before it’s released. Considering all the bad vibes; is Monster Trucks seriously that bad?
Let’s be fair and square in case you guys get all judgmental over the jovial looking trailer. First of all, this is not a movie tailored for those who can afford to pay for their own ticket. In fact, I'll advise this group to stay far away. It works because a four-year-old son of a studio executive dreams it up, the precise target audience. It’s silly, noisy and best of all; it has both trucks and monsters equivalent to a wet dream of a preadolescent.
Derek Connolly (Jurassic World) and a bunch of other credited writers wrote this story, which takes place in a rural state of America (in actual fact shot in British Columbia). A teenage boy, Tripp (played by the obviously not teenager Lucas Till) joins forces with a bug eyed, tentacles alien creature, Creech, to fight against the local energy company hopefully in time to rescue its parents and protect its fellow friends from being exterminated. In order for the plan to work, Tripp has to rope in his admirer, Meredith (Jane Levy), his mechanic friend, Mr Weathers (Danny Glover), and the son of a car dealer, Tucker (Sam Geldon).
The idea is to have Creech and his parents stay hidden under the truck and at the same time maneuver them. Monster Trucks having real monsters hidden under them. Get the joke? Never mind if you find the concept lame. Then again, this is not the movie for you. This outing is dedicated to the kiddos who find the January and February cinematic selections too award winning and serious for them. Sacrificing character developments and a murky message about protecting the environment, Monster Trucks has enough wildly conceived car chases on rooftops and hills to the addition of gas-guzzling slimy monsters to entertain children under 13 perhaps.
Following the footsteps of Andrew Adamson (The Chronicles of Narnia) and Andrew Stanton (John Carter), Monster Truck marks Chris Wedge’s first foray into live-action. Wedge who created the cash cow, Ice Age, for Blue Sky Studio might fumble with his human actors but he is good with gags involving his CGI lead actor. The fast-paced feature might be a wild ride for younger audiences but sadly misses out on the friendship and bonding between Tripp and Creech, something which How To Train Your Dragon greatly emphasized or even E.T. or Free Willy for that matter.
Roping in 80’s heartthrob Rob Lowe to play a greasy CEO named Reece doesn’t add much mileage to it, unless Wedge is trying to please the moms. Other notable faces include Thomas Lennon (Night at the Museum) playing a conscious prick scientist; Amy Ryan from Gone Baby Gone in a thankless role as Tripp’s mum, Michael Shannon’s look-alike Holt McCallany as Reece’s merciless henchman and Saving Private Ryan’s Barry Pepper as the town’s sheriff.
Visual and special effects are top-notch and you got to admire the fact that it actually features a decent display of practical vehicle stunts. In the end, Monster Trucks is far more enjoyable than another long gestating project, Max Steel. While the former is based on the imagination of a kid, the other is based on a toy line. Imagination simply works better at times.
(You really can’t fault this kiddy friendly monster movie)
Review by Linus Tee