Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Monster Trucks

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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.

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Cast

Lucas Till – Tripp Coley

Jane Levy – Meredith

Rob Lowe – Reece Tenneson

Amy Ryan – Cindy Coley

Thomas Lennon – Dr. Jim Dowd

Danny Glover – Mr. Weathers

Holt McCallany – Burke

Frank Whaley – Wade Coley

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Trucking Brilliant

Monster Trucks. What an absolutely fantastic little movie. Without a doubt one of the most entertaining, wonderfully imaginative productions of 2016 I have seen.

…HOW?

Christ knows.
This movie is awfully brilliant – and brilliantly awful. One of those movies that bubbles with that classic trait of being so bad it’s good. Except it wasn’t bad at all. So in actual fact, I loved this movie for all it was –  102 minutes of pure escapism from beginning to end. I don’t think I’ve sat down to absorb such a wacky story in quite some time, and like I’ve said in previous reviews – they will make a movie out of absolutely anything nowadays. This one is no exception.

Monster Trucks is perfect for little ones; if you have children under the age of, say, eleven years old I would highly recommend Monster Trucks. It’s bursting with animated substance and contains crucial building blocks of entertainment that keep children engrossed in a movie:

Animation / visuals

The CGI used to portray Creech is actually rather good. Usually the director spends 80% of the budget on visuals which leaves the rest of the movie to go to shit (a-hem, San Andreas), but with Monster Trucks the visuals are on a par with the cast and setting.
Creech is adorable and highly entertaining to watch. Slithery tentacles flap all over the place and he shimmers with sparkly turquoise colour. Kids who love colours will enjoy the monster himself – and the others who make an appearance. They make decent sloppy fun.

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When the trucks Tripp rounds up get going, expect mountain-jumping carnage. It’s a parrallel world grand prix as he, Meredith and Dr. Dowd each steer a truck – and let the monsters lead the way.
The trucks fly over hilltops, climb street walls and even scale mountains. It makes for such bouncy fun and the graphics don’t look too bad at all – and if they are shabby, the action certainly acts as a distraction from this.
Tripp himself spends much of the movie up in the air, hair flapping wildly with his mouth hanging open yelling, “WHOAAA!!” – it’s that exuberant type of energy which fills the screen throughout.

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Easy-to-follow story

Monster Trucks consists of probably one of the most simple concepts I have ever seen in a movie.
Boy visits a scrap yard.
Boy discovers strange alien-like being.
Bad guys are after the being.
Boy protects the being, uses it to have some fun at the same time.
Cue a load of rambunctious fun and crazy antics.
Movie ends.

And for once, the female romantic interest doesn’t pussy-whip the male protagonist! When Meredith makes her first main appearance Tripp remains very uninterested in her efforts to woo him, and more interested in his bizarre discovery. Despite her “how about you drive me home, it’s too dark to walk alone?” style pandering, he just doesn’t give a shit. Good lad.

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And as the story progresses, the pair do become closer, but the main focus is on Tripp and his desperate mission to save the newfound creatures. I liked this; not everyone has to fall in love and form a partnership in a movie – it’s just not neccessary, and can be so boring. Not that I’m sour towards a happy couple of course – it’s just nice to actually tell a story without having to watch one character suddenly fall in love with the other due to them taking part in activities in close proximity.

Again, this movie is perfect for younger viewers as the plot isn’t overly in-depth and extremely easy to absorb.

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Open scenery / set

This movie utilises some very pretty areas of Chilliwack in Canada, Vancouver and British Columbia.
Gargantuan stretches of juicy green fields topped with mountains make the setting seem quite vast, especially when the monster trucks themselves are manoeuvring between the rock faces. And when the bad guys show up to chase Tripp, all the character’s trucks and cars speed through the open plains like a scene from Twister (1997).
It’s quite refreshing to have such scenic surroundings, rather than many other movies where the car chase takes place in the middle of industrial cities with concrete skyscraper surroundings. Not bad at all.

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Engaging actors

Lucas Till who plays Tripp brings the story to life nicely. He maintains a consistently passionate performance throughout, and is the perfect boyish lead a movie like this needs. Laddish mannerisms and being rather easy on the eye help too, he’s the total hero of this movie (and not just the hero of my pants, god love him).

Jane Levy as Meredith is surprisingly good. When she made her first appearance I prepared for uber cheesy, cringeworthy acting. But in total reverse Levy delivers the goods nicely. Usually in a movie with a story like this which involves actors I’ve not seen before, the female is way over the top and uses almost pantomime-style acting. Melodramatic to the extreme. But here, she plays it down rather than up which is great.
Levy and Till make a good on-screen partnership.

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Good pace

Monster Trucks is similar to one of those hour-long kids features you get on Nickelodeon or another youth channel. It wastes no time in kicking off its high-speed action, it flows at a good pace too. Slows down somewhere near the beginning when Tripp discovers his squishy new friend, but otherwise – great pace. Another element younger viewers need to keep their attention.

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What Went Wrong

Alright, let’s be 100% honest: what an absolutely fucking awful idea for a movie. Unknown beasts whose founders refer to as ‘monsters’ – yet clearly appear to be a form of amphibian – being stuffed into small vehicles and let run wild, therefore giving the impression that those vehicles contain some sort of high-tech super power..

Shocking.

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From a cinematic point of view, there really is nothing to the story at all. Never have I sat down to watch a movie with such a lack of concept. And from a 34-year-old film critic’s point of view Monster Trucks is an unnecessary waste of Hollywood budget.
Yes, they can produce a movie out of anything nowadays and this goes to prove it. Its entire premise is like something a 6-year-old dreamt up and wrote a silly story about for school which won him or her a prize in class. It makes for utterly ridiculous stuff, almost beyond description.

I urge any serious moviegoer who appreciates the effort, structure and artistic production of respectable film to avoid Monster Trucks at all cost. To them, it’s probably going to be one of the worst things they have ever seen.

But – for ME

I swear to god, Monster Trucks is one of my new guilty pleasures.
It is my duty as a film critic to warn people of total shit, hence the comments in What Went Wrong above. But we all have different taste, mixed views. And Monster Trucks absolutely proves this.
I thought it was just superb in every aspect, from beginning to end. One of those movies that is so bad it’s good – except it’s good. I don’t really get how I enjoyed something like this, but I think that’s part of the movie magic.
Monster Trucks is so becoming part of my DVD library when it’s released. It would make the perfect trashy watch on a hangover or something.

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Monster Trucks is missing a few snappy, comical moments which could have made it so much better. The scene where Tripp steals a guy’s car from outside his own house. As they both sit watching TV, the guy’s girlfriend notices what is happening – he doesn’t. And being so disgruntled with her other half, she basically allows Tripp to continue doing what he’s doing.
She approaches their living room window.. and gives Tripp a soppy wave.

Just awful.
The camera should have panned in on her smirking face as she looked out the corner of her eye, or something to that effect. It was a terrible moment which could have been very funny.

With action distraction from the far-fetched plot in the form of speeding vehicles and the radiant buzz of deeply colourful and rich visuals, Monster Trucks is 102 minutes of constant entertainment for children. Not so much for adults – or maybe a select few. If you sat the husband down in front of this he might file for divorce by the time the end credits roll. This makes the perfect hangover film; when you’re laying on the sofa in your favourite hoodie, regretting jumping that hot guy in the bar last night but wondering why he hasn’t text you yet.. Monster Trucks should be on the TV in front of you.

Just superb.

 

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This entry was posted on February 25, 2017 by .
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