Saturday, 21 January 2017

'Monster Trucks' (2017) Review: Must Be 10 Years or Younger To Enjoy.

Catch It On Cable: Kids will love it. Parents will tolerate it. There's worse out there but also so much better. 

My dad once told me how much he suffered as a parent. Being forced to watch every inane piece of material that captured the attention of my easily swayed mind. Put a superhero in it. A robot. Anything with an explosion kept me happy. There's no two ways about it. I liked some stupid stuff as a kid. Sure there was the occasional Pixar movie. A cut above the usual drivel, and a saving grace for my parents who had endured enough fart jokes for a lifetime. 'Monster Trucks' is very much not that saving grace. 

The title ‘Monster Trucks’ doesn’t inspire confidence. As I sat in an empty cinema, that inspiration dwindled further. Still, ‘Monster Trucks’ is one of the only big releases these days not based on something else. So there’s that. It follows the story of Tripp, a small town boy, with big dreams. Those dreams seem within grasp, when an oil drilling gone bad unleashes an unknown subterranean species. A monster he names Creech that has the unique ability to make his truck go really fast.

Not that fast. Actually just mildly faster than your average truck.
‘Monster Trucks’ is every movie where a kid finds a friend in a mythical creature. Something seen recently in the remake of ‘Pete’s Dragon’. Whereas that film was a familiar breath of fresh air, ‘Monster Trucks’ is more or less unremarkable. As unremarkable as a movie of this kind gets. At the very least it moves at a brisk enough pace, which is a Godsend considering its 1 hour and 45 minute run time.


I did enjoy the latter part of ‘Monster Trucks’. That’s when it’s more action and less character. The main character Tripp is at best annoying, and at worst, a bore. So as the movie goes on, and embraces its premise, it becomes exponentially more enjoyable. Delivering on its ridiculous title. There’s a glee to a movie that doesn’t try to be anything more than it is.

The poster child of the unabashedly shameless.
That carefree nature is the movies best quality and its worst feature. Even the world feels thin. There's a clear environmentalist message that's designed to get kids to care about wildlife the way Tripp cares about Creech. That's fine and all but the impact is lost when the big villain is Rob Lowe doing his best Texan oil tycoon impression.

Unfortunately nowhere near as good as his DirectTv personas.

Then there's Tripp. Not only is he bland but it's yet another instance of someone well into adulthood passing off as a high school student. Poorly. Most times this doesn't bother me. I bought Andrew Garfield as a skateboarding ne'r do well. I can suspend the disbelief. The problem is, the very first shot of Tripp is on a school bus, filled with teeny tiny age appropriate high school kids. Tripp looks like a giant in comparison. Then again, being abnormally tall kind of works if he builds a relationship with a monster.


‘Monster Trucks’ feels like it was tailor made for boys under ten everywhere. Boys like monsters. Boys like trucks. At least that’s what the thinking is for a studio executive. With that being said, this definitely feels like a film I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed at that age. So really, there’s two ratings to be given. For a kid, it’s definitely a big screen watch. For the moms and dads paying for the ticket? It’s only worth maybe catching on cable. At least that way you can feel like a kid again, free of cost.

2 comments:

Sheena-kay Graham said...

The worst thing is that someone really thought it was a good idea to spend over 100 mill on this drivel. I would never watch that thing anywhere but on cable or netflix after seeing the trailer. Most reviews say it's a crappy E.T. rip off and the bad accent and way too old acting star are mentioned too. You gave a great honest review and I agree little kids who just want to see monsters and trucks would love this type of movies.

Damian Levy said...

When I see the budget for this film, I shudder to think where it all went. It's far too expensive for what it is.