By Jack Dignan
And so begins the downfall the human race… Monster Trucks, the $120 million flop from Paramount Pictures, is not a great way to kick off 2017. Granted, this is not the absolute worst film imaginable, but kids movies shouldn’t have to be this bad. Kids shouldn’t have to be put through such tortures, especially with other films such as Moana, Trolls and even Sing still playing in most cinemas. How this film got green lit, let alone made, especially with a budget of this magnitude, is incredible. I guess it just goes to show that… Actually, I don’t really know what this goes to show. I don’t really know anything anymore. This film has had a lot of negative effects on my soul and it’s starting to show.
Monster Trucks follows the story of Tripp (Lucas Til), a supposed teenager who isn’t actually mentioned to be any particular age, yet looks to be at least 30. This, of course, leads me to believe he’s been held back at school, presumably due to lack of intelligence. But disregarding all that, he’s still the protagonist, and one day, Tripp comes across a prehistoric, ugly as fuck water monster he names Creech. And as fate goes, the two become the best of friends, because plot. Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, big baddies (like three of them) are also coming after Creech for selfish, money-centered reasons. Tripp and Creech, with the help of awkward 27-year-old teenager turned love interest Meredith (Jane Levy), must harness the power of old trucks to race their way to freedom and fight for survival.
Fuck this movie. Fuck it. It’s idiotic nature is bewilderingly terrible and hilariously corny. It ranges from being a little too self-serious to way too goofy with no in-between. The results are not pretty, I will tell you that, and often lead to either confused, nauseated staring at the cinema screen or gut bursting laughter. When Danny Glover, who unfortunately appears to have been blackmailed and/or threatened into appearing in this movie, started driving a car despite being unable to use his legs, that’s when I knew exactly what I was in for. That’s when this film really started to show its true colours, and man was it bad.
Let’s just talk about the monster itself for a second here. That has to be the single most disgusting, terrifying and unlikeable blob of existence ever put to film. It makes the Rancor from Return of the Jedi look like Margot Robbie. When Tripp first discovers Creech, or more appropriately when Creech first tries to perform some sort of PG variation of Hentai on Tripp, he’s disgusted, as he should be. He tries to kill it, but moments before Creech can be squashed to death, something I actually would’ve liked to have seen, Tripp saves him. He falls in love, a wonderful friendship beginning to blossom. Kill me now.
Oh, and have I mentioned the writing yet? Because holy fuck. Holy fucking fuck. Is this really the guy we want co-writing Star Wars Episode IX? Let’s hope to god that Rian Johnson’s story treatment, as well as Colin Trevorrow’s assistance helps to make that film good, because if it’s anything remotely like Monster Trucks I will honest to god cry. When “do you watch Nat Geo too?” is your best line, you know something’s wrong with your movie. The plot easily could’ve been taken in so many different directions that it could’ve potentially worked, but instead we’re given whatever the hell this rubbish was. I mean, at least it moves at a decent pace though, if that counts for anything. However, the fact that it’s put Paramount further into debt is not surprising at all. Nobody saw this movie. Nobody should see this movie. Nobody even needs to know this movie exists. It’s going to weaken the minds of every single child who goes and watches it, and that’s not something we want to happen.
For a kid’s movie, there sure is a lot of murdering. I’m not talking about ‘ha ha this guy fell down somewhere’ being played for laughs, I’m talking straight up throwing a guy into a tub of poison and watching as it bursts all over his body while he screams in intense agony before dying off-screen. Not even Quentin Tarantino managed to go that dark when it came to his latest film, The Hateful Eight. Plus, that’s not even the only death. Everyone is trying to murder everyone, never any regard for human life. Even during one of the chase sequences through the city, cars are being hit, flipped and knocked off the road, and it’s laughed off. Are we just going to ignore that they put countless people in the hospital with potentially life altering, if not life ending injuries?
The worst part about this film is also the best part about this film. The budget. It’s so unbelievably high that the film flopped even harder than it should have, but they also managed to create decent visual effects. The super fucking ugly monster that looks like an asshole with teeth? Yeah, it’s a realistic super fucking ugly monster that looks like an asshole with teeth. It certainly seemed that the budget was mostly put into the monster design, as the green screen throughout was very noticeable, especially during the film’s climax. One can also presume that a lot of it was put into the actor’s budget, because there’s no way they would’ve signed up to do this film if they either weren’t paid a shit ton or they had some sort of life debt to Paramount.
To sum up, Monster Trucks is one truly awful movie. It’s mildly entertaining in that it’s so bad it’s hilarious, and the visual effects are shockingly okay, but the writing, acting and overall plot is the work of the devil. I’m not really religious, but may God help us all…
1 1/2 Stars
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