Always trust your instincts. I cannot stress this enough. This is especially true when it comes to movies – we are issued warning signs through trailers and ads we see on television. Well, being that it’s January, a month usually reserved for lost and unsellable films, it’s well known by movie fans as a time to stay home or focus on the Academy Award hopefuls. Nothing illustrates this point more than the new family action film, Monster Trucks, a film caught in limbo for three years and just by looking at a single frame in the commercials for it, you know it looks like a mangy dog of a film. Again, trust your instincts.
The movie is about Tripp, a high schooler played by the new MacGyver, Lucas Till. Working at a junk yard and pining for his own truck, he also has certain cliched forms of daddy issues, as he is estranged from his own and is at odds with his mom’s new beau, who happens to be the local town sheriff. The town he lives in has been basically bought out by an evil oil company called Terravex but after a massive explosion at one of their wells, three undiscovered creatures emerge from a hidden water reservoir. One of these beasts makes it’s way to Tripp’s shop and the two hit it off. It becomes more convenient for Tripp when the monster, named Creech, decides to house himself in the chassis of his defunct truck, powering it. Tripp must then protect his new friend from the shadowy security detail of Terravex looking to cover up what they unleashed.
That synopsis sounds far more interesting than the actual film is, which acts as more of a telltale sign that cocaine use and LSD is still very much a part of the writer’s room in Hollywood. For the kids, yes, this movie may fill in an hour and forty-five minutes of their lives but any thinking adult will see all the major problems with this film. Massive plot holes, uninspired motivations and cliche after cliche bog down this movie to the point that we really don’t care how adorable co-star Jane Levy is anymore, we just want it to end. It’s unclear what the motivation was beyond the pitch line of “well, we have these tentacled creatures that drink oil and power trucks.” Really? That doesn’t even work on paper.
The delay of three years for this film should have been the easiest beacon of a floundering movie. Paramount plunks this film into the second week of 2017, one that was occupied by the “why is this theatrical” animated film Norm Of The North last year. Technically, this film is completely lacking too. Creech looks good for the most part but the interactions are clunky, with hands hovering above what we can see, clearly not touching anything and the sound through the opening act is shoddy at best. If this film was in the can for so long, why was everything so choppy and unfinished looking? I feel bad because this was a British Columbian made production utilizing a great crew but there’s no way around it, Monster Trucks has four flat tires. 1/5