Monster Trucks is a fluffy kid movie made for those who believe trucks should have less horse power and more MONSTER power.
Mitch and I were invited to a free screening of Monster Trucks last Saturday. We were asked not to post our review until opening day…so here it is!
The first thing you should know is Monster Trucks is a live-action PG film, a format that Hollywood seems to forget. The second thing you should know is THIS MOVIE IS FOR KIDS. Parents, just watch, don’t think. Don’t wonder how a teenager can customize a pickup into a Hot Wheels worthy monster truck overnight with the scraps he found in an old barn. Don’t ask who’s going to pay for all that damage when a monster truck breaks loose. And for goodness sake, don’t wonder why Hollywood keeps using people over 25 to play high schoolers.
So, take your brain offline for a moment and let your kid watch a movie that’s actually pretty fun, doesn’t have cursing, blood shed or a single bit of naughty double entendre. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is some violence. We have bad guys with a fondness for threats, tasers and tranquilizer guns who will do anything, including run over the local sheriff, in their quests to keep the monster a secret. And you can’t have a monster truck movie without crushed a few cars, and there’s plenty of that.
A Review of Monster Trucks
I was going to have Mitch write this review since he’s 9 and more the target audience than I am.
Yep, that’s all he thought was necessary.
One of the best parts of this movie is that it’s original. Oh, it borrows heavily from ET, Herbie and maybe The Black Stallion, but this film was based on an idea from the producer’s 4-year-old son, not a comic book or kid lit novel.
I don’t want to spoil the movie for you, but what the trailer (and the early reviews obviously based on nothing BUT the trailer) doesn’t show is that our lovable monster Creech ends up wearing a truck like a hermit crab wears a shell. He’s not a Transformer or an alien. He’s a very clever air-breathing octopus-like creature. An accident at an oil drilling site blows the “monster” out of his home in an underground lake. Creech escapes the accident and finds himself in a junk yard where our human hero–Tripp–is building a truck from salvaged scraps.
The truck lacks an engine, so when Creech hides in the engine compartment…yeah. Monster + Truck.
Getting the monster in the truck is actually pretty clever. Creech, being a water based mammal, has a hard time getting around on land. Tripp figures out that Creech can be mobile if he has wheels. Rather than build the critter a wheel chair, he ends up customizing his precious truck to fit around Creech and then guides him like a rider on a horse. But with a steering wheel.
Should you see it?
I’m going to be honest, this movie isn’t going to show up at the Oscars. The plot is a little thin and the bad guys are very cardboard. But the dialogue and acting is good, the CGI monster is top-notch and it’s refreshing to watch a live-action film for kids without fart jokes and attitude.
The mom in this film has maybe half a scene, and poor Tripp has a real loser of a dad. But Monster Trucks pulls a surprise with Tripp’s step dad who is revealed to NOT be a jerk and pulls off some welcome heroics towards the end. I won’t spoil it, but his big move had Mitch cheering from his seat.
The movie lacks a little in girl power, but the female lead is a respectable young lady with a big brain, a barn full of tools and willingness to help Creech at all costs. She’s definitely the sidekick, which is better than being arm candy any day.
Junior gear heads will enjoy Monster Trucks the most, but any kid who likes making Hot Wheels jump impossible obstacles and friendly monsters will enjoy this film.