Cinematic Releases: Monster Trucks (2017) - Reviewed

The new Paramount/Nickelodeon Studios film Monster Trucks has gained a bit of infamy as of late. Delayed for nearly two years, it is now widely believed that the film is solely responsible for a significant financial loss suffered by Paramount late last year. Indeed, the bizarre premise is a bit of a tough sell to anyone outside the intended pre-teen age group, and baffling early trailers have left audiences wondering what they just saw. This has made the film a bit of a curiosity among movie fans. What is Paramount trying to hide? Is Monster Trucks really that bad? This weekend, audiences will finally get to see for themselves.

The premise of Monster Trucks, the live-action directorial debut of Ice Age’s Chris Wedge, is indeed a bit strange, though not completely off the wall. Monsters living in underground water tunnels are displaced by oil drillers, and one is befriended by a local teen (Lucas Till, X-Men: First Class) who discovers the monster has a way with machines (for instance, his fixer-upper old truck shell). Once he catches wind of the oil company’s nefarious plot, it’s up to him and his predictably attractive potential love interest (Don’t Breathe’s Jane Levy, very reminiscent of a young Amy Adams here) to help their monster, who they’ve named Creech, and save his home. It’s fairly basic stuff as kids’ movies about monsters or aliens go.

That being said, this movie is ridiculous. Like, REALLY ridiculous, even for a movie with this premise. For a movie like this it’s not unusual to expect some suspension of disbelief. Monster Trucks will put your suspension abilities to the test. Once one gets past the fact that the beautiful mountain scenery betrays the supposed North Dakota setting (as the state has no mountains), there’s still a lot going on here. During the film’s climactic moments dozens of state and federal crimes are committed seemingly per minute of screen time, likely millions of dollars of damage is done to private property, and several people should probably be dead due to damage sustained in numerous unusual accidents. You do expect this sort of thing in movies like this, but here it all seems a bit much.

This picture deserves a best caption contest

All this said, is Monster Trucks a “bad” movie? No, not really. It wildly balances between being formulaic and predictable and going entirely off the rails, but it’s mildly entertaining for what it is. The screening this reviewer attended was full of kids (who Paramount is certainly not hiding this from, judging how many commercials air on any given hour of Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network programming), who seemed to be having a lot of fun with it. There is better family entertainment out there. But there is also a lot worse. And somewhere in the middle is the out of its mind, but mostly harmless, Monster Trucks.

Share this monsterlicious review!

-Mike Stec