‘Monster Trucks’ is a clunky non-starter
MONSTER TRUCKS tonight film
HEY, how about monster trucks with … wait for it … real monsters in them? Cool, right? That’s essentially the gist of the pitch in search of an actual plot that is Monster Trucks.
What we ultimately get is a tone-deaf jumble of live action and computer-generated animation that never engagingly clicks into gear.
Directed by Chris Wedge, who launched the wildly successful Ice Age franchise in 2002, this high-concept, low-octane lemon will more than likely struggle to find an appreciative juvenile audience when it pulls into the traditional January movie junkyard on Friday the 13th.
Screenwriter Derek Connolly (Jurassic World) was obviously aiming for a throwback 1980s Steven Spielberg/ Joe Dante vibe with this story about a teen (Lucas Till) whose small-town life receives a shot of adrenalin with the arrival of a gas-guzzling creature from the Earth’s underbelly who was displaced by an oil company’s drilling operation.
Living with his mom (Amy Ryan) and her sheriff boyfriend (Barry Pepper), Tripp escapes from his problems at Danny Glover’s character’s junkyard, where he scavenges for parts for the pick-up truck he’s been trying to get up and running.
He ends up attaining maximum speed with the slimy giant sea-lion-type creature he’s named Creech, who is fond of hiding under his truck’s hood and wrapping his tentacles around the axles – which is helpful for outrunning the oil firm’s evil boss (Rob Lowe), who is intent on achieving containment at any cost.
There’s some sort of renewable resources lesson buried in here somewhere but, like everything else in the story, the film-makers never commit to an overriding theme or mood long enough to make a connection with the viewer.
Even Creech – behaviourally more of a greasy Gremlin than a subterranean E.T. – fails to manifest the requisite rapport with Tripp to justify the necessary audience identification.
While Wedge’s animation background comes in handy during some inventive chase sequences (shot in rural British Columbia), Monster Trucks is otherwise a clunky non-starter. –
The Hollywood Reporter
DIRECTOR: Chris Wedge CAST: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Rob Lowe, Danny Glover, Amy Ryan, Thomas Lennon, Holt McCallany CLASSIFICATION: 7 - 9 PG V RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes RATING: ★✩✩✩✩
The life of Tripp (Lucas Till) changes dramatically when a gas-guzzling creature from the Earth’s underbelly arrives in his small town – and crawls under the hood of his pick-up truck.