Jan 22, 2011

Monsters: More Navel-Gazing than Monster Flick

The trailer for Monsters promised: “GRIPPING. A sci-fi nightmare similar in plot but more sophisticated, character-driven, and chillingly underplayed than both ‘Cloverfield’ and ‘District 9’." - Village Voice

Hogwashery nonsense by a brain-dead reviewer and talentless storyteller.

Monsters is neither sci-fi nightmare nor sophisticated. It is, however, a 90-minute nightmare to sit through – if you’re not into romance on the road flicks.


The film is really “a low budget romance travelogue with giant squid in the backdrop”. Thus the “character-driven” plot focuses on Andrew’s (Scoot McNairy) and Samantha Wynden’s (Whitney Able) growing attraction – amidst Lonely Planet-ish scenes of beautiful sunsets, trailing rivers, wild jungles and an ancient Incan temple – for each other.

This attraction is expressed by smouldering glances, candlelit vigils, banter over coffee after trekking through jungles for more than 24 hours (won’t they be starving instead?), preachy speeches about America’s ills and destruction of the environment, coupled with Andrew’s pitiful attempts to crawl into Samantha’s pants.

The preceding paragraph describes 90% of the movie, the remaining 10% goes to the monster show: giant squid heads mounted on top a five-fingered torso, like ludicrous versions of great Cthulhu fhtagn.


In keeping with the low budget approach, the filmmaker, Gareth Edwards, tried to up the suspense factor by hiding the giant squid-headed monsters in  great swathes of smoke and night vision goggles as they chuck aside cars like so much dandruff.

That would have been interesting if Edwards had built on that pace and fearful pathos. Instead he backed up for more navel-gazing (sadly Whitney Able’s navel was covered) between the leads. But, like all films, we finally see the monster’s entirety at the end. It was an artery-clogging five minutes where two giant squid heads meet and mate via writhing tentacles above our caffeinated, slack-jawed protagonists. I applaud Edwards at injecting sensitivity into aliens and monster flicks, but a Nat Geo Extra-Terrestrial Mating Special?

That’s just crass, anti-climatic, and insulting; sentiments shared by movie-goers as we clapped and whooped when the cinema doors opened to freedom.

The film’s only saving grace: Whitney Able.


Six years ago, NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples but crashed upon re-entry over Central America.


Soon after, the new life form began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an infected zone. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures".


The story begins when a US photojournalist Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) agrees to escort his wealthy employer's daughter Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able) through the infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails