Over a year ago, I found myself scrolling through upcoming releases and became fascinated by a film called Monster Trucks. Without a plot synopsis, I was incredibly curious how they would pull off a film that is based around the fact that giant trucks leap over cars. Then the plot details were released, then the first trailer debuted, and then I found myself sitting in the theatre wondering why this film was ever made. It may be a harmless film for children between the ages of 4 and 10 to enjoy, but there is no way it's going to win over the parents that bring their kids or even the teenagers who like going to the monster truck events. There is a reason why this film was placed in January and here is why I believe Monster Trucks was doomed from the start.
Digging Up A Story
We've all seen this premise done a million times over, so what makes this interpretation so special? The answer is nothing. Tripp, a high-schooler who wants nothing more than to get away from his boring life, spends his Friday nights working at a junkyard, assembling a truck for himself. After an explosion at an oil facility, a creature escapes, wreaking havoc on the surrounding areas. Eventually finding a home under the hood of Tripp's truck, it becomes the engine he needs to power the truck, as well as an unlikely friend, whom also allows itself to be an icebreaker between Tripp and his friend Meredith. Sound silly? That's because it is. Due to the fact that this film is done with care and tries very hard to impress the younger demographic, it's extremely hard to criticize. Having said that, Monster Trucks really isn't that good of a film.
Generic To Its Core
From loud-mouthed bullies that are solely there to make our main character seem smaller, to generic plot devices like an absent father, to wanting to be his own man and prove he is worthy to the sheriff, there are so many laughable elements to Monster Trucks, and yet it plays out as if it doesn't even realize it clearly has these issues. The fact that every single scene is practically hiding a flaw makes this film look like a joke as a final product. Having said that, most young children will not have a clue that they have seen stories like this before, because it just embraces it. That is why this film is solely for children. I honestly feel that I would have loved this film if I had been a five year old sitting in the theatre. Also, there is one particular scene that bugged me. When the truck drives itself through the town for the first time in classic monster truck fashion, it drives over and crushes about 20 cars at dealership, and not a single person comes after them. Logic was completely out the window on that one.
Another Case Of Trailers Showing Too Much
It should come as no surprise that trailers show far too much when it comes to any big-budget studio film that over-markets itself. Having said that, the trailers for Monster Trucks are some of the worst I have seen in a long time, due to the fact that it hides any slow moments and focusses completely on the action sequences. I think every single action scene was shown almost from beginning to end throughout the trailers, probably because the studio needed to showcase the "monster truck" element as much as they could. The studio themselves came out a couple months ago, stating that they whole-heartedly believed this film would be a failure. Well, if the opening weekend numbers are any indication, then an $11,000,000.00 haul for a film that cost the studio $125,000,000.00 should definitely be a wake-up call.
My Overall Thoughts
In the end, I can't deny that this film tried its very best in making a competent picture, aiming itself at a very young demographic, but since it focussed so heavily on pleasing kids, there is not enough substance for adults to connect with. Sadly, there is more substance in Pixar films, due to the fact that they are children's films, aimed at all ages, helming extremely powerful stories. Monster Trucks squanders any promise it has and even though there is some clear effort put into the making of this film, there is not much to commend in the end. Overall, Monster Trucks boasts a few likeable characters, impressive visuals for what they are, and kids can have a blast with the action scenes and cute creatures, but as a film, it's just not very good. I admired the effort, but it's a flop in many more ways than one.