Monster Trucks finally hit cinemas last week and, despite the recent release, the film's performance is no doubt being watched by critics worldwide. Almost becoming an urban legend, Monster Trucks was pushed back several times before it's release and is allegedly the film responsible for Paramount studios taking a $115 million write-down last year. Rumor has it that the film was supposed to have a general audience appeal but Paramount decided to market it as a children's movie. This is shocking considering the film's massive budget of $125 million.
However, in spite of this reputation, Monster Trucks manages to survive the rocky road and the film really does deliver on all fronts. CGI Action films aren't as prominent as they once were — a type of film associated with the early 2000s — but watching this highly entertaining flick was like taking a trip back in time to when movies were easy to follow yet incredibly enjoyable.
The film follows Tripp Coley, who resents being stuck his small town and builds a monster truck from pieces of old cars. After a nearby oil accident, Tripp stumbles onto a strange creature in his junkyard and the two of them embark on a journey to take the creature back to his home.
CGI animation films are often associated with Disney and several of these Disney films are churned out each year but Monster Trucks is everything that its predecessors were not — it's well written, it's emotional, it's funny and it doesn't conform to the genre barriers expected from those films. Simply put, it's more than just an action film. Also, it's pretty clear that Paramount spent a lot of money on this movie because the CGI is terrific — not once did I question the authenticity of the scene.
All of this makes me wonder what led to Paramount's decision to market this film exclusively towards younger audiences. This will no doubt hurt its box office performance but nonetheless Monster Trucks is worth you taking a trip to the cinema to form your own opinion.
Despite Popular Opinion, 'Monster Trucks' Is Not A Kids Movie
When going to the cinema to see Monster Trucks, I felt as if I would be a little out of place — judging from the promotion, Monster Trucks is a kids film. However, it wasn't long before I realized that I wasn't out of place at all — the film is a lot more intelligent than the market campaign had viewers believe. Again, the script is smart, rather emotional and full of characters that are more than two dimensional. The decision to market Monster Trucks as a children's film is a little odd, especially when it could be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their age.
The lead character, Tripp, has his own struggles and that's evident from the beginning but it's not something that a child would necessarily pick up on. I would even argue that some scenes were a little unsuitable and perhaps unsettling for a younger audience, specifically when the creature — aptly nicknamed Creech — first appears.
There are also moments of terror throughout the film which, again isn't something I was expecting to see in a film marketed at children. I'm not complaining, I thought all of this stuff added to the plot, it's just not something I expected to see in a so-called kids film. If you enjoy losing yourself in action packed entertainment then you will love this film, no matter what age you are.
A Strong Script Full Of Character Growth
One thing that struck me about Monster Trucks is the amount of character growth in the script. Again, this is something not often seen in a children's film, highlighting how Monster Trucks was never intended to be that. Tripp starts the film in a dark place and meeting Creech changes him — it allows him to go on a journey and he essentially becomes a different person. Credit to Derek Connolly, who wrote the script, as it's really effectively done. Furthermore, it's not just Tripp that goes on a journey, a number of the supporting characters evolve — they start in one place and end in another. It's an incredibly intelligent film.
Tripp's relationship with Creech is also a huge part of the film and I did find myself getting a little emotional when these two shared the screen but that's between us. You'll leave the cinema wishing you had a Creetch. It's a rather heartwarming story that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Lucas Till Gives A Great Performance As The Lead Character
If you still aren't sold on Monster Trucks then go and see it simply because Lucas Till delivers a really great performance. Not only is Till incredibly easy on the eye he's a tremendous actor, something that I've come to realize watching him week on week on CBS' rebooted MacGyver. I've seen Till pop up in various things over the years from the X-Men franchise to a random episode of Medium but he really captured my attention when he was cast in MacGyver.
Monster Trucks allows Till to highlight his ability as a leading man on the big screen and even though Tripp may not be as complex as say Angus MacGyver, Till brings a sincerity to the role that really makes him stand out. Moreover, as the script danced outside the confines of your typical action film, the Tripp character was more than two dimensional and this really allowed Till to shine in his performance.
It's a real shame that Paramount didn't have more faith in Monster Trucks because the film itself is actually really good. If it perhaps had better promotion and had been appropriately targeted at a general audience instead of kids, this film could've done exceptionally well at the box office. If you're in need of two hours entertainment then go see Monster Trucks — take your whole family, they'll love it.
It may not be what one would call Oscar worthy, but Monster Trucks has all the makings of a great film — originality, a good script and a great performance from Till. As I left the cinema I found myself looking forward to watching Monster Trucks again because, for me, this movie is an instant pre-order.
Monster Trucks is in cinemas nationwide now. Are you going to take a trip to the cinema for Monster Trucks? Tell me in the comment section below.