“Monsters” Movie review

10/01/2010 Posted by Admin

“Monsters”

Movie review

Written and directed by Gareth Edwards, starring Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able, 94 minutes, rated R.

By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree


Gareth Edwards’ debut feature film, “Monsters,” does the nearly impossible job of finding humanity in a world seemingly void of such a thing -- a world that should feel so distant from our own reality, yet seems to mirror it with frightening accuracy.

The backdrop of “Monsters,” ironically enough, are the monsters -- creatures who have developed over six years after a NASA probe sent to collect alien life form samples crashed over Mexico.

The creatures, squidlike land- and water-dwellers that stand about 100 meters tall, primarily belong in the film’s background, revealed mostly through television and in tales from the locals. The story of “Monsters” belongs to Andrew Kaulder (Scoot McNairy), a photojournalist looking to capture tragedy with his camera, and his boss’s daughter, Samantha Wynden (Whitney Able).

Andrew’s off-screen employer forces the two together, coercing the photographer into a promise of getting his daughter to the U.S. border safely. The two, at first reluctant to be paired, slowly open up, dropping their guard and putting their personal lives on display for one another. Andrew and Samantha find true companionship under the most unlikely circumstances, and the movie is at its best when we get lost in their interactions, much of which were improvised. McNairy and Able have an undeniable chemistry -- although you would hope so, considering they are husband and wife in real life.

After a careless night of drinking, Andrew is robbed of his and Samantha’s passports, and trekking through the infected zone becomes the couple’s only option into the United States.

As it strives for authenticity amid a surreal setup, “Monsters” joins the ranks of what could be defined as a new wave of organic sci-fi or monster films, alongside “28 Days Later,” “Cloverfield” and “District 9.” But that’s not to say that “Monsters” doesn’t stand on its own two feet (or more like a dozen tentacles). It does.

By keeping its two main characters in the forefront and keeping the monsters as an ever-present threat looming throughout the scenery -- in signs, graffiti murals, maps and on the news -- “Monsters” subtly generates a post-apocalyptic uncertainty. The film’s panoramic Mexican landscape is turned into a potential powder keg as U.S. military aircraft zip in and out of nearly every frame, on their way to merely irritate the problem, not to solve it. But the film wisely refrains from showing any military action. It’s pertinent to the world Andrew and Samantha live in, but not to their story.

There are undercurrents of political and social commentaries within “Monsters,” placing the U.S.-Mexican border as the driving force behind the film’s past and present events. There also is discussion of the unstoppable force known as nature, and a title that is open to endless interpretation. But at its heart, “Monsters” is simply about two people stumbling upon each other and trying to make it through a crazy, crazy world. That is something anyone can relate to.

Grade: A-

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2 comments:

  1. Scuzzy said...

    You must have watched a different movie.
    Quote:
    “Monsters” joins the ranks of what could be defined as a new wave of organic sci-fi or monster films, alongside “28 Days Later,” “Cloverfield” and “District 9.” But that’s not to say that “Monsters” doesn’t stand on its own two feet (or more like a dozen tentacles). It does. END Quote

    This...is complete CRAP. You see, the movies you've listed had something to do with the subject at hand. Monsters does not. Monsters is a CRAPPY non-relationship movie with tree fungus with LEDs inside and some of the worst CGI tentacles ever to grace the screen. The Alien thing was tacked on to bait and switch viewers into having their hard earned movie dollar STOLEN.

    It does have some beautiful cinematic shots...but thats a problem too. 100 foot tall aliens have infested the countryside. Yet NONE are visible anywhere.
    The aliens have devastated entire cities. Yet, in the final scene, with one of the few scenes NOT in the trailer, the aliens don't even disturb one can on the shelves at the store. Not only that, they seem remarkably docile and are more interested in television than people. When the woman unplugs the TV, the alien goes away. I half expected it to close the window on its way out. We're lead to believe these are raging behemoths.
    So, we're left with a relationship. One of the crappiest relationships on film in my opinion. How crappy you ask? THIS crappy. She's engaged. He's a womanizing drunk. He KNOWS she's engaged and does his best/worst to get her into bed. She rejects him and he goes to find some bar fly to have sex with. Boy, he sure sounds like a REAL catch. Just means he'll cheat on her the first chance he gets.
    Lets not forget the woman either. Again, she's engaged. She's having second thoughts. She turns down our leading man then gets neurotically jealous when she discovers his bar fly one night stand. WHY? She's only known him TWO days. Just means she'll freak out at anything he does if they do develop a relationship and will probably run off with ANYONE who comes along should our leading man and lady decide to get hitched in the future. In other words FAILURE from the start. So WHY care about their relationship in the first place?

    Quote:
    “Monsters” is simply about two people stumbling upon each other and trying to make it through a crazy, crazy world. That is something anyone can relate to.
    End Quote

    No, I most definately cannot relate. Early in the film we're told that the military is using chemical agents. Everyone, including the kids have gas masks. Freakishly, our main characters never consider ANY of this until they are going into the alien infested, chemical agent laden countryside.
    They throw 5k into the toilet. Question, since I'm an INTELLIGENT person, wouldn't going south to Brazil and catching a plane be safer AND less expensive? Even if it isn't less expensive the safety issue HAS to be better. Our main characters never even raise this issue. Nor do they go to the EMBASSY when the passport comes up stolen. No, I cannot relate.
    I also cannot relate to the man NOT going completely nuts on the woman when she says "I don't want to go home." at the end of the film. She NEEDLESSLY endangered his life. She's a total nutcase.

    So all in all this movie is complete crap. The title says MONSTERS..and never delivers ANY. Just some Octopi with lights that sing whale songs. Terrifying is the last word I'd have picked.
    It doesn't deliver on anything it promises. AT ALL.

    Its a bait and switch movie who's sole purpose is to STEAL your money and piss you off.

    Loop the trailer for 2 hours, you'll get the same effect AND keep your money.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article