By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
Monster Trucks is a Child’s Movie That Fails to Crossover as a Family Movie
Children’s movies usually are either a narrative entirely targeted at children audiences, but some films create entertainment for the whole family that contains mature themes for the adults. Monster Trucks is a movie that fails to crossover to that family audience. Monster Trucks tells the story of a young boy named Tripp who is dealing with a lot of household issues. While addressing these matters he is working at a junkyard for vehicles, and after an explosion at a nearby oil rig, some creatures invade the small town that surrounds this young man. This struggle causes him to help these creatures get back home by letting these squid-like organisms drive their trucks.
Monster Trucks is a pointless children’s film that anyone under five years old will enjoy, but your entire family will find themselves interested and focused on their cell phones. I am a firm believer in the fact that good children movies are also great family films. They offer mature themes that are embodied by adorable and child-like characters to create a relatable, fun, and a sophisticated film. Monster Trucks is not one of these films, because of its lack of maturity as well as its uninspired style of filmmaking.
Monster Trucks is a movie that focuses on the creatures themselves, and these monsters coming across as cute, adorable, or delightful. This narrative focus is because of the audience this film is trying to reach. Before I begin focusing on the movie’s negative aspects, let me say this is not a terrible movie overall there are some exciting moments. The visual effects for the creatures blend together so well, and the color design surrounding it makes these animals mix seamlessly into the movie’s environment. There are also some fun action scenes in the film. While the scenes do fail to create a sense of urgency, they’re still very fun thanks to the dialogue given and the direction presented. Where the flaws become exposed is when this film continues to progress, and its lack of fluidity and tonal focus. The conflict at hand is the struggle between an oil company that pays for everything in the town and a young man who is trying to do the right thing while having some fun at the same time.
Instead of following this narrative, the film dilutes and focuses on a love narrative, family story, and then a coming to age tale. This screenplay tramples the movie’s chances at becoming a crossover feature film because as an adult it’s hard to follow without feeling disoriented or puzzled. As far as filmmaking goes the movie’s script is obviously a problem, it is constantly trying to do much while at the same time conflicting with its main themes. The direction is lazy and fails to create a sense of urgency for when the film decides to pick up speed, but that is not entirely to blame on the direction rather it’s to blame on the screenplay, specifically the character developments.
We as an audience gain no relation to these characters due to their bland, uninteresting, and uncharismatic portrayals as well as their stale characterizations. Lucas Till is very dull in this film, he tries to bring this script to life with humor and charm, but he’s only able to flush out certain moments and not the entirety of the film. Jane Levy also gives a dull performance trying to make a nerdy but relatable character come to life. She instead creates a character that is conflicting with herself the entire film. There is little comic relief in this movie unless you are a small child.
The rumor mill has stated this film was originally a child’s idea, and I agree because the only people entertained in the film are children. So, if you as a parent are looking for a movie to distract your children for a runtime of 105 minutes, this is a film to see. Overall, Monster Trucks is a narrative that primarily focuses on its adorable visuals of the creatures to create fun scenes, but it deteriorates due to its shortcomings of direction, performances, fluid screenplay, and a flop of a family movie.