By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Four Beers) –
Teenager Tripp Coley (Lucas Till) lives in a small town in North Dakota that has boomed since an oil company moved in. One day while drilling, the oil company hits an underwater lake and accidentally discovers a new animal species, three specimens in total, one of whom escapes. The escaped creature winds up in the junkyard where Tripp works, and starts eating anything with fresh oil. Tripp soon discovers the creature (he creatively names “Creech”) doesn’t get around so well on just his tentacles, so he takes the engine out of his car and puts Creech in there, which means he now has a real “Monster Truck”… get it?…
The filmmakers were certainly aware this premise was dumb, because they give “Creech” as much screentime as possible, confident to slide-by on cuteness factor. To explain for those who haven’t seen the trailers or the movie itself; picture “Creech” as a gas-powered Cthulhu monster. I’m convinced that his darling appearance and sense of humor must be propaganda created by a Lovecraftian cult of some kind to brainwash the masses into embracing his awakening from R’lyeh.
This movie features some of the most obviously whorish product placement for an auto manufacturer since the Transformers series. Every truck in the movie is a Ram, and what few vehicles in the movie aren’t Dodge are part of the greater Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge family. There are multiple scenes in which line-ups of pristine Ram trucks are put in the background like a sales lot, and in fact a major action sequence takes place at a dealership. Dodge seemingly owns this town more than the phony-bologna oil company “Terravex”, which literally means “Earth botherer”… you can’t make this shit up….
Several excellent actors are wasted in this movie. Danny Glover, Amy Ryan, and the late Jon Polito all appear, and most make only tacit appearances. Other solid character performers also appear with larger roles like Thomas Lennon and Barry Pepper, and even they aren’t particularly well fleshed out. The film would have much benefited from the kind of extra business these kind of actors can provide; instead it seems like the film existed to distribute paychecks. Let actors WORK for their money, goddamn it!
A lot of people die in this movie. Only off-screen, granted, but it’s kind of baffling how little the filmmakers took notice of it.
There are scenes with cars exploding, violent accidents, and a climatic scene where a heavy piece of earthmoving equipment smashes the cars of henchmen in an area far too narrow for any kind of believable escape. The main characters commit thousands of dollars of property damage, including driving through a used car lot crushing numerous vehicles, and suffer zero consequences. All of this I found highly amusing, but disingenuous for a film marketed to families.
Monster Trucks is the kind of big-budget Hollywood film which leaves you wondering just who is minding the store over there in Hollywood. Still, the movie is just aware enough of its own stupid premise that it’s hard to be too harsh on it.
Monster Trucks (2017) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every Dodge vehicle
Take a Drink: every time someone says “Creech”
Do a Shot: for every time henchmen extras probably died off-screen
Do a Shot: anytime you see a “Big Red” reference
Take a Drink: for CGI pseudo-physics (characters surviving things that should kill them)