Monster Trucks (2017) Movie Review

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?…

A Toast

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.

“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn!”

Beer Two

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….

This Selfie brought to you by “Planet-Molester Incorporated”…

Beer Three

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!

Beer Four

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.

Filmmakers who were too focused on making their greasy killer as cute as possible.

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.

Verdict

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.

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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)

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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