Monsters (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Monsters (2010)

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I am glad that our ratings system on the site has dislike as our bad rating system because it perfectly captures how I felt about Monsters. I did not hate the movie, I just disliked it. I understood and appreciated what the creator was reaching for, the fact that he didn’t succeed and made in my mind a boring, naval gazing movie is the problem.

The premise of Monsters is simple and high-minded at the same time.  A probe in outer space that was searching for proof of alien life crash-lands in Mexico six years before the start of the movie.  The probe was successful because it brings with it aliens that make themselves at home in this area.  The beings, which look like a giant jellyfish mated with a squid, take over a wide swath of Mexico and Central America that is called the infected zone.  America, to keep these aliens out, has constructed a giant wall to keep them all out (oh the irony! What symbolism!).

Why the creatures, who are the size of small building and are seen climbing over anything in their path don’t just amble over to the other side never is addressed, I just assumed they were good at following rules for 6+ years. Samantha, an American trapped in monster town was injured in an attack and her father, a publishing big wig in the States, wants her safely escorted back to “the coast.”

The man tapped for the job is Andrew Kaulder, a freelance photographer out to get pictures of the creatures and not happy his boss is making him babysit Sam.  They head out of Central America towards the United States and the movie becomes an unfunny, alien dotted version of It Happened One Night where nothing truly happens.

Cribbing some Green Eggs and Ham verse can sum up the rest of the movie. Sam and Andrew will not doing anything on a train, Sam and Andrew will not doing while looking at planes.  Sam and Andrew will not doing anything from a boat, Sam and Andrew just emote, emote, emote.

I am not a person who needs the creatures to show up every 5 minutes and be menacing, I do not need an action beat every so often and I do not need to be scared.  I am all for small movies that use this type of story as background to tell interesting tales.

The problem with Monsters is it forgot the interesting part, or even much of a story at all.  How did Sam get hurt, why was she down there in the first place, why does she not like her fiancé?  Was she running away?  You don’t know anything about the characters throughout the movie except for when they are talking in a bad Richard Linklater way about “the big stuff.”  What you get are two paper-thin characters killing time on their way to the states.  There doesn’t even seem to be much in the way of a threatening vibe because they are, for the most part, with experienced people that keep them away from danger.

I believe the director, Gareth Edwards is a very talented director that might have a nice career in front of him.  The overall premise is interesting and what he accomplishes with a very miniscule budget is impressive.  The movie falls apart with the non-existent screen play (you can tell it was heavily improvised) and lack of purpose.  This makes the movie all the more frustrating because the talent and promise is there, only to never come to fruition.

I will keep an eye out for this filmmaker and will hope for better luck in the future, but the simple and stated truth was Monsters bored me to tears.

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Monsters (2010)

Written and Directed by Gareth Edwards
Starring  Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able

Posted by Ryan

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. For those who come across this review I had pretty much the opposite reaction Ryan did to the film. That being Ryan didn’t like it but didn’t hate it, and I didn’t love it but I certainly liked it.

    Basically what we have here is a film of near magical realism involving beautiful aliens that actually manages to see it’s style and ideas through to a satisfying conclusion. The symbolism is laid on pretty thick with the wall and the aliens but that’s kinda what movies do and when we finally do get shots of the aliens they are beautiful and at relative peace with the land.

    The before with the characters doesn’t really matter because the reasons for Samantha and Andrew’s distaste in their current positions in life are pretty clearly laid out. It would have been a lot more boring if we had just stood around watching Samantha eat with her perfectly decent fiancée and Andrew take pictures. We get the sense that this is the first time in a while that either of them have been able to be honest with someone so nakedly, and that empathy spills out into the way director Gareth Edwards works with the environment and camera.

    Plus our “Dislike” button is for when something “fucking sucks”. This is ambitious enough without shooting itself in the foot (like District 9) and quite a lovely film.

  2. You are right to say that I didn’t hate it but I had a reaction more than indifference. I am a big fan of great dialogue and tight scripts and I never really care for the improv type movie. I do believe the movie was shot beautifully and the director Gareth Edwards could have a nice career ahead of him.

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