We live in the era of nostalgic films and most of the time that means lazy retreads of what we know and love. Movies like Jurassic World or Kong Skull Island provide momentary pleasure but none of the lasting enrichment of the films they are attempting to imitate. They leave me feeling empty and the victim of corporate movie-making.
These misfires are why it is frustrating when people really try to do nostalgia right and it still doesn’t quite work. This is the case with the recent box office bomb Monster Trucks. It starts out as a real charmer but then devolves into a tedious exercise that belongs on CW more than a feature film.
The film revolves around a high schooler named Tripp Coley played by Lucas Till. Tripp is the typical angsty teen of these types of movies who works at the local junkyard. One day he meets a octopus like animal he names Creech. He also has a girl who is in love with him played by Jane Levy. All of this actually works in the first act as a nostalgic throwback to movies like The Goonies and even ET. Neither of the leads look like they are in high school and the villains are one note but it was winning me over.
Then the monster gets in the trucks and it all goes downhill from there…
I guess if you like car chases then you might like the last 2 acts of this movie but I grew very bored. Most of it is scene after scene of Tripp and Creech being chased by bad guys and causing all kinds of destruction along the way. There are so many scenes where cars are crashed into and piled upon. In one scene an entire car dealership is plowed through with the entire lot being destroyed.
Another long sequence involves a wall of fire and a giant platform car taking out car after car. There are people in some of these cars but it is all taken at a very slapstick silly level.
It really is a shame because Chris Wedge had some charming ideas here and the special effects on Creech are impressive. You can feel the love that went into making Monster Trucks but I can’t deny I was bored with those car chases and very tempted to fast forward the video.
Danny Glover plays a man in wheelchair who is kind of a mentor of Tripp but he seems wasted. As is Amy Ryan as Tripp’s mother. Also it kind of annoyed me that Jane Levy exists only to fawn over Tripp despite his complete lack of interest in her. She is presented as this strong, smart girl and yet is a complete ninny when it comes to Tripp. Groan (one part of nostalgic films I could do without!).
A part of me wants to tell people to see this movie just to support people that were really trying to make something special but unfortunately I just can’t. Too much racing and chasing for my tastes!
Overall Grade- C-