Director: Gareth Edwards
A selfish, hot-shot photo-journalist (Scoot McNairy) is ordered by his boss to bring the boss' daughter (Whitney Able) back home safely amidst a terrain around the U.S.-Mexico border filled with chaos and tentacle swinging alien invaders abound. Is that love in the air I smell? Maybe... could be...YES!
Gareth Edwards MONSTERS gets my respect for the little miracle it pulled off. The production budget was like 15.000 clams, Edwards did the CGI himself (he's an an Emmy nominated visual effects editor BTW, that helps) and the picture looked just as good as any Studio opus with 20 times the budget in its nap-sack. So for that alone, condom's off, this brew is for you, where the hoes at! With that off the cutting board, here are my thoughts as to the film itself.
MONSTERS was kinda of an odd watch for me in the sense that it had me within its grasp throughout, I was always engaged and entertained on varied levels, but yet when I looked back at it, not much really happened in the movie unless you count walking and talking as something going down. For those of ya looking for a monster movie out of this fucko, look elsewhere, you won't find it here. Yes there were creatures at play here (reminded me of the aliens in The Simpsons for some reason) but they were mostly back-ground fodder and maybe appeared 3 times at best. Instead this one's game was taking a womanizing and selfish photo-journalist and tagging him with a sweet little rich girl who is about to get married and hates her life back home. As we follow our unlikely duo, they gradually get to know each other at the same as we get to know them, they encounter obstacles, band together to overcome them and eventually fall in love. That's the real MONSTERS; a road movie having to do with two strangers growing closer via the ordeal they are put through. If you go in expecting that, then you may be all good in the alien infested hood.
Edward's tight screenplay, and confident direction of course jacked this one's quality. I was impressed! I expect great things from this dude, give him some dough and he will blow our minds. The fact that Edwards shot on location, stealing shots and using real people as extras gave the whole an air of authenticity that played in its favor. I was buying the world I was asked to buy and by result feared for our two heroes. So yeah my ball sack was under lock and key over here. None of it, and I mean NONE OF IT would have worked without Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy as the leads. At the end of the neck snap, they were the movie. Both were credible and grounded. Able had an endearing mix of vulnerability and toughness that made me fall in love (and lust) with her. As for McNairy he was ideal as the a-hole with the most who slowly but surely became more dimensional as he let his emotional barriers down. Their chemistry was astounding, then again, in real life, both actors are husband and wife... so it better be! Add to all that loving, a handful of groovy monster bits, a biting social commentary slyly slipped in there (the setting is the U.S.-Mexico border... you do the math), some tension laced scenes that hit the spot and an almost John Carpenter-ish score that served the flick as well as a healthy hand job in the morning and you get a well rounded indie that shot high and hit the mark.
On the dull side of the blade; MONSTERS low budget limited it and I kept feeling that the story held back. The obstacles weren't big enough to leave a mark on me, I kept craving more action and yes, more monster shenanigans. And was I alone in getting annoyed by them obviously CGI helicopters scooting in the sky all the time? Some shots were actually ruined by them in my opinion and it kind of became a running joke with my bud and I; yup we played spot the CG copter...needless to say they took me out of the film. The open ended finale also kind of left me cold; with that spat, having seen it twice now... MAYBE A MINOR SPOILER - MAYBE A MINOR SPOILER... pay attention to the beginning of the movie, as it gives ya a glimpse of what happens after its ending. That's all I will say.
All in all MONSTERS made for a tight watch. It sported a smooth pace, two lead characters that I really cared for and a world that I believed in. If only MORE happened. Go in expecting monsters going buck nuts and you will be let down; tap this one with “love story” and “indie drama” on the fritz, you may dig it! Now take a look at this monster...ZIPPPP!
Light blood here and there.
T & A
We see some chick's legs sticking out from under bed sheets... stroke away!
MONSTERS was a well written/directed effort with badass CGI monsters specially when you take into account the budget. Its two leads (played by Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy ) really made it happen for me. The characterization was fleshed out while both actors shared a compelling chemistry that kept my eyes on them the whole way. What hurt MONSTERS for me is that nothing really severe went down. I kept wishing that the hurdles would be higher and yes more monster "good times" would have been swell. On the whole though; I was never bored, was taken for a decent ride and am pumped to see what Gareth Edwards does next... with hopefully...MORE MONEY.
Gareth Edwards first had the idea for MONSTERS when he watched fishermen hauling in their net which made him wonder how easy it would be to add a huge sea creature in there via CGI.
The bulk of the filming crew was only seven people at work.