Director: Chris Wedge
Cast: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon
Release Date: April 11, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Tripp is a high school senior with a knack for building trucks who makes an incredible discovery – a gas-guzzling creature named Creech. To protect his mischievous new friend, Tripp hides Creech under the hood of his latest creation, turning it into a real-life super-powered Monster Truck. Together, this unlikely duo with a shared taste for speed team up on a wild and unforgettable journey to reunite Creech with his family.
‘Monster Trucks’ tells the family-friendly tale of high school senior Tripp (Till) who above all else desires a way out of his tired, small town, preferably in the form of a beastly truck. During a random evening spent slowly but surely working on trying to rebuild just such a truck, Tripp comes across a bizarre, water-like creature unlike anything he’s ever seen. After being laughed at by the authorities and subsequently getting over his initial hesitation and fear, Tripp soon forms a powerful bond with the creature and when attempting to hide it inside his truck’s barren hood, the duo soon form a way to let the monster serve as the absent engine and the two, along with an unlikely love interest set off an epic adventure to find the creature’s family at all costs, while the government remains hot on their trail with the intention of capturing his new friend for their own sinister means.
Directed by Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Robots) from a screenplay written by Derek Connolly (Jurassic World) and from a story by Matthew Robinson, Jonathan Aibel, and Glenn Berger respectively, Wedge does a solid job at the helm of ‘Monster Trucks’ guiding this big hearted family adventure along with apparent ease. The film also owes some share of the credit to the capable cast which features numerous talented individuals and includes Lucas Till (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe), Thomas Lennon (TV’s The Odd Couple), Barry Pepper (Kill The Messenger), Rob Lowe (TV’s Parks and Recreation), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Frank Whaley (TV’s Luke Cage), and more, the majority delivering decent enough performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Monster Trucks’ is a sweet, adventurous and often heartwarming ride that brings plenty of fun and excitement that should be suitable for nearly the entire family; consistently keeping things lighthearted and tame in every aspect, although some brief moments and actions may still be a tad scary for some of the younger children. Reinventing the classic ‘boy and his odd friend’ tale, this time revolving around a reserved high school senior and the odd monster he discovers and naturally forms an unbreakable bond with (while also making it his living truck engine); we certainly all know the general story, and it works quite well once again with ‘Monster Trucks’, with the addition of a beefy off-road truck thrown into the mix for good measure. As far as family (or kids) films go, ‘Monster Trucks’ certainly doesn’t find itself up there with the greats, although it still nonetheless offers a fun, relatable adventure with everything to keep kids young and old (this means you fellow adults) who like similar films thoroughly entertained and satisfied at nearly all times. Smoothly guided along its lighthearted course by director Chris Wedge who is certainly no stranger to the family film genre, and his capable guidance is further complimented by a solid cast including Lucas Till, Jane Levy and more. I would urge those who enjoy similar family-friendly outings and the households with younger viewers who are likely to enjoy the monster-truck combination to make a point of giving this one a watch when you have the opportunity to do so, for the young ones of a fitting age and those such as me who often tend to find these kids films a guilty pleasure, ‘Monster Trucks’ may not absolutely blow you away, but it should prove worthy of your time.
Overall, ‘Monster Trucks’ is an incredibly fun, easygoing and adventurous tale for the whole family, in the vein of so many classics. While it may not manage to achieve the greatness of many films it borrows from, it certainly offers a solid and consistently fun ride capably guided by director Chris Wedge and further boosted by a fairly noteworthy cast that most of the family should be able to enjoy together. ‘Monster Trucks’ certainly earns my recommendation for those who enjoy lighthearted and adventurous family films and for the homes with younger viewers who are sure to be intrigued by the concept at the very least. It should be worth the cost of a rental for anyone seeking a nice, enjoyable and fairly family-friendly film one evening that doesn’t require too much of the viewer and delivers a healthy supply of high octane fun.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Monster Trucks’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and provides a consistently sharp, detailed and gorgeous presentation throughout, with no notable faults to be uncovered within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and/or fast moving sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that holds up beautifully at all times and should have no trouble pleasing the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack compliments that film splendidly and contributes a crisp, clean and hard hitting audio presentation from start to finish. It regularly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the music, action and vehicle activity, plus crowd chatter and much more zooming throughout the various channels, and always making certain that any dialogue that might be occurring simultaneously remains clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a magnificent and quite hard hitting Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that adds even more fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Monster Trucks’ includes some fun extras for the entire family. Included on the release are a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 9 minutes altogether), in addition to a ‘Gag Reel’ (running approximately 5 minutes) and some behind the scenes Featurettes that take you deeper into bringing the film to life with behind the scenes footage, interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus more. The included Featurettes are ‘Who’s Driving the Monster Trucks?’ (running approximately 7 minutes), ‘The Monster in the Truck’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘Creating the Monster Truck’ (6 minutes), and a collection of ‘Production Diaries’ (approximately 10 minutes combined).