Monster Trucks
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Monster Trucks

I have always enjoyed linguistic humor, the type of comedy dependent upon a clever twisting of words requiring a degree of thought with the audience. An example is to turn a common phrase around by taking the literal meaning of the phrase. A simple headline in the sports page might read "Pirates bury Giants." Rather than accepting the phrase in context, picture a group of sea faring marauders pushing a huge person into a freshly dug grave. This is the technique utilized as the title of the latest in comedy horror flick, ‘Monster Trucks.' The image conjugated in the minds of most people would be that of the oversized, over powered vehicles with tires over ten feet in diameter. The producers of this film took the phrase in an entirely literal sense, a monster that has taken up residence in a truck. Besides the obvious categorization of absurdist sci-fi comedy, it also qualifies as a flick somewhat better received by the target demographic than the critical community. The intended audience consisted primary of males between 15 to 25 years old, specifically with a predilection for watching movies while under the influence of some form of the psychotropic plant. Unfortunately, that subset of movie goers was insufficient for the studio to recover the estimated $125 million budget. Reportedly the international gross box office barely achieved half that amount. With such an incredible amount of material available to the typical viewer, even the pickiest collector can afford to take a little side trip to an old fashion ‘B’ Flick to channel our inner child. For most dedicated cinephiles our infatuation with movies began in our neighborhood theater. In that dark environment, we sat in the dark entertained by some of the cheesiest creature features imaginable. An exit terrestrial inhabiting a truck pales in comparison to some of the monsters that inhabited those movies. Giant eyeballs peering out of the dashboard were strange limbs darting out from the frame might almost be considered realistic compared to sheep gorilla suits under the arm or some and wireframe creature pushed by a long stick held by some union crewmember. A realization such as this will not make the movie any better but the correct frame of mind for a couple of hours of puerile entertainment.

Terravex Oil is in the middle of a fracking operation near a lake in North Dakota. This is a common plot contrivance to establish some connection between the story and audience members by providing some relation to the real world. Fracking is a process to extract minerals and ore from the ground that is exceptionally damaging to the environment. This reference immediately frames the company in a negative light before the introduction of the first characters. Overseeing the operation are CEO Reece Tenneson (Rob Lowe) and geologist Jim Dowd (Thomas Lennon) for perching to go deeper to gain a better yield. Upon locating a pocket of subterranean water, a determination made as to whether or not to proceed. Confident that there is no possible life Tenneson issues the order to advance. A few moments later something moves quickly past the camera located at the drill bit. Within seconds chaos ensues back pressure exploding all the connect water lines. In the middle voice cries out "something came out of the well." Three creatures had made their way to the surface. While one high within the body of an old truck, the other two managed to escape. Tenneson hires a man named Burke (Holt McCallany), to track and apprehend the missing creatures. He is the rugged, overly confident loner that is always on call in the studio’s central casting area.

Ultimately to more in custody for the third manages to escape again making its way to a junkyard takes up residence in a pickup truck. A high school senior, Tripp (Lucas Till), has taken a part-time job in the junkyard as a temporary escape from the tedium of his family life. One of the benefits of the job he has access to all old car parts which is a great benefit for his hobby of rebuilding a truck. His main reason for doing this is one that is understood readily by anyone who has been a teenage boy; he wants to impress a pretty girl in his class, Meredith ((Jane Levy). He the course the creature who takes up residence in the truck Tripp discovers that the creature lives on a diet of oil is made itself at home on the truck. Tripp can establish communication with the creature establishing a relationship with it and after naming it Creech after befriending it. Tripp makes a promise to his new friend that he will do everything possible to get him back home. This plot resembles É.T’ if you replace the quirky but cute alien with an amorphous blob with tentacles. Occasionally, the most unlikely entity will exude a level to cuteness conferring upon these odd extraterrestrials a sufficient appeal to permit the audience to form the necessary attachments to be concerned with its plight. This has been a standard technique in film since the thirties; give the creature a sensitive side.

Since every teenage boy in this type of movie may be too shy to talk to a girl but he conveniently a mechanical genius. He can, on the fly; modify an internal combustion engine, transmission, and numerous other systems to accommodate an alien of cumbersome size leaving little room for the necessary modifications. The amount of time allocated for this unprecedented of advanced mechanical engineering. The common usage of this plot contrivance allows for overlooking this faux pas

More importantly, this created a new connotation for the term ‘self-driving car.' Had this set of circumstances unfolded, in reality, I strongly suspect that vocal protests by Uber and other professional drivers would complain about illegal aliens’ taking jobs from American family men. The response within the context of the narrative is not substantially different. The company behind the deep drilling, Terravex engages the particularly accurate and deadly talents of a mercenary, Burke. The project geologist, Jim Dowd, adamantly objects to hunting sentient creatures obviously of near human intelligence. In order to strengthen the tug on the heart strings of the viewers it is revealed that the other two creatures are Creech’s parents,

The acing of the movie is brisk, conducive with the brief attention span that apparently afflicts many growing up in this generation. Considering the targeted demographic that guided the design of the story. The requisite circumstantial tropes and character archetypes are infused on schedule moving the story line forward in a predicable fashion. One of the most commonly employed themes in this category is given another go: kids working to take down an oligarchy consisting of examples from, military, the government of the upper echelon of a corrupt corporation. Considered beyond the reach of law enforcement agencies represent every tier of authority, a bunch of teenagers assisted by unknown creatures, can topple the center of evil schemes. Several members of the cast will be familiar; foremost among them is Rob Lowe. He has an eclectic career covering a broad selection of genres. Barry Pepper, portraying the casually named Sheriff Rick representing the ineffectual formal branch of law enforcement, provides additional contrast to the effectiveness of the kids. The most important roles to fill are understandably the lead teenagers. Lucas Till did not have too much on his resume before this movie, but he did move on to the titular role in the ‘MacGyver ‘television reboot. The female lead was awarded to Jane Levy. Who had three seasons staring in the offbeat sit-com ‘Suburgatory,' but has recently focused on horror movers as the mandatory ‘survivor girl.'

bulletWho's Driving The Monster Trucks?
bulletThe Monster in the Truck
bulletCreating The Monster Truck
bulletGag Reel
bulletDeleted Scenes
bulletProduction Diaries

Posted 04/07/2017

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