Monster Trucks sounds like a ridiculous idea for a film, and you know what… it is. A high school student, who is building his own monster truck, discovers a strange creature after it’s subterranean home is disturbed by a shadowy oil company. He then builds it into his truck effectively as the engine and attempts to get it back to its home.
Honestly it might be the weirdest plot of the year (it’d be in competition with Swiss Army Man for that one), but even with the outlandish plot it manages to be a fairly generic story for young adults in many ways. A teen romance story you’ve seen hundreds of times before, an evil corporation with a big henchman, and even the teen that feels alienated from his society and finds where he belongs by the end of the film. Sure the film never really feels like it has stakes to it, generic plots and slightly forgettable characters tend to do that, but it holds your attention and has some fun to it.
Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class) and Jane Levy (Suburgatory) are both likeable leads, and have good chemistry, even if they do fall into one of my biggest bug bares with films; actors in their mid twenties playing High Schoolers. Holt McCallany plays the evil henchman in a kid’s film pretty well. None of these characters feel hugely fleshed out, or demand great performances, but the actors fill the roles nicely. The creature (imaginatively named Creech) is a weird one. He doesn’t fit the normal bill in these kinds of films, as he’s just not cute so it’s hard to try and sell him to kids. But you have to commend the CGI work on him, even if they do hide him inside the bodywork of a truck most of the time.
Let’s be honest Monster Trucks isn’t a good film, but based on the trailer and the premise it had the potential to be so much worse. This isn’t a disaster of a film, the acting is fine, even if the characters lack depth, and the story is very generic and safe. By all rights this should have been so much worse, but as it is, it’s just not great.