2 1/2 Stars
Monster Trucks is the literal concept behind this goofy but harmless children’s film. E.T. and the Transformers appear to have been the inspiration for this story which mixes special effects with a pro-environment anti-corporate message. This may seem outright hypocritical since Monster Trucks is being released by Paramount Pictures and is the first in a hoped-for franchise that would add a significant amount of coin to that corporation’s bottom-line. However, this is an irony-free affair and rather humorless, but good-natured enough in spirit and tone that I’m giving it a moderate recommendation.
An amphibious creature is discovered when the Terravex corporation goes drilling for oil in a small town in North Dakota. The slimy monstrous looking thing escapes the security at the drill site and hides in the welding shed at a local junkyard. Tripp (Lucas Till) is a fifteen-year-old gear-head with an attitude and failing grades. He is taunted by a rich kid who drives a souped-up truck and is tutored by the hapless Meredith (Jane Levy), who harbors a crush on the unaware Tripp.
This is an unoffensive and unspectacular children’s film with an odd concept, but the film is served well by some impressive visual effects and a mischevious spirit. The monster of the title is a slimy creature that doesn’t’ rank high on the ‘cuddly alien’ meter. E.T. this is not. However, Monster Trucks is lively enough to keep the attention span of the over 5 under 13 crowd and serve as a ninety-minute babysitter for kids on a winter afternoon.
Director: Chris Wedge
Stars: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Thomas Lennon