“Monsters” – a thinking persons monster movie

Had a boys night out at the picturers the other night (shout out to the ACOPS – Advanced Community of Practice – massive), went to see Monsters.

Its great when you get to see a movie that surprises you… I remember seeing Donnie Darko, Irma Vep, Ghost Dog… and coming out of the cinema with the same feeling as this the other night…

“Wow! that was great… understated… subtle, well crafted… at last something original”.

Just don’t go expecting a Godzilla military versus Monster, gun fest and you won’t be dissappointed (remember how disappointed the full on dragons versus helicopter gunships poster left cinema goers at Reign of Fire… which was actually a pretty well made and scripted movie – confused expectations can kill a movie like this).

It’s plainly not an action movie, though there is definitely some (Jurassic Park-esque) horror action, it’s a road (or river) movie, a travalogue, a National geographic documentary, a gonzo reportage… Like the best introspective riverboat scenes from Apocalypse Now with a really well observed relationship study woven into its fabric that reminded me a little of the awkward, desperate Bourne Identity sequences between Damon and Franka Potente…

The acting might seem stilted at first but eventually you realise its just not that slick polished overly crafted and rewritten dialogue you are used to from Hollywood production houses. Instead its difficult, tentative, endearingly faltering and stumbling, just like real life… to the point were you feel like a voyeur in some sequences. The drunken goodnight scene is near perfect in its desperation and awkward tenacity… many of the actors seem to have just been there (there are whole families in the cast) and simply hijacked for the shoot.

For the monster movie fans there are some amazing special effect sequences, and monsters that are truly huge in scale. As well as quite beautiful at times… the sequence when you are walked through the life cycle of the monsters, is beautiful in the way Cameron’s Avatar was beautiful… it’s hard not to keep harking back to National Geographic, but there it is.

For those that like a little depth in their movies there is a subtext relating to US immigration that’s not particularly subtle but certainly interesting. Again the FX surrounding the wall, and the destroyed and overgrown buildings are at times breathtaking in there beauty.

It really is just beautiful to look at…

As far as I’m concerned its the best movie I’ve scene in a long time… it’s this kind of “cared for” production that I’ve always imagined being involved with, and I guess with the industry going the way it is, with bedroom auteurs being spotted and encouraged by the previous generations (Ridley Scott’s “Parallel Lines” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8k6PP4cUuc , Neill Blomkamp getting picked up for his Short Film version of “District 9” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlgtbEdqVsk etc). Just check out the credits… It’ll be the shortest roll of credits you will have seen in a long time… especially in the Special Effects department…

All in all not bad for movie seemingly made on a laptop, with a bunch of first time actors and volunteers.

~ by hesir on December 11, 2010.

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