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[NEW EDITION] Blast from the Past Movie Review – “Monsters” (2010)

May 27, 2012

OK, OK, OK, OK! I know, I’ve been slacking it lately on my blog, especially with my well recieved Sunday column Blast from the Past Movie Reviews. My apologies to all my readers, but I’m back in business and I’m shaking things up. Starting every Friday I’ll be doing a sort of Netflix raffle, as of right now my que is at 168 films (and it continues to grow). Every Friday I’ll have readers email (aaproductions07@gmail.com), tweet (@DoubleAAProd), or Facebook me a number between 1 to whatever number my que is. This week the number selected was #5, Gareth Edwards’ “Monsters”. So, let us begin the review!

NASA discovers of alien life outside our planet, they send out a probe to bring back samples, the probe crash lands in Centeral America, leaving the country of Mexico ‘infected’ with biological infestation of epic proportions. Giant tentacle-like creatures roam the lands. The US/Mexican goverment have been fighting off the alien infestation for years now, and haven’t really made much of a dent, except literally caging the creatures into the country of Mexico. Photojournalist, Andrew (Scoot McNairy) is sent to Mexico to retrieve his magazine editors daughter, Samantha (Whitney Able). When Andrew & Sam miss their opportunity to take a ferry safely back to the states, their only option is to venture into the ‘Infected Zone’. There they learn more about themselves and what survival entails for the ‘Infected Zone’ and what will happen when they return to their normal lives.

I was expecting one thing from this movie, GIANT MONSTERS creating havoc. The previews struck me that this was a movie that was somewhat like “Cloverfield”, a movie I truly adore in the giant monster genre. However, it’s more of an anti-explotation film, and more of a character study about people, but more importantly questioning by the end who exactly are the REAL ‘monsters’ at play here. We don’t get much monster action until after the first hour of the film, and there’s only thirty minutes left after that. Like I stated before, it’s a character study. The movie to me reflects as a post-Katrina story, about an event that’s struck the lowest common demonator of a society; locations that are not as fruitful, or well prepared for a catastrophic event such as the one in the film. People, resorting to either helping one another out, stealing, or fending for themselves. The people in this film make some very odd choices, mainly Andrew, he’s tap dancing on this will they/won’t they relationship with Samantha, and that may be the weakest element to the film. The love story isn’t very strong here, but then again it really shouldn’t have to be, in the end it’s all about survival.

The end of the film however takes a newer turn, [Gareth] Edwards wants us to feel compasion for the alien monsters, because really throughout the film, we haven’t seen them actually attack people, unless they’re being attacked. One of the cool features about the creatures is their attraction to electricty, it’s their source of food. They come across electrical light and it’s something they need to survive on. They don’t eat humans, they don’t really kill unless they’re provoked, it’s all a matter of they’re different, they’re bigger, we’re smaller, oh shit we need to defend ourselves all because they’re different than us. So, in that respect I can empathize with the creatures over the protaganist.

For a movie that had a crew of SEVEN PEOPLE, this is quite an impressive production. Filled with clever camera work, witty improv, and astounding special effect, all of which are created/supervised by writer/director Gareth Edwards. Edwards background comes from special effects wizardry, so it only seems right that he would have total control in the visual effects. The movie is also another proof how great prosumer cameras really are for low budget independent films, I have a prosumer camera, and I can only hope that I can make a good film just as much as what Edwards accomplished here.

GRADE: B+

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This weeks pick came from Rachel Galvin. Email me your number pick at aaproductions07@gmail.com

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