Saturday 4 December 2010

Monsters 2010

With a limited budget of $500.000, Director Gareth Edwards, making his first movie debut in the directors chair, puts his own unique spin on the alien invasion movie.

Unlike most movies in comparison, this one starts where many other invasion movies leave off, with a unique vision to storytelling complemented by improvised dialogue by a cast of unknown but yet very capable actors.

The Story.....

Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life forms began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain "the creatures".

This is a story that follows a cynical journalist who agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through an infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border and their experiences along the way.

Cast: Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able
Directed and Written by: Gareth Edwards

The 411.….

Gareth Edwards/Director and Writer of Monsters
What director and writer Gareth Edwards successfully delivers here is a great story arc propelled by the two main leads being played by Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able, to whom improvised a lot of their dialogue after only being given a general outline of how each scene is intended to be.

The film had been shot entirely on location and very opportunistically, any extras who appear in the film were just people who happened to be there at the time.

Monsters has more of a documentary feel to it, focusing on Andrew, a journalist, and Samantha who is an American tourist being escorted to the US border, and what they both experience along the way.

Although the opening credits grab your interest from the get go, it slows down to an almost yawn pace at first, but then thankfully at the 35 minute marker starts to kick it up a gear.

Fans of the alien invasion genre might be disappointed at the lack of actual ‘monsters’ that are in this movie, only appearing a handful of times, and the movie rather focusing on the two leads relationship through a dangerous journey.

While I feel this will be a ‘Marmite’ among movie goers, meaning you will either love it or hate it, one thing that is truly commendable is that Gareth Edwards does deliver something different to the big screen. Rather than your normal alien invasion flick, this one is set years after the invasion and people just going about their everyday lives. Also after shooting, which only took three weeks, Edwards had over a 100 hours of unique ad-libbed footage which after eight months was trimmed down to the now runtime of 94 minutes. And if that’s not enough to impress, the 250 plus visual effects in the movie were shot and undertaken by him in his bedroom, meaning a healthy return is surely due on his measly budget of less than $500.000.

Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able
The acting has to be applauded for Scoot and Whitney, who both deliver strong performances and display amazing chemistry, which is probably helped by the fact that they are real life husband and wife, something Edwards had been insisting on when casting as he wanted a genuine couple to make their chemistry more believable.

While I enjoyed most of the movie, and appreciated the brilliant final scene. It was a one time watch for me. My real appreciation for the movie is for the accomplishment on what Gareth Edwards has managed to deliver in his own unique way even if you might be tempted to compare it between Cloverfield and District 9 at times.
Released in other countries months before, it has finally made a UK release date of December 3rd 2010.

Final Word: If it grabs your interest I would certainly go and see it at the cinema, if your unsure then it’s at least a must watch on DVD rental when it’s released. If your expecting and only wanting massive alien attack scenes and destruction then this isn’t for you.


DEZMOND said...

great review, agent Sanders! I knew there was quite a big buzz around this movie throughout this summer, but I kinda had a notion that it should be viewed on DVD :)

dark-blue-jeans said...

A really excellent detailed review Dempsey, really loving your site, and definately giving Monsters a go.
Also can't wait for the Movie411 blog awards, the results will be very interesting.
Will be back for more 411's soon!

Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein said...

Thanks for the down low on Monsters, Demp.

It looks like I’ll have to wait for the DVD of Monsters, because it’s only playing in one theater in my state, which is over fifty miles from my home!

The gas would cost me more than the DVD.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent review. Most people would be hard pressed to find this one in theaters and I was lucky enoough to catch it on DirectNet two days before its release.
It's a very unique movie. After all the hype for the awful Skyline and critics stating special effect guys should never write and direct, Edwards comes along and proves them wrong. Also a shame this one didn't get the bigger release.
I found it incredibly haunting and will purchase on DVD to watch again.

Jaccstev said...

It was mesmerizing to see how director Gareth Edwards was able to achieve from what he did on such a low budget. The film had a production budget of just $500.000 but it indeed looked 70 times more expensive.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

I thought it was quite good actually - slick, subtle, entertaining and very impressive, visually, despite its super low budget. Great review, Demps!

Unknown said...

Great review and very on point. I was nearly yawning in the beginning. I wouldn't see this one again either, but I do admire what was accomplished on such a small budget.

Dempsey Sanders said...

Thanks for all your amazing comments guys and girls, nice to see most of us in agreement on this one.