Judging by the title, I thought Monster Trucks might not be a movie I would enjoy. But as they say, you can't judge a book by its cover. Or a DVD, as it turns out. This movie isn't about the kind of Monster Trucks you go see at an event, and it’s not ridiculously silly and/or aimed just at children.
Having said that, it’s 100 percent suitable for children, but teens and adults will likely enjoy this as well, especially if they like adventures.
Monster Trucks is about Tripp (Lucas Till), a stoic teen whose dad took off years earlier. He lives a quiet life with his single mom, who does shift work at a restaurant, often leaving him to his own devices (and a dinner of frozen pizza). She has a police officer boyfriend, Sheriff Rick (Barry Pepper), though it isn’t clear if he lives with them or not (as his mom is rushing off to her job, Tripp is told to leave one pizza for Rick).
Tripp rides the bus to school, where he’s antagonized by a rich kid with a fancy truck. Tripp brushes it off, but at night, he works in an auto salvage yard, where he’s building his own truck, though it’s not fancy and he hasn’t managed to get it to run yet.
Meanwhile, Terravex oil company head Reece Tenneson (Rob Lowe) is digging for oil nearby. When he’s told by geologist Jim Dowd (Thomas Lennon) that there is some kind of life forms down where they’re drilling, and that three of them have involuntarily been sucked up to the surface because of the drilling, he wants them caught and examined, then killed.
Tripp is surprised by one of these creatures in the salvage yard. It has tentacles like an octopus, and a head that’s a cross between a seal and a dolphin (minus the long nose). When it’s not baring its teeth, it’s actually pretty cute and once it realizes Tripp isn’t a threat, they form a bond.
When Tenneson’s henchmen come to take it away, Tripp protects the creature, whom he names Creech, and having altered his truck so that Creech can hide inside, he takes off with Creech running the machine.
Also along for the ride is Tripp’s classmate Meredith (Jane Levy), who is drawn to Tripp and in an effort to get to know him, has signed on to tutor him. She soon realizes that Tripp is a lot smarter than he lets on in class, and winds up helping him in his mission to save Creech’s life.
From there, it’s an adventure involving plenty of car chases and truck crashes. The stunts are not only a lot of fun to watch -- they're absolutely mind-blowing. If you watch the special features, you’ll see how they actually performed many of them without the use of CGI.
Creech and the other creatures are visualized with the use of CGI, which shows just how fantastic a job the cast, especially Lucas Till, does at making us believe everything is real and not just someone in a green suit standing in for the creature.
Special Features on the Blu-ray:
Who’s Driving the Monster Trucks?: Lucas Till, Danny Glover and Jane Levy talk about what drew them to the project and we're shown how some of the green screen effects were performed.
The Monster in the Truck: A behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was filmed, and discussing how director Chris Wedge was able to take on a live-action film after previously having done only animated films.
Creating the Monster Truck: We see how the trucks were altered so the creatures could live inside them and it’s explained how they could actually propel a truck.
Gag Reel: Quite a few clips of the actors playing around, making faces, dancing and of course, blowing/forgetting their lines.
Deleted scenes: We see Lucas Till doing a stunt in which he jumps from one moving truck to another (which looks pretty dangerous). One of the scenes was so far-fetched (Tripp changes a tire while a car is moving) that we see why it didn’t make it into the film.
Production Diaries: Short clips are shown of the green screen process, why Rob Lowe was cast and what he thought of the story, as well as other topics of interest to fans of the movie.
If you've seen Monster Trucks and would like to rate/review it, click here. ~Alexandra Heilbron