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Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon reentry 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... Our story begins when a U.S. journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through the infected zone to the safety of the U.S. border.
Deleted and Extended Scenes
HDNet: A Look at Monsters
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Now, for the good stuff. Warning: Spoilers Below!
I'm going to breakdown the different aspects of this movie first, and then give my overall review.
Action: Minimal, but not too over-the-top for the scenes it did have. I felt like they were realistic.
Effects: While I've seen better, considering that this was a low-budget film, it honestly did way better than some big budget flicks I've seen recently. They didn't show a LOT of the aliens, but it's obvious they put a lot of work into the bits they did show, and it's appreciated. The scene where they find the alien eggs, sprouting like bio-luminescent mushrooms on the trees? That was beautiful. (I'm going to talk about this particular scene more later)
Casting: While some of the side actors were a bit iffy for me, I liked the two mains. I would have liked to see a bit more emotion from them once or twice, but overall I think the fact that they WERE so subdued brought this level of realism to the whole thing. For example, the scene where they find the little girl? Other movies might've had them both breaking down, sobbing, etc, but instead they were both quiet. The scene where Sam DID cry, at the ruins, was very tastefully done, and her reaction to his questions about the little girl were very real. She didn't want to deal with the truth, so she put it off.
Plot: Considering that this movie is obviously not meant to be an action packed thrill ride, there was enough action to keep you interested. This entire movie wasn't about the Aliens, it wasn't about the big bad government, it wasn't about anything but these two characters and how this experience changed them. How it shaped them. In that regard, I think it did fine.
Why I took off 1 star: It wasn't for anything I talked about above, it was simply because there were things they could have done, but they didn't. I know it's probably because it was lower budget, but I feel like some of these things were written of as nothing...
1: The fact that the aliens are laying eggs in the trees! He's a photographer, for god's sake. This is big news, that obviously people don't know! He didn't bother to take any pictures... That would have been worth big money, and there was no reason not to, since he took pictures of everything else.
2: They never tried to explain why the aliens were attacking early, just that they were. They never really explained much of anything. Just... Hey! Giant tentacle monsters! We don't know anything about them whatsoever than vaguely what they look like, that they like the water, and they usually come out at night. Oh, and they lay eggs in trees. I know the movie wasn't about them, but I would've liked to know, nonetheless.
Those were the two reasons I took off a star, personally. Would I recommend this movie? Heck yea I would, it's one of the best of it's kind I've seen in a while.
As the central relationship develops under the strain of facing or surviving the "monsters" to the north (a thinly veiled metaphor for the United States's horrendous effects--political, social, economic--on the peoples to its South), we see two very fragile people trying to make meaning in a world gone to the dogs--or to very large octopus-like creatures.
There's more here to talk about. It's a thoughtful, very interesting film, and the director, Gareth Edwards, is somebody to watch. Good direction attends to detail--plot, characterization, thematic development, etc. Edwards understands this and he gets a lot of those elements right in this film. I'd like to get a Blu-ray copy, if there is one, so I can watch it again. The movie reminded me a bit of the Strugatsky's "Roadside Picnic" -- the novel, not Tarkovsky's movie of that novel, "Stalker."
If you are pensive and want something different you should give this movie a go.
In my very esoteric interpretation I'd say the monsters represent the "id" ( subconsciousness ) of the 2 main characters who eventually find their true paths in this world.
"Monsters" pays homage to the great science-fiction films of the late 1960s and 1970s where the emotions and daily lives of the characters played out against the futuristic high and/or low technological state of the world they lived in.
"Monsters" envisions a United States fighting against a self-inflicted alien invasion it caused by returning life-bearing samples from somewhere unmentioned in our solar system. The sample return capsule broke up in the atmosphere over Mexico; and as a result, invasive and deadly Cthulhu-like creatures are now roaming what is called the Infected Zone.
A photojournalist documenting the destruction in Mexico caused by the alien invaders and the combined military forces of the United States and Mexico; is ordered by his editor/publisher to escort his daughter out of Mexico and back into the United States.
What follows is a haunting road, boat, and walking journey through a devastated landscape where signs of the alien presence is always constant.
Yet the "monsters" are neither good nor bad. It's hinted that they are lonely, like humans, and seek the company of others.
"Monsters" is a gripping and emotional science fiction adventure.
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We order another movie very soon.
Thanks Deb Cook
Glennda M Ross
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