I re-watched this Miracle of a indie no budget film today
at the end of September 2016, and it must've been the 4th
or 5th time i saw it. The 1st time it was on a Swedish DVD and the second
and the third times it was on a Thai DVD,
and now i watched it on a UK Blu-ray. Monsters are one of my favourite
movies this Millennia.
As always when a film is that good it has divided the audiences and
on IMDB the rating are low. I can understand that
as the viewers expecting a Sci Fi action horror must've been bitterly
disappointed .... if not furious. The marketing of
this great film was a bit devious with a trailer promising "A new
world of terror" or the sleeve (see above) "Thrilling,
action packed and totally original". Action Packed ?? No,
NO .... That reviewer must've watched some other film.
This exceptional film was made on a very low budget,
almost on a no-budget and with a very small crew and what it is,
is an indie artmovie, an existential roadmovie,
a tender love story and an apocalyptic
sci-fi movie, all in one.
It's not a horror movie or an action film and the amazing special effects
in this film were made by Edwards on his PC
(and he tell us about it in the extras of this bluray disc). All the
signs in the movie warning about the infected zone, the
helicopters, the planes, the magic mushrooms and .... the fabulous crab-octopus
Monsters are one of my 3-4 favourite films the latest 20 years or so.
It has got some hypnotic qualities to it, it's pensive
and filled with tenderness, towards the struggling couple and all the
Central-American people they meet during their
strange odyssey. It's filled with wonder over our, and the alien creatures,
existence here on Earth, of being alive, and
it's hauntingly beautiful. There were only 2 actors in this film and
all the rest are regular people (from Mexico, Guatemala,
Costa Rica and Belize) the filmteam met during the 6 weeks of filming
playing themselves. And they're just GREAT
NO, it's NOT action packed
Wow! That was a pleasant surprise. I hadn't heard anything
about this film when i first watched it (i rented it in 2011
when there still were DVD rental shops and before the VOD streaming
mania hit us, soon there will be no shops left
where you can buy a beautiful DVD or Blu-ray disc, very sad and a less
colorful future world awaits us), and i then
re-watched it in 2012, 2015 and today, the 28th of September 2016.
I was prepared for some mindless
B action enjoyment with a lot of crappy as usual CGI. The film take
place in Mexico
and i think that was the reason why i rented it as i'm always interested
in the Estados Unidos Mexicanos.
But i was wrong, totally wrong, as i got something much, very much better
than the usual Alien Attack movie. Sure, there
are Aliens attacking people and there are soldiers attacking Aliens,
but what you really get is an Artmovie, a slooow such
and with some Great Beauty to it. Maybe a more suitable name to this
film would've been Zona Infectada?
This was the young brit Gareth Edwards first feature
film. A known visual effects wizard that had worked for TV and who
also had made an acclaimed sci-fi short film, but Edwards always saw
himself as a director and WHAT a film debut this is.
Against a Sci-Fi background, a situation where a US space probe with
alien life forms has crashed in Mexico and a Zona
Infectada has been created all the way up to the US border, he tell
us about a Journey.
2 US citizens, the daughter of a newpaper owner and a photographer,
are trying to return home through a Central America
turned into a war zone, with constant (US?) bombings of the Zona Infectada,
also with biological weapons. They have to
travel through the infected zone and this film is mainly about THE JOURNEY,
and not about the monsters.
About their growing relation and the people they meet. The locations,
with the exception of a Maya temple, are not at all
glamorous but genuine and the more interesting because of that. The
mexican locals they meet are depicted with empathy
Thai DVD outer sleeve
The 2 actors are brilliant in their roles. Scoot
McNairy as the experienced war photographer Andrew Kaulder,
ordered by his boss to escort, home to the US, the daughter of some
media tycoon, Sam Wynden played by
Whitney Gable. The chemistry between the two feels
great, and in real life they're (or were) a couple too.
The film starts with night vision camera images of soldiers opening
fire against some enormous tentacle monsters
and this start is really the ending of the film also (and if you watch
closely you know it will be a sad one).
We soon get to meet our 2 main actors and we understand that they will
have to travel through the infected zone
to return home to the USA, surely many viewers then are waiting for
the fighting vs. the aliens to start.
But, soon you start to take more interest in the relation of the couple
and their journey, the people they meet.
Your craving for action and CGI are forgotten but, at the end, when
you finally get to see the aliens clearly
they're very impressive (and made by Gareth Edwards on a shoestring
budget on his computer).
Sure, there may be a political context here also as the
films Big Wall to stop aliens from entering the USA, in
real life is there to stop illegal immigrants to enter. In the film
US bombs Mexico to kill the alien life forms and
many Mexican civilians are collateral damage and in the movie a message
is painted on a wall "You are the
Monsters" a clue and something that may have given this
film it's title? US bombings all over the middle east?
Edwards is surprisingly quiet about this possible political implication
of the film in the extras. Silence about any
message in Monsters. But, maybe, with a prospering Hollywood career
in front of him (he directed mega budget
Godzilla in 2014 and has continued with even worse Star Wars nonsense
in 2016) he choose to be silent?
Thai DVD inner sleeve at left and
Swedish rental DVD at right
Yes, Godzilla 2014. This Little Big film, Monsters, must've sent schock
waves over the ocean regarding the
amazing special effects Edwards made on a small PC computer at the cost
of almost nothing. Monsters look
like a high budgeted film. Hollywood with their overpayed diva actors,
producer cokeheads slime and rotten
CGI effects to a probably much exorbitant prize must've attacked him
immediately with dollar cheques.
Yes, most surely yet another director talent lost in the Hollywood Sea
of Shit. A Godzilla film?
Yes, that went really well the last time Hollywood had a craptastic
try on the Japanese icon, really well.
Only Japanese should do Gojira films and it's Tokyo that should be stomped
to the ground down to it's last
miniature and it should be done by a guy in a Gojira rubber suit.
OK, the film has a loose grip on real life geography
as our couple can be seen sitting at the top of a Maya temple
in the vicinity of the US border wall. There are not much tropic jungle
or Mayan temples there i'm sure.
The Atmosphere is great in this film,
and with warning signs about the Zona Infectada, with the television
of the locals blaring out the latest news about the Alien invasion and
with gasmasks worn by the civilians during the
biological weapon bombings, it gives a whiff of the Apocalypse.
This film has divided the viewers (see IMDB reviews) into those who
love it and those who hate it. That's almost
always a good sign for a film and promises something extra. For those
of you who likes slow and meditative films
like Avalon, All About Lily Chou-Chou or Stalker, yes, this film is
for You beautiful people.
This Bluray edition in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1,
with english DTS-HD 5.1 or 2.0 audio with english subtitles
Extras: a commentary track with director Gareth Edwards, actors Scoot
McNairy and Whitney Able,
Behind the scenes (55 min, 2010), Editing Monsters (23 min, 2010), Monsters
VFX (29 min, 2010), Short film
"Factory Farmed" - 5 minutes, 2008 with introduction from
Gareth Edwards, trailer
The Thai DVD also in anamorphic widescreen with english
5.1 audio, a trailer, a Making of and Deleted and ex-
tended scenes. The Swedish rental DVD had a commentary track and an
interview with Edwards etc.