Monster Trucks Parent Review
This portrayal of a literal monster truck may be a good choice for youngsters looking for a fun matinee diversion
The idea of literally portraying a monster truck is brought to life through smooth CGI animation and some childlike creativity in this aptly titled movie. When Mr. Tenneson (Rob Lowe), a greedy oil tycoon (the only flavor found in movies), insists on drilling into a high-pressure water vein that is suspected of harboring ancient life, a rather surprisingly large specimen shoots out of the pipe. Destroying the rig, it manages to get away—but not before Tenneson and his geologist-partner, Jim Dowd (Thomas Lennon), get a glimpse of it. Worried their well will be shut down if it’s in danger of destroying a newfound creature’s habitat, the oil executives order their strongmen, headed up by Burke (Holt McCallany), to begin the chase with the goal of destroying the evidence.
Not likely to last long on the lamb, the creature from the deep lagoon makes its way to a junkyard where it meets Tripp (Lucas Till). It’s late at night and the young man is busy working on his dream of fixing up an old truck and turning it into a classic monster. However, his efforts are interrupted when the “thing” slinks into the shop and is soon followed by the men pursuing it.
A classic example of the boy-and-his-dog formula, it’s not long before Tripp is bonding with the blob, which he eventually names Creech. It turns out his new pet thrives on any petroleum product he can get his tentacles on. And when Creech slithers into the chassis of the grease monkey’s old truck, the teen is delighted to discover that his glow-in-the-dark appendages can make the wheels turn at highway speeds.
Seriously, it may sound crazy, but the eight-year-olds in the audience will likely get more than revved up watching this motorized adventure. And to ensure the girls are engaged in the story too, the screenwriters toss in a mildly romantic distraction in the form of a brainy biologist named Meredith (Jane Levy). Assigned as his science tutor, her best line occurs when Tripp starts spouting facts about torque and surface area and she responds with something to the effect of, “So you really aren’t dumb!”
Yes, these characters have brains and make a refreshing combo in a kids’ movie that demonstrates how both genders can contribute to saving the day without having to demean each other. Sadly, that’s not the case for the image of Big Oil. As usual, the oil developers are the real slimy monsters in this story—a rather odd irony considering the purpose of this film is to get youngsters excited about trucks that drink gasoline like James Bond chugs martinis.
Thankfully content is mainly limited to the peril involved in keeping Creech out of Tenneson’s reach. Little ones may be concerned for the creature’s fate but there is little doubt he will make his way to a happy ending. Perhaps a little more problematic for some audience members will be the discovery that Tripp’s estranged father (Rob Lowe) is dealing with an obvious alcohol problem.
If you’re willing to accept the risk of having your eight to twelve year olds reenacting their favorite scenes by rolling over your furniture, Monster Trucks could be a good choice for a fun matinee diversion.Directed by Chris Wedge, Carlos Saldanha. Starring Jane Levy, Lucas Till, Thomas Lennon, Rob Lowe. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release January 13, 2017. Updated April 11, 2017
Get details on profanity, sex and violence in Monster Trucks here.
Monster Trucks Parents Guide
When a Sherriff accuses a man of breaking the law and endangering others, he retorts that he doesn’t have to follow the rules because his company employs most of the town’s residents and pays the peace officer’s salary. Do you accept his excuse? Should anyone be above the law? What other characters believe their cause justifies overlooking regulations? Do you think they are right to do so?
This script has a strong environmental message that paints an oil company as the bad guys. What ecological considerations do the good guys also ignore?
“Creech” seems to have a need to inhabit a protective “shell”. Some real-world creatures, like the hermit crab, exhibit similar behavior. What other animals can you think of that also seek shelter?