Sunday, September 28, 2014

Monsters (2010)

Usually, synopses are pretty accurate. Not always, but usually.  Netflix has Monsters listed as an alien-invasion movie, but it’s not at all what I expected.  Instead of aliens coming in with guns blaring, it’s more of the invasive species type.  According to the movie’s timeline, a probe was sent out into space.  It returned with some sort of aliens.  When the probe crashed in Mexico, said aliens begin to multiply.  The entire northern part of Mexico is now quarantined.

Andrew Kaulder is a photojournalist who’s suddenly tasked with finding Samantha Wynden  and getting her the heck out of Mexico and back to the United States.  He wants to stay, as he’s in the area because of the monsters.  Getting the right photograph pays well.  However, Sam is the boss’s daughter, making her the priority.  So, he gets her to the coast only to find that it costs $5,000 to buy a ferry ticket back to the United States.

This isn’t a big problem at first.  Then, Andrew gets drunk, which leads to him getting drunk.  This gives a one-night stand the opportunity to steal their passports.  Now, Sam has to give up her engagement ring to get both of them home by land, which is a lot more dangerous.  This leads to a several-day journey where they survive and bond.  We learn about Sam and Andrew and those that are waiting for them at home.

I should warn you that the movie starts with the story’s last scene, which does kind of give things away.  I’m not crazy about this kind of movie, but I was able to get past it.  My big issue was that I was expecting more from the aliens.  Yes, they’re an ever-present threat, but they seem to only come out at night.  The only time you see them during the day is when they’re dead.  Mostly, this is done to add to the suspense.  You can’t quite see all of them, but you get to see enough that you no there might be trouble.  There are maybe two or three scenes where we get some suspense.

Instead, the movie is more about the two people that are being drawn closer together by shared risk.  Andrew is down there basically on business.  We never really find out why Sam is there.  They’re the opposites that eventually attract.

I did like watching the movie.  As a movie, it’s an interesting way to spend 93 minutes.  There is room for potential.  Very few are given about the aliens.  People will comment on mating habits and stuff, but that’s about it.  We don’t find out which planet they come from.  (It’s implied that they’re from within our own solar system.)  I don’t think they were even given a name.

The angle of an invasive species could have worked well against the backdrop of Mexico and the issue of illegal immigration.  For that matter, an invasive species could have worked well in its own right, showing us what happens when something comes in and displaces the local species.  Not much was really done in either regard.  We have a wall between the U.S. and Mexico that serves as a finish line, but that’s really about it.

IMDb shows Monsters: Dark Continent with a release date of November 28, 2014 in the UK, but it looks like there’s very little connection between the two movies.  The directors and writers are different.  I’m not sure what the story will be with that, but I would be interested in seeing it when I get the chance.

Official site

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