“Monster Trucks”: On the Road to Being a Cult Classic

Caitlin Roth, Staff Reporter

If I could sum up my experience with the new film “Monster Trucks,” I would like to borrow the words of the wise kid sitting next to me in the crowded theater, “What is this?” What is this indeed. In all my years of movie going, no film has ever given me such mixed emotions. “Monster Trucks” is a $125 million idea straight from the mind of a producer’s four-year-old child (literally) about monsters in trucks. And that’s about it.

“Monster Trucks” is a difficult movie to explain, but I will try my best. The film opens on Rob Lowe, playing the character of “CEO of evil oil company with the worst Southern accent in cinematic history,” drilling for oil until an unexpected problem arises. Between the ground and the oil pocket is a vast lake with the possibility of containing life. Lowe, subtly showing you he’s the bad guy, says to just keep drilling anyway. Instead of hitting oil, three squid-looking monsters pop out and blow up the entire oil plant. Two are caught and sent away to a lab for testing, while one escapes.

Cut to stereotypical hot young Hollywood blonde actor #27, a.k.a Lucas Till. He’s cool. He’s hot. He’s living in North Dakota. His name is Tripp. But do you know what Tripp doesn’t have? A hot set of wheels. Tripp works part time in a junkyard, trying to build his own truck. But one night, everything changes because one of the giant octopus monsters from the oil drilling accident is in the junkyard. The creature, that Tripp creatively names “Creech,” has some super powers from drinking oil that allows him to basically become a car engine, because this is a movie, and logic does not matter. So they drive around a lot and have a grand old time.

But wait, there’s more! The evil oil company needs to track down the monster so they can dispose of it and erase all evidence of its existence. Also, the two they have in captivity conveniently are the parents of Tripp’s monster friend. So Tripp has to free the two parent monsters, reunite them with their baby, and then take them back to their underground home.

This is literally the first 30 minutes of the movie, filled to the brim with a whirlwind of dizzying chase scenes and bright flashy colors. If you feel exhausted from just reading the synopsis of “Monster Trucks,” imagine sitting through runtime of 1 hour and 45 minutes.

However, to my surprise, I would recommend this movie. I walked into “Monster Trucks” ready to tear it apart, expecting it to be the worst movie I will ever see. To be completely honest with you, it really was not all that bad. It may be my love for “so bad it’s good” cinema, or possibly I just needed something light-hearted after seeing the very depressing “A Monster Calls,” but I physically cannot dislike this movie. It is in no way good, but there still is something endearing and entertaining about it that I cannot help but admire.

With this film’s terrible acting, nonsensical plot, and garbage CGI effects, I could see “Monster Trucks” becoming a cult classic years down the road.  For the kids, the movie is pure, unadulterated fun. For us, it is just fun to bash with a group of friends on movie night.

If “so bad it’s good” cinema isn’t your forte, at least the monster in “Monster Trucks” is very cute. “Creech” is a mixture between a squid, an octopus, a beluga whale, and a giant big glob of squishy stuff. He has many human-like qualities, like smiling, waving, and just flopping around on land. “Creech” is just basically a subterranean dog, whose antics even made me, a miserable cinema critic, go “hey that’s pretty cute.”

But then again, something I realized during “Monster Trucks” is that this is a movie created by an idea from a four-year-old, and obviously is geared toward that age group. As I watched children leave the theater with smiles on their faces, praising the movie and thanking their parents for taking them, I realized maybe it did not matter if “Monster Trucks” was good or bad. Maybe all that mattered is that families can see a movie together and have a genuine good time. Because if children, the target audience this movie is geared towards, enjoyed themselves and experienced even a little bit of happiness, than who am I to judge.

“Monster Trucks” is not a good movie in any sense, but it still has enough charm and cheesiness to be entertaining. However, it’s all how you view it too. If you go into this movie about octopus monsters in trucks thinking it is going to be the best picture nominee at the Oscars, then obviously you will be disappointed. Maybe it’s just the existential crisis I’m having while writing this, but I view “Monster Trucks” as an important life allegory: to not take yourself so seriously, to relax and enjoy a stupid movie once in awhile, and to let your inner kid shine.

But then again, what do I know. I’m just a film critic.