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I was slightly curious about the Monster Trucks movie ever since I heard that it was created because of a 4 year old’s idea. I also heard that it was massively over budget and was expected to lose a ton of money before it even opened. I filed it into “check out on Redbox or Amazon Prime someday” and then forgot all about it.
Until last night.
Free Pajama Movie Night
The previous night, my wife stumbled upon a Facebook post saying a local(ish) theater was having a free movie night for anyone who dressed in pajamas, and if you got your picture for their Facebook page you got a free large popcorn. There are four of us in our family, and if you take the prices of an evening movie plus the popcorns, you’re looking at what would normally cost us between $55 and $60… for free. I figured this was worth throwing on some pajama pants, so the next night we got dressed off and headed to the theater.
We planned to see the animated movie SING, since it was animated and our two-year-old would enjoy it. This would be his first trip to the theater and the first for the four of us all together. It’s hard to justify paying that much when we can watch at home for free or $1.50.
We arrived, and quickly found out we weren’t the only ones to think this was a good deal. Here’s half the line just to get in:
We were 3 people away from our tickets when they announced SING was sold out. The only other kid-friendly movie was A Dog’s Purpose, which was guaranteed to be sad. Then we spotted an opening for Monster Trucks, which was starting in 2 hours (which is like 4 hours when you have a two-year-old). We grabbed the tickets, and then went to kill time and our stomachs at Waffle House.
Monster Trucks – The Movie
A quick disclaimer: If I watched this movie by myself, at home on the couch, I might have been mildly amused, but that’s about it. I realize this is not a movie with deep meaning and you can’t expect to really gain anything from it. However, seeing this in a packed theater with a very loud audience that was laughing and cheering was AWESOME.
Seriously, everybody there was having a great time. I tend to hit up movies a month after they’re out when there’s nobody else there, so I had almost forgotten what It’s like to have a full place like that. The audience for this movie is clearly kids, and it is pretty much perfect for them.
The plot is pretty weak. A greedy oil company unearths 3 monsters, and one of them makes a home out of Tripp’s truck. Tripp is a… um… “high school student” despite looking at least 25. Some bad guys come looking for the creature, named Creech now, and Tripp does his best to avoid them and get the monsters back home. There’s also a girl involved, who apparently is in the movie for some reason.
The plot doesn’t have any more than that, and it doesn’t need to. The rest is just fun, crazy driving and police chases, mixed in with some action-sequences that will remind you of the things you would dream up if you were a kid. The truck climbing up walls and “jumping” from roof to roof? Sure! The monster reaching out and “tripping” the other bad trucks? Why not?
At one point, the girl uses her phone to track Tripp’s truck, and I briefly though “that’s not very realistic” before I realized that this entire movie is about literal monsters driving trucks. So all the other plot holes and nonsense gets a pass from me.
There is one part that they try to go deep on, before forgetting about it or ignoring it. And that’s with Tripp’s relationship with his dad, who is a pretty bad guy. I was really glad they didn’t have some sort of redemption there, and that Tripp learns it’s his step-dad who’s actually the good one, and his real dad deserves to be forgotten about. That kind of thing doesn’t make it into a movie very often.
The special effects are great, and there’s no shortage on action. There are a few scenes at the beginning that could be slightly scary for young ones, but my two-year-old did find and would seriously not shut up about the movie the entire ride home or this morning.
If you’re going to this as adult, you might not find a ton of joy in what’s actually going on in the movie. But I hope you can find the joy in your kids loving it, and having a great time watching it. For me, it was an awesome to see them having a blast through the whole thing.
This currently is getting about a 5 out of 10 on IMDB. If kids were the ones writing the reviews, that would be a lot higher.