There are monsters. There are trucks. There are monsters inside trucks.
Ta-dah! We give you “Monster Trucks.”
A simple concept.
Simple-minded, that is.
What we’ve got is a lower-rent variation on the Transformers template. A sentient vehicle bonds with a rebellious teen (Lucas Till), and away they go on a series of high-speed CG-enabled chases involving lots of squealing tires and catapulting trucks whose resale value drops to next to nothing when they spectacularly crash-land.
However, it’s not all mindless fun and vroom-vroom games, as there is a way-obvious environmental message underlying the vroom vroom.
The monsters — rubbery ugly-as-sin, multi-tentacled critters — are peaceable inhabitants of a vast underground lake that — poor them — lies atop an even more vast pool of oil. A rapacious drilling outfit run by an odious executive played with maximum smarm by Rob Lowe aims to drill right down through the creatures’ home to get his mitts on the black gold, eradicating them in the process. Feel free to boo here, especially since lower-than-low Lowe is aided and abetted in his badness by a black-clad private-security thug who addresses the monster-befriending boy thusly: “I’ll hurt you, kid.” Mr. Sadist, at your service.
As I said: simple-minded.
The main monster comes up out of the ground, slides its way into the engine compartment of the Till character’s junker pickup and transforms the heap into a wall-climbing rooftop-running super vehicle. Many are the delighted “wahoos!” heard from the kid when that happens.
Literally along for the ride is a brainy girl classmate (Jane Levy) of Till’s character who quickly falls under the lad’s grinning spell.
The main monster communicates in noises that sound like belches. Appropriate for a picture that’s the equivalent of a cinematic burp: gassy and inconsequential.
☆ 1/2 out of 5
Cast: Lucas Till, Jane Levy, Barry Pepper, Thomas Lennon, Rob Lowe.
Director: Chris Wedge.
Running time: 1:44.
Rated: PG, for action, peril, brief scary images and some rude humor.