Monsters ****


“Monsters” really took me by surprise.  I was not expecting a film this good.  It is rare to see a science fiction film about a possible alien invasion where the main focus is not on the effects or the action but on the particular people who are caught in the middle of the situation. 

The story is oddly similar to recent movies like “District 9” and “Skyline”, but unlike those films it is not dominated by large scale action sequences and violence.  Alien creatures have landed in Mexico and the entire country has been quarantined.  Massive walls have been erected along the borders of the country.  Inside the walls is referred to as the infected zone. 

This where we meet a photographer named Andrew.  He has come to the area in hopes of photographing the creatures and the resulting damage that has been caused by fighting with them.  He eventually finds himself tasked with getting the daughter of the president of the company that he works for, out of the country immediately.  This is where we meet Samantha.  Most of the movie is following them as they trek across the infected zone by land, sea and train.  

Along the way we get to see a lot of devastation to a once peaceful and beautiful looking landscape.  Amazingly enough, most of the glimpses we get of the actual combat is from TV screens in the backgrounds.  Most scenes are focused on the quiet bond that slowly starts to develop between the two leads as they navigate their way home. 

The creatures themselves, when we do see them, are nothing like the drooling monsters we have grown accustomed to seeing on film.  They are massive in size, but glide across the land smoothly and with grace.  Their true purpose on our planet remains a mystery but the final scenes suggest that it is not to exterminate us.  The army on the other hand seem to be engaging them at all times. 

The director is Gareth Edwards, a person whose work I am not familiar with.  Some how he has produced this film with a budget of 500,000 dollars.  That makes me curious as to how a film this great can cost a fraction of what it cost to make an awful film like “The Day The Earth Stood Still”.

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