Rental Review: Love and Monsters

I had been waiting for Love and Monsters to drop to a reasonable rental price (there was no way I was paying $20 to watch this one time) and now that it finally did I can say that I made the right decision. It’s not a masterpiece, but it is a thoroughly entertaining, if uneven action adventure that’s worth checking out if you’re interested.

Basic Synopsis: Seven years after giant, mutated monsters rose to the top of the food chain and the remnants of humanity went underground to survive, Joel (Dylan O’Brien) decides to leave the safety of his bunker and embark on an 80-mile trek to reunite with Aimee (Jessica Henwick), the woman he loves.

First Things First: It’s good that Love and Monsters has such a strong lead because the movie doesn’t really flesh out any other characters. Even the most prominent supporting characters, Clyde and Minnow (Michael Rooker and Ariana Greenblatt) are barely explored outside of a few lines about their pasts. In fact, Boy, a dog Joel encounters early on in the story, is the second most developed character in the movie (which isn’t that much of a complaint as Boy is the best movie dog since Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood‘s Brandy). The film’s focus is almost entirely on Joel, and luckily O’Brien gives him more than enough charm to carry Love and Monsters through its weakest moments.

Second Things Second: Love and Monsters may not completely live up to the first half of its title, as the romance isn’t in much of the movie, but it definitely has a whole bunch of monsters. Giant ants, centipedes, and frogs (or toads) oh my! Each big beastie looks cool and/or creepy, and aside from a few shots here and there, the visual effects behind them work well enough. My highlight was the one in the film’s climax, even though it ended up playing a part in one of the cheesiest scenes of 2020.

Quick Question: Was Joel a reference to the action adventure survival horror video game, The Last of Us? He shares the same first name as the game’s player character, and at one point wears a t-shirt with palm trees and a sunset on them that looks quite similar to one that series’ other protagonist, Ellie prominently wore. Just thinking out loud here.

Biggest Complaint: Love and Monster’s tone is a little all over the place. At times it’s outright goofy, but it occasionally throws in these emotional or more serious beats that kinda come out of nowhere, a couple of which are far funnier than they were probably intended to be. They aren’t enough to ruin Love and Monsters, but they keep it from achieving the greatness it could have had without them.

Favorite Line: “Dear Aimee, it’s not looking good.”

Does The Dog Survive? (light spoilers): Boy makes it through Love and Monsters alive and well. 

Final Thoughts: Love and Monsters is pretty much what I expected it to be: an enjoyable adventure flick with a bunch of giant creatures. If you were thinking about watching it, I’d say give it a shot.

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