Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Canada/USA, 2020. Paramount Pictures, Entertainment One, 21 Laps Entertainment. Story by Brian Duffield, Screenplay by Brian Duffield, Matthew Robinson. Cinematography by Lachlan Milne. Produced by Dan Cohen, Shawn Levy. Music by Marco Beltrami, Marcus Trumpp. Production Design by Dan Hennah. Costume Design by Luis Sequeira. Film Editing by Debbie Berman, Nancy Richardson.
Oh yay, another post-apocalyptic movie. Comic book fans and lovers of ironic dystopian fiction will have a good time watching this energetic and respectable, if not unforgettable, monster movie. After humans sent rockets into space to destroy an asteroid heading to destroy us, the chemicals fell back on to the planet and made cold-blooded animals grow into giant monsters. The majority of the human population has been killed by giant frogs and lizards and survivors have gone underground to form uncomfortably squishy colonies in which living space is shared and roles are meted out according to skills. Dylan O’Brien’s Joel is the cook for his own group, lonely and distraught thanks to the fact that the girl he fell in love with before the world ended is living in another colony and he can only speak to her via ham radio. Joel has an issue with bravery, he freezes in place when he is scared and can’t be of any use fighting the bad guys on the surface, but he decides to bite the bullet and face his worst fears, leaving his group to travel across a treacherous landscape in search of his lady love. Along the way he and his canine companion are almost destroyed by some impressively created monsters (imagine Annihilation for kids) but thanks to some lucky near misses and smart maneuverings, they make it to their destination. Unfortunately that is the not the end of the journey, not emotionally and not in terms of getting them out of this sticky situation, as Joel has to fight the worst monster of all, human kind, to keep his loved ones safe. The film doesn’t overdo its blood lust, scattering a healthy number of action sequences throughout and avoiding any kind of messy, noisy ending. It’s also never as scary or exciting as it is imaginative and builds to an ending that doesn’t feel earned (particularly in its optimism).
Academy Award Nomination: Best Visual Effects