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Mark Kermode | 15:38 UK time, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

When you go see a monster movie, say, Gareth Edward's Monsters, are your expectations hyped beyond the (CGI) reality? Or do you get what you expect? Are the monsters ever big enough? Or are they, frankly, not quite monstrous enough?

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  • Comment number 1.

    Went to see monsters on the opening friday night after listerning and watching your interviews with Gareth Edwards on the culture show and 5 live and found it just as interesting as the tales behind the scenes of the making of.

    Yes there were some quite notable similarities with other monster movies like district 9, cloverfield, jarrassic park, war of the worlds, and post-apocalyptic films such as apocalypse now, the road, 28 days/weeks later etc.

    Plus is being the second monster movie to come out of the small budget cubboard in quick succession of skyline, i felt there were alot of arrows pointing in the possible 'cheap rip off' direction regardless of all the 5 star reveiws.

    But yet it was, what i like to call a really good 'hidden gem' of a movie. Although its no longer hidden now and i hope it goes on to reach great success. The people i went to see monsters with hadn't heard of it but they liked it as well. I especially really liked the music by Jon Hopkins. I looked up his other music albums as well the the monsters soundtrack the moment i got home and am looking to get his three CD albums over xmas.

    I would definitely recommend this film to anyone but just pitch it to them as if it were a monster movie directed by someone the likes of sam mendes for example. Also anyone else reading this, buy Jon Hopkins music. if your into the atmospheric syth music the likes of brian eno and some vangelis for example its well worth the purchace.

  • Comment number 2.

    The Trailer:
    I saw the trailer before the movie, and I must say it is about one of the worst and most misleading trailers I have ever seen. You get the feeling you are going to watch a Horror movie with alien monsters, and that is not the case!
    The movie:
    I forgot really fast that I was expecting a horror monster movie, and that was good. The thing about it I enjoyed most is the relaxed and believable dialogue trough the entire movie, not like skyline for example :).
    the special effects and the drama of those worked very well too. Moviemakers with all this new CGI technology forget the oldest trick in the book, if you are going to make aliens, monsters or other scary strange stuff, leave something for the audiences imagination so it is their brain that complete the picture, and that way making it much more realistic, scary, believable and entertaining.
    You got this very natural and relaxed feeling about the movie that makes it very believable and entertaining. The only problem I got with the movie is the last suspense/love monster scene at the gas station, I feel it was unnecessary and way too long. Like he wanted to show the monsters sensitive and curious nature. I feel it is completely unnecessary at this point in the movie. But all in all a great movie, 6 out of 6 stars, and more believable dialogue in movies, and less plastic fantastic CGI. Thank You!

  • Comment number 3.

    I have not yet seen Monsters I will hopefully will go to see it soon. I am aware that the Monsters are in the background and that the main focus of the film will be the characters but hopefully there should be a couple of good action set pieces with the Monsters.

  • Comment number 4.

    I haven't had the chance to see Monsters yet but just watched the trailer on Youtube & read alot of comments on the video. There are many people complaining about the lack of action, that you don't get to see the monsters, that it's incredibly dull and so on and so on (all this said with less panache & more profanity) I don't think it is being promoted correctly as the trailer gives the impression that it's just another monster movie where one can just switch off & watch things blow up, whereas from what the Doctor has said it is a much more subtle, intelligent, character driven film. Hopefully I'll get to see it soon as I'd much rather watch an indie road movie with monsters in the background than waste another 2 hours of my life on a cliched yawnfest like Cloverfield.

  • Comment number 5.

    I saw Monsters at the Edinburgh International Film Festival back in June, in order to write a piece for a magazine on the Night Moves horror strand. Every other film I'd seen in that series had been a disappointment, but then I inveigled my way into an industry Q&A with Gareth Edwards, where he thoroughly whet my appetite. In fact, I went and paid for a ticket. Clearly I went in with as impartial yet well-informed an expectation as possible - and was utterly delighted.

    Sorry to bring the subject back to budget, but it's worth considering that for one Cloverfield we could have 50 Monsters (and for a paltry Transformers 2, we'd get 400). In a better world than ours, that would happen. Sadly, the fact that Monsters is a more intelligent, humanistic (neo-realistic!?) film than the typical effects blockbuster is what means we will get a dozen Bay abortions for every thing like this. To state the obvious. Mike Leigh doesn't sell to a mass market like Michael Bay. If Monsters doesn't do well, let's put it down to that, rather than a mismatch between marketing hype and the work delivered. And if anyone is embittered by it not meeting their expectations, we can still be satisfied that they have had a slight education in the less-shallow possibilities of cinema.

  • Comment number 6.

    I went into Monsters expecting just that 'a monster movie' however after about 5 minutes I could tell that it was going to be a completely different film. Being a fan of Herzog and Tarkovsky I immediately embraced the cinematography of the film and also the mystery behind the creatures. I have since described it as an 'art house blockbuster' and ranks up there as one of my favourite films of the year. The title may be whats confusing the public but to be honest if the film was called 'People' it doubt it would have done as well.

  • Comment number 7.

    I got to see Monsters in the summer, at the 2010 Edinburgh Film Festival. Following the screening there was a Q and A with Gareth Edwards, Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able. Being as this was way before the seismic impact of the film in the media, I had no idea about the history of the production or the background of Edwards and his crew.
    In fact, my layman's induction to the film was the short summary in the festival guide. I didn't have a burning desire to see the film, nor did I expect a great deal from it. I could only fit two films into my limited schedule, so I randomly picked The People Vs. George Lucas and Monsters. With the latter, I was expecting a kind of light-hearted, financially anaemic retread of the likes of Cloverfield.
    However, I was utterly astonished at how unique it was for its genre, how technically brilliant it was, and how terrfic the performances were from the two leads. As the noble doc states, this belongs in a Mike Leigh or John Cassavetes oeuvre, being as it is a story about human beings and life. I very much want to see it again. Apart from one or two niggles I had, it is an exceptionally crafted piece of work.

  • Comment number 8.

    I saw Monsters at the weekend and pretty much got the movie I was expecting. I enjoyed it rather more than my friends, but perhaps that's because I'd read and heard more about the sort of film it was likely to be.

    Does it deserve all the praise and hype that it's received. Well, yes and no. In terms of it being the director's first feature and what he's managed to get up on the screen. Then, yes. He deserves all the praise he gets. The lead actors are likeable, the CGI works just fine and it never feels like it's dominating the film.

    Personally, I liked the "love-scene" because in most of these movies, the creatures tend to be portrayed as either good or evil. Here to help us, or kill us. Monsters, simply showed the creatures as other organisms, wandering through their environment and doing what all living this do. There was a rather simple beauty to this scene, which reminded me more of a nature documentary that David Attenborough might do the voice over for.

    However, I don't think that the film was without flaws. The script (or apparent lack of) seemed to show through at times, when perhaps the plotting and some of the dialogue could have been more focussed. I also got the impression that there was probably more of this film on the cutting room floor. Oh, and the whole looking at the wall scene was a bit clunky.

    But, I don't want to end on a downer because I think it's an interesting movie and I look forward to seeing Gareth's next film.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hello Dr K.

    I avoided seeing the trailer and reading any reviews before I watched the film at my local cinema, although I was aware that it had received very good ones.

    I'm very surprised at how positive the reviews have been to be honest, not because I was disappointed at the lack of action or monsters (because I wasn't) and not because of the production values (it is visually and aurally impressive and creates a quite convincing landscape) but because the characters are not likable at all and the script is at times cringe-worthy. For a romantic drama the focus is on the characters and the script, especially with a film like 'Monsters' where the plot is sparse and contains awkward setups.

    I think everyone is getting carried away with the small budget and homemade-manner of the creation of the special effects. Surely that should have no effect at all on your opinion of the film.

    -Why didn't they go by plane?
    -Didn't you see the plot unfold in-front of you in the first 5 minutes?
    -Why didn't they continue in the 4x4 rather than on foot?
    -How would 150 metre floating aliens be stopped by a small wall, especially one with massive gaps?
    -Did anyone else wince when he said "You know, it's different looking at America from the outside - in". Oh dear!

    Keep up the great work

  • Comment number 10.

    Here in Germany there is no Monsters hype. Actually, there is no Monsters nothing whatsoever.

    What I have seen so far reminded me of Distrct 9, at least in terms of style, 'realism' (in the sense of 'they made a documentary so this could happen to us'-realism') and the fact that people get quickly used to unusual circumstances.

    So, I expect a well told story and an unusual approach to an alien invasion. Even it it was a copy District 9 - would be alright, since this was one of my last year's favourites.

    The most remarkable advertising for the film was Mr Edward's own comment himself who said (something like):
    When people care about realistic CGI why wouldn't they care about realistic characters and stories?

    I couldn't agree more. When a director sais something like that - his film has to be seen. No matter what.

  • Comment number 11.

    I saw it, but a monster crazy friend had already seen it and told me as a monster filmed it sucked and it was no District 9. So I had low expectations, but I enjoyed it and it reminded me abit of 'Walkabout'in that you have these fish out of water westerns wandering through a surreal but compeling environment that has it's own rules, and forces them, to an extant, to question their world view.

  • Comment number 12.

    I've just got another legendary low-budget "monster" movie - COLIN. I'm looking forward to both with equal anticipation. The current world fiancial situation may just prove an impetus to fledgling film-makers who are daunted by the prospect of financing a feature.

  • Comment number 13.

    I was thinking of seeing it but have been put off by VERY negative feedback form literally 8 or 9 people who saw it. Not a single positive review from friends. I ended up seeing The American instead which I enjoyed thoroughly. I now wonder though if they all just went in expecting something else? Regardless they all hated it.

  • Comment number 14.

    Dr K I don't know if you have seen this already but I'll share it anyway. A bbc report on Werner Hertzog's 3D caving documentary.

  • Comment number 15.

    I thought the film was fantastic, but I was warned and had always expected a road movie that happened to include monsters in it. The exotic, unfamiliar and alien location shooting was a perfect setting for the guerilla style film-making (borderline social realist/ documentary aesthetic). Combining the epic concept with intimate execution never ceases to profoundly impress (especially in the last sequence, exemplifying and juxtaposing the grand creature SFX with the close emotional - if light - study of the protagonists). If such a thing as an independent blockbuster exists - this is it. It's time to put some thought (the failure of the American dream with all its social/ political subtext) and feeling (the real-life fleeting 'almost-romance') back into accessible popular cinema.

  • Comment number 16.

    Here is my answer.
    I saw this at Frightfest and knew nothing about it other than Gareth Edwards had done all the effects himself.
    The slight concern was that it would end up being a shark vs octopus kind of film. Thankfully all fears were laid to rest after the opening sequence and what we were treated to was a very subtle piece of filmmaking that used CGI the way it should be used, as a storytelling device and not a firework display. Tremendous stuff. Avatar, schmavatar.

  • Comment number 17.

    I first heard of Monsters when it was mentioned here several weeks ago so I knew exactly what to expect. I still didn't like it. Being a lazy bum, I'll just quote myself:

    "It's an interesting premise: boy meets girl in a world overrun by monsters, with monsters serving only as a backdrop and a means to add dramatic tension. Unfortunately, it falls way short both as a romantic drama and a monster movie.

    But hey, at least it has a scene of two giant squids having tentacle sex."

    The whole drama part was especially bad and unconvincing for me. I didn't care for the characters at all, and given their uninspired interaction throughout the film, I couldn't understand why they would care about each other either.

    In a way, it reminded me of Garden State, another hollow film that wanted to be cool, profound and "indie", but lacked a director with enough talent to put some weight behind those aspirations. Garden State was an abomination, however. Monsters isn't quite that bad, but I have no desire to ever see it again.

  • Comment number 18.

    More Mike Leigh than Michael Bay? I think I can live with that.

    But it brings up the question of whether you should judge a movie solely on its own terms, or if you should include the marketing department as part of the overall filmmaking team, and then punish the film in our reviews for a campaign that doesn't deliver on its promise. What makes it harder to separate the two is that very often the cast and crew all have to stand by what could be a misleading campaign, as part of the 'collective responsibility' of the promotional tour, and are only able to fess up to the disconnect long after. I mean, I'm right in assuming Matthew Goode didn't say Leap Year was crap *while* promoting it, right?

  • Comment number 19.

    I have seen Monsters and I did really enjoy it. Due to my nerdish leanings I had done a lot of reading about the movie before I actually saw it so I'm probably not the best for the "punter's eye view". I can't remember where the quote came from but I remember reading a description a few months back that packaged the film as being a middle ground between the wallop of Cloverfield (which I liked) and the pacing of Stalker (which everybody should like). What surprised me, especially in the later scenes, was how much it reminded me of Jurassic Park. While none of these comparisons really ring true for what is a wholly original work (I've heard Before Sunrise thrown into the mix aswell) they gave me good reason to not expect anything too standard.

    In a time where all things genre (especially anything even faintly horror related) are homogenised to the point of blurring into one another, being "not too standard" was reason enough to get excited and, fortunately for me, the film itself turned out to be worth the excitement. While it is certainly not the kind of monster mash up that will suit everybody it is completely worthy of a wide release and I think there are still enough of us out there in the world who really appreciate the often forgotten magic of a trip to the cinema to see something that isn't exactly what you expected and is all the better for it.

  • Comment number 20.

    I haven't seen Monsters yet so the only comment I can give at this stage is, great tie.

  • Comment number 21.

    I could only take about 40 minutes of this before deciding I had better things to do. Unlikeable characters & a story that went at a snail's pace. Dull.

  • Comment number 22.

    I saw this movie and loved it. It wasn't quite what I expected, although I knew you didn't seethe 'monster' fully until the end.

    I found there were plenty of monsters in this movie, it was just the creatures you don't see much of.

    A truly beautiful film, I frankly can't wait to see what Edwards does next.

  • Comment number 23.

    I went to see Monsters the other night and I thought it was excellent and a very original piece of film making. It was more or less what I had expected because I had read quite a lot about it beforehand. But if I was an "every day" film-goer and had gone to see it because I saw the posters then I may have been disappointed as they sell it as an out-and-out monster movie, which it most certainly isn't. I find a lot of film advertising to be problematic in this way. Some trailers I see on TV will sell a film as something it isn't. I remember you saying how someone had labelled Slumdog Millionaire as the 'feel good movie of the year' when it came out and that was the quote stamped on the posters. I know that film studios and distributors want to appeal to the widest possible audience but it often results in manipulative advertising.

  • Comment number 24.

    I read all the reviews and was looking forward to it. I knew all the back ground of how it was made and thought wow this had to be good.

    After watching it i cant see what all the hype was about i found it very boring, after halfway through i wasnt going to watch the rest.

    The characters were fine and when you did see a monster it was a long wait and not worth it. People have different opinions but district 9 was a much better movie than this and found this very slow and boring.

  • Comment number 25.

    I saw it at the Edinburgh Film festival. I'd seen a few clips of it here and there and it looked like an intriguing film. It wasn't clear, then, whether it was Godzilla or something else. I am glad it turned out to be something else.

    I found it satisfying and subtle.

    A few people have said that they didn't like it because "Where were the monsters?" These are the people who seemed to think it was going to be Godzilla redux. I've seen a few people refuse to go see it because they've seen the reviews and, frankly, they would prefer to see Armageddon again.

    I've called a few of my geeky pals idiots as a result.

    As a final note. It's very weird seeing all the commentary about this film now. Because I saw it at the film festival I can only look on with some bemusement at some of the reviews which seem to think this film has sprung out of nowhere. It hasn't.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hello to everyone else in this thread that was obviously in the same showing as me at the EFF!

    At the Q&A do you remember how sloshed Gareth Edwards was?

  • Comment number 27.

    i was fortunate enough to see a preview of monsters before the hype built up. i really enjoyed the film but it felt as if the monsters where never really that important to the film, as i thought before hand. they are only there to give some sense of jeopardy about moving through 'the infected zone', so it could have been placed by a war or some other nasty thing and the film would have been pretty much the same.

    there are a great many problems with the film and i personally could tell that there was little direction, however the characters, whom the whole film revolves around, are very likable and although the plot is very flimsy i don't really care. there is a lot of suspense in the film and combined with the beautiful locations where it has been shot it makes for a good, albeit flawed, film.

    this film is a much better way to spend your money that most of the other films that are out there.

  • Comment number 28.

    I saw all the hype about Monsters and was really looking forward to seeing it. I knew, of course, that it was low budget and more about the story of two people than a B-movie with giant creatures wreaking havoc.

    That said however, I found the story to be slow and plodding with no real substance. On the positive side, the dialogue did come across as natural and the cinematography was impressive for such a low budget. But I just didn't buy into the characters and I felt that the story seemed utterly pointless - as were the monsters themselves.

    I had such high hopes and was disappointed by the slow, drawn out progress of what is essentially a road movie. a HUGE anti-climax and I'm afraid I rate it 3/10!

  • Comment number 29.

    Saw it, loved it... though I'd seen and heard enough about it going in not to be surprised that it's not a typical knuckle-dragger action movie (that would've been a very pleasant surprise though).

    I thought it was atmospheric, convincing, slightly moving and rather wonderful.

  • Comment number 30.

    The title of the movie is a clever pun that plays on the expectations of an alien-savvy audience. Because any monstrous behaviour to be found in this film is not of an extraterrestrial origin, but is rather a consequence of human ignorance and blind prejudice.

    I for one was glad to have my own preconceptions whipped into shape by this film, and I enjoyed it immensely.

  • Comment number 31.

    I prepared myself for very little monsters. Got even less than I thought.
    Loved it though, beautiful ending. The girls I saw it with expected more action and aliens - they loved avatar incidentally - and said it was crap and boring. The guys loved it.

  • Comment number 32.

    Monsters - based on what I've heard - strikes me as a piece which was written around its budget.

    Doctor Who smacks of that as well - why else set most of the stories about a time & space traveller on Earth!?

  • Comment number 33.

    Dr K I want to know your thoughts on A Serbian Film!! If any film is worthy of debate (following numerous recent pieces you've done that look back at the video nasties era) then surely A Serbian Film IS that film. I'm very surprised you haven't blogged about it yet, what with you being the Master of the Macabre. Let us know your thoughts please. Would be very interesting, considering it was pulled from Frightfest by Westminster Council, so I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on the four minutes worth of censorship it's gone through.

    As for Monsters, I loved it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Monsters is a good film but not a great one. When micro budget movies come out, the press use that as a cute little angle to romantisize and hype the entire production. It was exactly what expected (though just how incidental the monsters actually were suprised me). If you really want believable dialog and a good character study / romance, watch 'In Search Of A Midnight Kiss" - it is easily the better film. If the post apocalpse vibe is more your thing - The Road wins out. I'm not sure the genre mesh was as entirely successful as Total Film would have you believe... PS can you read this one out Mark, I'm so totally right. Grats.

  • Comment number 35.

    Whenever I read lots & lots of very positive reviews of a film (and not in the tabloids or any other rags) I tend to believe that the film in question has something more to it than the tedious boredom of the latest Hollywood mega-budget. It simply cannot have that many positive reviews without having even a shread of characterisation. There are a few, but not many.
    With Monsters, I knew there was going to be more than just special effects to this film and as a result went into thinking accordingly. I was even more pleasently suprised than I had hoped to be.
    For some reason as well, it reminded me of Right at your Door an awful lot, another film i liked.

  • Comment number 36.

    Iraq? Don't you mean 9/11? Last week you were hell bent on mixing up Colin Firth with Colin Farrell? I hope you're not loosing your touch old bean.

  • Comment number 37.

    I saw Monsters last weekend. The budget is irrelevant, this was a highly credible piece of film-making. I loved the whole vibe of the film and wasn't bothered by the lack of Monsters, I was more interested in how Edwards had created such a realistic setting in which the presence of Monsters could be believable (even if we don't see that much of them. No bad thing really). The only thing that concerned me was the lack of a decent script. Improvisation has its charms - up to a point - but the inane mumblings of this couple were just a little tedious at times. I couldn't quite develop enough sympathy for the leads, otherwise this would have deserved 5 stars. It's three and a half from me though.

  • Comment number 38.

    I think there is a slight mis-selling issue. If I buy a tin with the word Beans on the label, I am actually expecting the tin to contain beans, not carrots, and if it contains carrots I'm going to be disappointed, regardless of how wonderful the carrots might be. The film is called Monsters and it doesn't have enough monsters in it to live up to its own title. Not my expectations of what the film should be, not what I want the film to be like - but if it's calling itself Monsters there'd better be some monsters in it.

    That said, I did rather like Monsters: it's an interesting little movie and perfectly well done although I wasn't massively interested in either of the two main characters. But if they'd called it Monsters: A Love Story, or In A World Of Monsters... the disjunct between what the movie purports to be and what it actually is might have been smaller.

  • Comment number 39.

    OK, I get it. The "monsters" are us, not the aliens. Snore..... haven't seen it yet, but I will wait for the DVD. However, as much as I love a good monster movie, I know I won't see much of them in this.

    In terms of CGI, I think we're still in a stage where the moviemakers are too enamoured of what is achievable, so they throw everything at us. In the right place, it's fine: Jackson's "King Kong" for example, or "Lord of the Rings", where the work goes into creating a believable world or characters. But when it comes to scary, it's a different matter: I think it was Christopher Lee who said that the scariest thing you can see on screen is a half-open door. Leaving the audience to use their own imagination is a far more effective technique than showing the Monster in all its glory: remember the disappointment in the final scenes of "Alien", where you realise it's just a man in a suit, after all the half-glimpsed thrills of the previous hour? Or going further back, the studio's ruining of Jacques Tournier's brilliant "Night of the Demon" by sticking the rubber monster in right at the end?

    I really like Guillermo del Toro's films, and I hear he's about to start work on an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness". This is one of my favourite horror stories of all time, precisely because of what Lovecraft leaves unsaid. Part of me can't wait for the movie, because I'm excited to see what a director of del Toro's vision can do with such material. But part of me is dreading that he'll go overboard on the special effects, and spoil the atmosphere of the original.

  • Comment number 40.

  • Comment number 41.

    I have had the great misfortune to watch Monsters, unfortunately that is a few hours of my life I will Never get back. The movie is ill-conceived, badly executed nonsense. The script, acting, special effects, editing, cinematography, direction, are abysmal, if a 10 year old had came home from school with this as the result of a class project you would still be disapointed. The hype around this film has created an "Emperors New Clothes " syndrome, where people are afaid to say it is bad, so I will say it " It isnt just bad it is Very Bad" . Save your time and money do someting else , your life will be better for not having watched this drivel.

  • Comment number 42.

    Having heard all the hype about this film I was keen to go and see it - but the three people I know who have seen it have all said it was, to put it politely, 'pump'.

    I think all this focus on the budget is nothing more than a marketing ploy - loads of films have budgets far smaller than Monsters, and from what I've heard from the director the idea that this film is aiming to compete against the mega-budget blockbusters is wide of the mark.

    Perhaps this is why many people are coming away from screenings disappointed - the film is being somewhat cynically marketed as a game changing blockbuster when its actually a more thoughtful, subtle and low-key affair.

    As with all films, the budget is irrelevant - the content is key. No one comes out of a film going: "that was rubbish, but then it did have a small budget so I suppose that's ok" or: "that was brilliant, but the big budget kind of diminished the achievement".

    Regardless of budget, a film is either good or it isn't - and that's totally subjective anyway.

  • Comment number 43.

    I saw Monsters last night. I'd read and heard a bit about the movie not being like the trailer so decided to avoid the trailer all together. However, I was really looking forward to it. What was I expecting? Something intruiging, exciting and above all, interesting.

    Have to say that I was a little underwhelmed. This isn't because of any hype, because I avoided it (and to be honest - most of the people I have mentioned it to have never heard of it. So maybe the hype hasn't been as big as a lot of you think).

    The main problem was that I found the characters a little boring, especially Sam. She didn't exactly exude personality. I don't think the characters felt real. Apart from a few brief references to fiancees and estranged children, they didn't really have much backstory. They were unfinished. Maybe that was part of the whole intrigue - there are LOTS of unanswered questions in this movie. Does that give it charm or make it feel incomplete? Not sure.

    I did enjoy it, but I'm thinking 7 out of 10, not more.

  • Comment number 44.

    What a dreadful cliche of a film. Such frustrating viewing as a result! It was beautifully shot but with no chemistry between the characters, a RIDICULOUS plot and very lazy ending. Where are the film makers creating original ideas and interesting chracter studies? Just because District9 managed it and no-one's re-made 10,000 leagues under the sea for while does not excuse this film. The list of films that had been mashed up in this creating is endless. Very dissapointed.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    The Filmstock film festival, which was the greatest independant film festival in the universe (which sadley had its last hurrah in 2009) Had its very own code of conduct very similer to the two Doctors. I think the penalty for any infringement was cruxcifiction. It was like Spartacus one year.

  • Comment number 47.

    Saw it on Friday and was utterly bored. My advice is to watch the trailer and call it a day. All the stunning scenery and wonderful landscapes that Gareth has created are disclosed within the trailer. I felt that Simon Mayo built the ending up to be something of a spectacle and was very disappointed. I kept waiting for something to happen and it never did. When people say that the monsters are ‘in the background’ they mean they are in the background of the story, not the background of the image. We are teased with a few night vision shots on the news but never see the ‘Monster’s at all throughout the whole movie. The trailer does give the cinema goer the wrong impression and I also wonder why the film was shown at ‘frightfest’?
    My hat goes off to Gareth. II could never produce a piece of work anywhere near this level but when the curtains lowered, the first word I uttered to my partner was “dull”. I feel this movie is getting great reviews purely based on the pioneering efforts of its director and the fact it’s taken movie making to a whole new level.

  • Comment number 48.

    You know, there's never gonna be a good time to bring this up but The Big Bad himself, Director General Mark Thompson told Andrew Marr that the BBC website is too big and is gonna be cut by about 25%. So when he says website, does that mean just the main News/Weather/Sport website, or is your blog in the firing line too, Mark?

  • Comment number 49.

    I thought it was very good, but not great. The special effects at the end of the monster's tentacles were a bit ropey, and slightly laughable. It would have been more effective to have seen even less of it. But I liked how he incorporated the battered and poverty-stricken landscape of Mexico into the story. Very inventive and resourceful filmmaking.

    I did have a problem with certain scenes shot at night, particularly when the monster attacks their convoy, and the scene on the river. Everything looked too dark, I couldn't tell what I was looking at or what was going on. It just made me slightly frustrated.

    However its a very promising debut and I look forward to whatever he does next.

  • Comment number 50.

    I saw "Monsters" last week and it was a much better film than I expected. I teach in a Sixth Form College and when I told the students I'd seen it, they said "But isn't it a kids' film?". So much for the publicity!

    The way the film has been marketed is very misleading. The film's title is not also good. It ain't a film about monsters - it's quite a touching and intriguing relationship film, set against a dark background. When the aliens finally appear to us in the final reel, we are drawn into yet another (and also, literally, touching) relationship.

    It's a fascinating independent piece of film-making. Gareth Edwards is to be applauded for his originality, in a year when Indie films triumphed.

  • Comment number 51.

    I personally loved Monsters. I managed to avoid much of the hype machine, and from the first few minutes it was evident that I wouldn't be your typical monster movie. The first give-away was the naturalistic dialogue. Brilliant road movie with anti war sentiments, but I may just prefer intimate dramas to huge action set-piece films.

    Crucially, the restraint in showing the titular creatures lead to them being a more fascinating presence. They weren't even the 'villains' of the piece.

  • Comment number 52.

    The only knowledge I had of the film prior to watching it was its title. My friend suggested we go see it, and I agreed based on the fact that my local independent cinema was showing it (their selection is generally rather good). I hadn't even seen a poster for it until we got inside the cinema, let alone read a review.

    Subsequently I was very impressed. Some truly beautiful cinematography, and main characters who were interesting rather than expendable (as in most monster films). It was also refreshing to see a film with sci-fi elements that didn't have to resort to an all-action finale (see: District 9's rather uninspired ending).

  • Comment number 53.

    I actually found that the fact that the "monsters" appear so briefly in the film actually added the sense of awe I got when you do finally see them up close. It reminded me of a film like Jaws which still has that effect when I watch it.

  • Comment number 54.

    I was expecting the type of film I got, having known a bit about this beforehand. I still think the massive acclaim and 5 star reviews were misleading, and meant that I was expecting to see something really special, which this isn't. I felt the film was okay, and appreciate what was achieved on such a small budget, but for the huge acclaim it's geting everywhere my first thought was that maybe there was another film called Monsters, and that I'd just spent two hours watching the wrong thing. It just wasn't that interesting, the charactors were annoying (especailly the guy), and the journey they were taking was boring. My main issue was that due to the way it was done, I never felt there was any threat from the monsters at all, just they were something the charactors may pass on the way.

  • Comment number 55.

    I saw the movie some time ago, and was glad to see a step slightly backwards, in respect that the monsters where kinda there, but not over done, less is more kinda thing or back to horror movies of yesteryear, Night of the Demon etc...and no it wasn't the movie I expected, I expected worse, ie syfy channel quality, but was happily suprised.

  • Comment number 56.

    Monsters is a film about two refugees attempting to travel across a war torn borderline in hope of asylum. Or that's the film it should have been.

    Id have found it more interesting if it was Mexicans attempting to get to America rather than brats slumming it for a while and running home to daddy.

  • Comment number 57.

    I saw Monsters at the Edinburgh Film Festival (seems to have been a popular screening!) and really enjoyed it. Definitely wasn't what I was expecting but was very well acted and involving from start to finish.

    However, I can understand why people are getting annoyed at the film as a result of the advertising. It reminded me a lot of the response I had to watching the trailer to Slumdog Millionaire. I saw Slumdog at a preview a month before the film was released (and before I'd seen any marketing, trailers etc) and absolutely loved it. However when the advertising campaign kicked into gear with talk of the "feel good film of the decade" I wanted to strangle somebody for completely misrepresenting the tone of the film.

    Since then I've become much more conflicted because the truth is the advertising worked brilliantly. It encouraged many who would very likely have been put off by a more accurate campaign to come out and see a film they subsequently loved too. I wonder whether Monsters might well turn out the same way? I just can't decide if that justifies misleading the filmgoing public in this way or whether it simply shows a lack of respect for the audience?

  • Comment number 58.

    I had heard not to expect an action film and I was warned that I would be dissapointed. When someone tells me it's not very good, I automatically don't believe them and usually end up liking the movie in question. Sometimes just out of spite.

    Not this time unfortunatelly. I found it quite dull. I also felt quite insulted and patronised by the end. Rather than ballet-dancing squids and awe-struck Terrans, they could easily have had a news reporter wander in to shot and proclaim dramatically, "It is not they who are the monsters.......but us!"

    I got what they were trying to do with the film and it worked.............just not for me. Sorry.

  • Comment number 59.

    Personally, I felt it didn't live up to the hype. It was really well made, acted and the effects were great, for what they were. But I just don't know how long it'll be before I revisit it, and rewatchability for me is what it's all about, when movies like this are so highly praised. I've heard all the theories about wars and who the title may be refering to; but come on, even if they are correct, monsters are what we wanted and we hardly got em.

    Oh, and I got a letter in that issue of Total Film. )

  • Comment number 60.

    Did everyone watch a different movie to me? I thought it was one of the worst movies I have seen in a very long time. It was so boring. The acting was wooden and was there a script at all? I was so looking forward to this film and was left uterly dissapointed by every single aspect of it.

  • Comment number 61.

    Watched it in the week, having tried to talk my father out of going to see it, i eventually joined him. I totally agree with Stuart #60, for me there was nothing to enjoy about the film, i found myself looking around the darkened cinema half way through, it's what i image watching Big Brother must be like, watching two stranger who i have no interest in have dull and uninspiring interaction, the two things i seem to remember more than anything else is that the female character had several calls of nature and the same image of a Blackhawk helicopter was seen in far to many shots, but going in different directions.

    I think my father summed it up once the credits rolled and it announced it was directed by "Gareth Edwards" he said "he should stick to rugby"

  • Comment number 62.

    so what if the monsters are few and far between, what this movie really needed was to pause for 5 minutes to develop some less banal dialogue.
    the whole 'controversy' about the lack of Monsters diverts attention away from the lack of chemistry between the actors, the awful dialogue and what is basically current travel channel cinematography.
    still i enjoyed it once i accepted its faults...

  • Comment number 63.

    What I really liked about this film were the background details. The handpainted wall of the monsters versus the US (very much like the murals you may see in Northern Ireland) was in your face, but set the scene. I watched out, and sure enough, there were signs everywhere. It helped embed the idea of this particular reality, which made me more at ease with the conceit.

    I found the US signs very amusing, particularly the evacuation ones. There was a motto that read something like 'Fighting for OUR world', which I thought was very much in keeping with the whole 'if you're not with us, you're against us' ethos of the Bush administration.

    In fact, the director was keen to show how the Mexicans were learning to accept and live with the monsters, and every fracas was down to the US storming in with tanks, planes and guns. Otherwise, when left to their own devices the monsters just got on with it, in much the same way the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan might have, had they been left alone.

    Perhaps that was a bit blatant, but it made for a nice allegory nonetheless.

    My least favourite part of the film were the protagonists. The seemed cardboard cutout human beings, made all the more so when set beside the people of Mexico.

  • Comment number 64.

    Went to see this expecting lots of monsters, but I don't think that's my fault as the marketing is certainly over hyping this film. So, I was disappointed. Not only the lack of shocking thrills (e.g. cloverfield) but the explicit over-use of 'buses' rather than real scares breaking the tension. Don't think it's just girls that have this opinion cos hubby was thoroughly bored and clock-watching and personally I did enjoy the romantic aspect (if a little unconvincing) and the spectacular scenery of the night spent on the ruins.
    We both decide we would love this re-made with a bigger budget. I'm all for indie films but portray it as it should be in the trailor.

    P.S. I think you had to be of a certain age to really get Garden State. I really identified with it and loved it because I had just moved out, didn't feel at home at the parental home anymore but didn't feel like my new place was home, unsure of adulthood etc.

  • Comment number 65.

    Since the Eric Bana Hulk movie trailer, there hasn't been such a misleading trailer...until now! The trailer for Monsters promised an action packed, edge of seat monster movie in the same light as Cloverfield. However all hope for that soon faded and it turned out to be a story about two people developing feelings for each other.

    Basically the most misleading trailer and title combination that comes to mind!

  • Comment number 66.

    Dear Dr Kermode!
    I saw Monsters few days ago (in France where I currently live) and I truly liked it. Since I'd missed "District 9" and everybody seems to compare two films, I'm not sure how original the idea is but for me Monsters might set a new (is it that new indeed?) trend in the horror genre: eco-horror/SF or as the French would say BIO-horror ;). What stroke me the most of this film is how the director manages to get people monstered (a very disturbing image of the barking woman)and the beasts somehow humanised (or at least de-demonised). A little thing I disliked about it was the sequence with the girl and the guy on the top of the pre-Columbian pyramid facing the The Great American Wall. They were tryng too hard to explain what is going on whereas all you needed to get the idea is the camera's eye sliding alongside the Wall and back to our protagonists' faces. However since the dialogue seems to be sparse comodity in this picture this detail can be forgiven.
    I must say I kind of buy the eco-message of any film telling me "we must treasure our precious globe and the wild nature living on it" as long as it is delivered in the form of fluorescent ballet of two, let's call them octophants (an octopus crossed with an elephant) and not in the form of a speech produced by Keanunununu dubbed in Chinese Mandarin (as we unfamously remeber from The Day When The Earth Stood Still).

    Greetings from Adamina, big fan of yours and Simon Mayo's (since June 2010) of cinema in general and especially horror genre, who knows, maybe the only Polish listener of your podcasts from Paris (although I try to spread the word about the Good Drs'powers all around me, the hard French ground seems not to be ready for these good seeds ;)
    Ps: Since obviously I am not an English native speaker, I enthusiastically give you my blessing to correct any of my grammar errors.

  • Comment number 67.

    I had read a little about Monsters (I often try and avoid them before a film) so I had low preconceptions. I found the film engaging and beautifully shot (the locations playing a large part in this).

    I was expecting a bit more of a monster film, but was very pleased with what I saw - in various ways (if forced to be reductionist) I would describe this as Cloverfield meets Motorcycle Diaries - this was much more a travelogue with alien-life being almost incidental.

  • Comment number 68.

    Thought it was a bit dull, to be honest. Looks great, and has flawless post-production (including sound and SFX), but the plot's meandering, full of holes you have lots of time to spot, and I didn't really believe in the characters. They just seemed to go through the motions and had nothing interesting to say.

    A little more reflection on their situation would have gone a long way.

  • Comment number 69.

    A terrible, terrible film. Worst I have seen this the year. That a film containing giant monsters could be so soul-crushingly boring was very depressing. There were no likeable characters - even the monsters failed to arouse interest. A shameful bit of British film-making that actually made me quite angry.

  • Comment number 70.

    Dull, Boring, Humdrum, Tedious, Prosaic, Tiresome and Vapid are the adjectives I'd choose to describe this film. I saw this at a BAFTA screening in Newcastle and the guy sitting next to me fell asleep and dropped his phone. That was the most interesting thing that happened to me that evening. The plot is pedestrian, the characters unlikeable and to have a movie called "Monsters" contain 3 set pieces that total about 10 minutes of screen time out of a 90min film is disingenuous to say the least. I'm sure Gareth Edwards feels he's been very clever getting people to sit and watch an improvised road movie with home made special effects, but if I had paid to watch it I'd have been screaming for my money back. It's a smug film made by smug people and marketed to completely the wrong audience. In brief, it's a steaming crock of s**t.


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