Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Paramount Pictures Love and Monsters (2020) UHD Review

Love and Monsters (2020) Paramount Pictures 1/5/2021

Directed By: Michael Matthew 

Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, Dan Ewing, Ellen Hollman 

Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures has provided me with a copy of this film free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions contained within are my own honest reflections. 


Minor Plot spoilers ahead

    Big monster/insect movies are a genre that, sadly never gets much love. This is why I was pretty excited hearing the 'buzz' around 2020's Love and Monsters. Joel (Dylan O'Brien)  is a nerdy guy that is living in a world where giant bugs have taken over the planet. He is living with a group of other survivors but, after their home is breached he decides to go out on his own to find his girlfriend. Aimee (Jessica Henwick). Love and Monsters is maybe the perfect example of style over substance. Michael Matthew is no doubt insanely talented when it comes to building a incredible dense well designed world. Thanks to a top notch visual crew we get this neon-hued Alice in Wonderland world that perfectly marries CGI and practical effects. Mix this with the breathtaking photography of Lachlan Milne (Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Stranger Things) and you really have something awe-inspiring and special. Sadly though, as great as the film looks, it has a lot of rough edges when it comes to it's screenplay. Without even looking I could tell this script was written by two people. The more polished plotting and humor bucks up against some of the sloppier and more ham-handed and rough elements. What we are left with is a heartwarming and visually amazing film that ultimately could have used more attention to its narrative. For example, there is a last minute villain that is introduced with less than 15 minutes left in the runtime. This new problem is never given any build-up but just dumped on our lap and of course quickly resolved. Core themes are also awkwardly broadcasted instead of the filmmakers trusting the audience to make those connections. It felt like the screenwriters were talking down to its viewers. Working comedy into a bleak/end-of-the-world survival flick is a really trick thing to do tone wise. And, for the most part I think this movie balances these two elements. I did enjoy that the filmmakers inject some fun subversive spins on the genre. This helped gloss over some of the films weaker plotting. 

    Had this been a movie made 10 or 15 years ago, Michael Cera would have fit the mold of Joel to a T. Dylan brings that same dorky, endearing weakling that finds himself stepping up when things get tough. I actually like O'Brien in the lead role and he's got that charm and likability. Michael Rooker has a short but fun role and, what else can I say, Rooker is always fantastic. The real breakout star is thirteen year old Ariana Greenblatt as fellow survivor Minnow. She really has a lot of talent and star presents that is rare to see in someone that young. 


   This currently sits at a whooping 92% freshness on RT and, yet I walked away seeing a movie that was brilliantly directed, endlessly breathtaking in its visual style but had a very uneven screenplay. Because, if you strip the film of it's effects and whimsy you have a pretty by-the-number plot. As not to leave this on a sour note I will say that I love that a creative movie like Love and Monsters can get a 30 million dollar budget and, frankly it looks better than any 100 million dollar Marvel movie. This is because a lot of heart and talent went into this movie. I can see this finding a very loyal cult following. 

Picture: As I said in my review this movie is just utterly incredible in terms of its visuals. And, this UHD really showcases this in all it's glory. Outdoor scenes are lush and amazing looking and creature and CGI blends really well. The film retains a lot of great detail in clothing textures, landscapes with color that is well balanced and maintained throughout. 

Sound:  Love and Monsters has DTS 7.1 HD Master audio. Wow, this is a really full robust sound experience. Like the visuals the movie has great work in sound design, and film score. This is a fitting track to go along with some top notch visuals. 

Disc 2: HD Feature Film/Extras: 

Deleted Scenes, Bottom of the Food Chain: The cast of Love and Monsters

It's A Monster's World: Creating a Post-Apocalyptic Landscape  


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