It could be argued that Gareth Edwards’ Monsters was barely a sci-fi movie. I don’t hold that viewpoint, but it could be argued. Much of that film focused on the characters, a struggling journalist who is put in charge of escorting a girl across the restricted area of Mexico back to the U.S. The area is restricted because of a NASA probe crash, which led to the arrival of giant monsters that look like squids mixed with the thing from Super 8. That film, a wonderful little character piece that gets its charm mostly in the production aspects (Gareth Edwards, who later directed the excellent Godzilla, directed, produced, shot, and edited the visual effects in his room on his laptop), was a fresh blast of character-centered sci-fi fare.
So why is Monsters: Dark Continent such a failure? I can think of one reason that stands out so obviously that it may actually be the only reason in existence: the movie exists for money only. This movie sucks, and it may not be entirely professional to use that term in a formal review (let’s face it, this isn’t a formal review anyway), but there isn’t anything to say besides the fact that this is an unnecessary sequel that just flat out sucks.
If you’re among those that complain about the dark color pallet in Zach Snyder’s movies (specifically Man of Steel), then I implore you to check this movie out and see how bad filtered colors can be. Every single shot in Dark Continent looks as if it’s been through every Instagram filter, then sent back through every single one again, always appearing artificially lit and frustratingly ugly.
Monsters had an interesting way of presenting its subject, subliminally asking questions like “In a movie called Monsters, are the humans actually the monsters?” Similarly, Edwards’ film understood its characters and had a fine way of making them fascinating enough to make us want to see them get through the restricted zone. And the final act gave us the monster infested sci-fi action that we wanted, while also presenting them in a sweet and gentle fashion (the scene overtop of the 7-Eleven still gets me to this day).
Dark Continent follows in its tracks, putting an emphasis on the characters and barely letting us see the monsters themselves until the second or third act, and by then we just don’t care. Edwards’ initial intentions are gone, as the movie feels dirty and grimy in the worst ways possible. There’s one sex scene in the first act that goes on for a few minutes,, capturing an orgy that is completely and unnecessarily graphic and contributes nothing to the moving forward of the story. It’s a bitter pill to swallow because we know that this is where the director (Tom Green steps in) has his focus.
The film takes place a decade after the events of the first one, and now the monsters have caused a worldwide epidemic. Unfortunately, the movie focuses too much on terrorism and ISIS-like groups and it makes me wonder just why this movie even has “Monsters” in the title. If you were to take out the monsters and remove the word from the title, you would have the same movie. So just watch Monsters again. It deserves it.
1 hr. 58 mins.
Rated R for graphic war violence, pervasive language, some strong sexual content/nudity and drug use
Starring Joe Dimpsy
Written by Jay Basu
Directed by Tom Green