I spent my evening watching and even enjoying, to a degree, this coming-of-age odyssey thinly disguised as a  science fiction movie production. Please don’t make the mistake of expecting lots of monster mayhem as I did; I was drawn to this movie because of the promise held by its title of monstrous good sci-fi fun. The film instead substitutes a somewhat charming coming of age story. Because I knew nothing about the film, I imagined a different sort of movie altogether—something like a hipster, slightly tongue-in-cheek slashed movie except with cool movie monsters standing in to do all of the dirty work. The film was disappointing in that regard. After conjuring the mental image of a monster-filled post-apocalyptic world, monsters are somewhat scarce in this movie. What may sound like a good “B” movie fun ends up being something else entirely.

Not familiar with this title? Love and Monsters is a 2020 American post-apocalyptic action romance film. The film stars Dylan O’Brien, Michael Rooker, Ariana Greenblatt, and Jessica Henwick. Paramount Pictures released it via video on demand on October 16, 2020.

The synopsis of the film’s narrative looks like this: Seven years after the Monsterpocalypse, Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien), along with the rest of humanity, has been living underground ever since giant creatures took control of the land. After reconnecting over the radio with his high school girlfriend, Aimee (Jessica Henwick), who is now 85 miles away at a coastal colony, Joel begins to fall for her again. As Joel realizes that there’s nothing left for him underground, he decides against all logic to venture out to Aimee, despite the dangerous monsters that stand in his way.

This film stays focused on its lead character and the journey that he takes, both figuratively and literally, and his evolution as a person. This film could have been titled “A Boy and his Dog” part two, and with the introduction of a cute dog into its narrative, it announces that it is not a film to be taken seriously. There is nothing wrong with that, and the movie’s narrative, although somewhat cliched, is charming enough and has some interesting wrinkles. This film in one is meant for family viewing, and I would judge it’s even okay for younger children .it’s a story that starts on the promise of an eventful, action-packed narrative that soon settles into a  standard, somewhat light-hearted adventure story that steers clear of truly adult sort of story-telling. The film makes a half-hearted attempt to fulfill its role as a monster movie and, and except for a hint of a robot storyline, comes close to failing as a science fiction movie also. I mean that nobodies are being cut in half or people reduced to blood-filled water balloons, as in other current productions.

As I said, the film is not without its charms, and it owes a great deal of that to its supporting cast, including the dog. The two are rescued and joined by two other travelers for a while in Clyde’s person (portrayed by Michael Rooker) and his traveling companion, a young girl named Minnow (ably and amusingly portrayed by Ariana Greenblatt), a pair of experienced survivors. The journey is an educational one for our hero in more ways than one. The film attempts to convince the audience that a relatively uneventful and brief journey into an epos odyssey doesn’t work. Although this film tells a somewhat charming coming of age story, overall, Love And Monsters fails to conjure any memorable thrills and even seems at times more like a-made-for-TV production.

Our Score
C

By Craig Suide

A genuine (OCD) enthusiast of Sci-FI and fantasy. Addicted to stories. a life-long fan of movies, TV, and pop culture in general. Purchased first comic book at age five, and never stopped. Began reading a lot early on, and discovered ancient mythology, and began reading science fiction around the same time. Made first attempts at writing genre fiction around age 12 Freelance writer for Sci-Fi Nerd (Facebook), retired professional gourmet chef. ex-musician, and illustrator

One thought on “Love And Monsters (2020): An Enjoyable Enough YA Odyssey”
  1. A recurring plot snafu about virtually all giant monster movies is, why don’t they just use various poisons to kill the oversized beasts at once? You don’t need a anti-tank gun, just a poison arrow!!!

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