Love and Monsters cpe
Love and Monsters – 2020

Director Michael Matthews
Screenplay Brian Duffield, Matthew Robinson
Starring Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Dan Ewing, Ariana Greenblatt, Michael Rooker

Love and Monsters is the kind of film that would have felt right at home in the mid-1980’s. It’s got a familiar love stofy, a soft and lovelorn hero who has yet to discover himself, some direct, but ultimately pleasant fellow travelers and it’s got a smart and engaging dog.

The story starts off with an apocalypse started with the destruction of an asteroid headed for earth. The residue of the rockets sent to destroy the asteroid creates monsters on earth. This leads to the separation of Joel Dawson (O’Brien) and his girlfriend Aimee (Henwick). He promises that he will find her again.

When he does, 7 years later, they are in separate bunkers some seven days away by foot. He becomes aware that he’s not getting any closer while living underground in a bunker just waiting to be killed by a monster. He decides to head for the surface and finally make his way back to her waiting arms.

The journey is a rather pleasant one. He faces dangers, to be sure, but he learns some things about himself. The monsters are just blown up versions of a variety of insects and frogs. Some are scarier than others, but none seem to be all that dangerous.

The point of the film, of course, is Joel’s journey, which is more internal than anything. He’s got some things to get through. Anyone whose lived through that point obviously would have some crud to overcome.

As bland as everything is, the people and creatures he meets along the way are pleasant, if nothing else. Rooker has rarely been so approachable. The dog, Boy (played by two dogs named Hero and Dodge) is engaging as any real animal I have seen in a film in literally decades.

There is nothing to this film one has not seen before. The effects are a nice mixture of CGI and inventive real creations. O’Brien does a decent job moving through the process of grief while remaining a pleasant person with whom to travel. In all this is a nice film that should leave a smile on all but the most cynical of faces.

(*** out of *****)

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